GOOGLE ANNOUNCED a series of new developer tools and initiatives during the Google I/O keynote last night.
Google I/O, at its heart, is a developer conference and, while there was surprisingly little to impress at a prosumer level, it was still Christmas for the developers.
Android Studio gets a 1.3 Preview edition and Polymer 1.0. The latter is Google's web app toolkit designed to help devs create app-like experiences in modern browsers (cough) like Chrome OS (cough).
It includes CSS themes and styles, fast Shadow Document Object Models for browsers that won't play ball otherwise, a new data binding system, and a mechanism for sharing common behaviours between elements.
The relationship between iOS and Android was brought a step closer with CocoaPods, the SDK library for Google Products on iOS, which was declared as the official channel.
If iOS isn't your language you'll also be pleased to hear that Android Studio will now support C and C++, as well as an improved Gradle build speed and a new memory profiler. Or if you want to make it easy, there's the newly acquired Firebase web app platform.
New improved APIs are arriving for Google Cast, allowing it to interact with even more devices and apps, but with so much to cover we'll let you explore those for yourself.
As a result of Google's deal to buy app tester Appurify, Cloud Test Lab will automatically test your app across the top 20 devices and send you the full analytics with a bug report.
You'd think that would be it, but we're just getting started. App Indexing will now allow you to incorporate your apps contents into the Google Search Graph as if it were a website.
The feature is currently available for Android and is being piloted on iOS. And speaking of iOS, Google Cloud Messaging, the company's push platform, has been released for iOS too.
If you've built a mobile website you'll soon be able to use it for Push Notifications to Android devices and give users the option to add the shortcut to their homescreen without going via favourites.
There's a whole bunch of new tools for improving your apps' visibility, including the option to customise the look of its Google Play store listing and experiment with projected engagement as a result.
Universal ad campaigns are "on the way", allowing you to set up a campaign with just a budget and a target and let Google take care of the rest.
AdMob continues to grow, with new insights to help users monetise apps and gain insight about their users. It is also aimed at helping to drive in-app purchases. To counter it, new family-friendly features will make it clear what apps impressionable minds should be avoiding.
If all this sounds a bit intimidating, don't worry. Android and Udacity have announced a 'nanodegree', an officially recognised developer qualification that will cost just $200 a month and will take you from novice to app guru, or at least that's the plan.
Finally, the rather dazzling demonstration of group hallucinations that is the new updated 'Unity' Google Cardboard has an SDK for Android and iOS.
Unity means that a whole group can take a virtual trip to wherever Cardboard is equipped to let them go and view it together with the exact perspective based on their position in the room. We wish they'd had this option for gym class when we were at school.
Google I/O didn't contain huge shocks this year, and in many ways we were left thinking: 'Oh, was that it?' But the repercussions for developers are potentially huge.
Google has offered a whole bunch of new building blocks and said 'Let her rip' to the development community. So while some people may have felt that it was more of a whimper than a bang, these 'tapas' announcements are significant for the next year of Android development.
The INQUIRER was at Google's Campus London watching the keynote via satellite alongside a whole bunch of UK-based developers.
There wasn't as much whooping and cheering as in the US. Whether that was the great British reserve or the fact that they had piled up with free booze is up for debate. µ
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