Last week I attended my first Google I/O conference in San Francisco. I meant to post last week but I have been trying to get caught up on things on the Vogogo front, as well as getting over a cold I came down with right before leaving. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the conference so I registered the day before, which was a good thing as when I returned the following morning to have breakfast I was presented with a massive line of people zigzagging throughout the main level of the Moscone Center waiting to go up to the 3rd floor for the keynote. I made the decision to skip breakfast and hop in line in order to get a better seat.
Keynote line day 1
The speakers, content, and production quality of watching the keynote in person, even if you ignore the wing suits and Google Glass, was good although sometimes corny. Unfortunately skipping breakfast to get a better seat wasn’t the best decision as I was now hungry and was unable to attend the first session, What’s New in Android, because of crowding. This was a common theme I found, if you waited to the end of a session, the respectful thing to do, you were screwed for seating on the next. I ended up adjusting my schedule so I either didn’t attend or stood/sat by the door of the previous session so I could get into the ones I wanted to. Unfortunately others weren’t as curious. Luckily most (all?) of the sessions are available on the Google Developers Youtube channel.
Between sessions I chatted with whoever I could, it was really refreshing to be able to walk up to someone who had ‘Compiled Python to run on a GPU’ on his name tag and being able to chat about things without having to engage in boring small talk first, you could just dive into tech and everybody seemed to like it better. The exhibition area was populated with various products and demonstrations, some interesting, some not so much. In addition to the Google product booths, there were third parties showing off their goods. Cubify, Recon and Sphero were interesting.
Moscone Center while most people are in sessions.
The social event they had the evening of the first day was ok but completely unnecessary in my opinion; loud music, lots of people etc… I could have just hung out and watched the quadcopter demo with John Carpenter from Mob4hire all night. Unfortunately the loud noise, in addition to my cold, made me loose my voice for the remainder of the conference. Sadly this greatly reduced the value I received as it made it difficult talking to others.
Most of the sessions were really good with the exception of sessions that included third party vendors. Rather than learning about Google or open standards it became a sales opportunity for them. I can’t really blame them I guess, but once I observed it a few times I avoided sessions with non-Google speakers just in case.
The WiFi was terrible. I bought a 500MB US data plan from Rogers for $100 and had to refrain from using my phone on the last day fearing I would run out before my flight home. The biggest disappointment was the announcement of the Google Glass developer kit and me not being eligible as I am not a US resident. Maybe they will open it up next year…
More Google I/O 2012 pics