In just a little more than 24 hours, developers, tech-heads and media types alike will converge on the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View to see what’s new in the world of Google. We’ll be streaming the event live here on Chrome Unboxed for your viewing pleasure and make sure to check us out on Twitter for up to the minute news from the event as it happens. CEO Sundar Pichai will take the stage around 10 a.m. PST with the first developer Keynote beginning around Noon West coast time.
So, what can we expect from Google this year? Here’s a quick rundown of what we’re anticipating for Chrome OS, Google Assistant, Chromecast and a few extras if we’re lucky.
Like last year’s I/O, there is a dedicated session focused on helping developers optimize Android Apps for Chrome OS. Key features like developing for larger displays, keyboard shortcuts and in-app stylus support are on the agenda for this session. While this will likely be a bit of a bore for most of you, we’ll be watching just in case they feature any new hardware like the HP Chromebook X2 that is slated for release in early June.
NOT on the schedule for I/O is any mention of what has become the hottest news in the world of Chrome OS as of late.
Linux apps on Chromebooks have become a reality and even though it’s still unofficial, it is clear that Google is exhausting a lot of time and resources getting the container platform for Chrome OS up and running. We could spend all day revisiting all the news surrounding the Crostini Project but I will save you my long-winded dribble. If you’d like to catch up on what Crostini is and the features headed your way, you can do so here.
There may be no word from Google about Crostini making an appearance at I/O but with let’s face it, this is a developer’s conference. I will be SHOCKED if we don’t get a sneak-peek at the project. In fact, I’ve heard from a couple of independent sources that we will likely see Linux apps on Chrome OS this week at I/O.
Apart from that, I wouldn’t expect any curveballs from Google about Chrome OS. It’s possible we could see some new hardware but as we’ve said numerous times, this is a developer event for Google’s software platforms. The Samsung Chromebook Pro got a little nod at I/O last year but it was purely for visuals while highlighting Android apps. If we see new hardware, it will likely be used to feature new software features.
Speaking of new hardware, news came down the pipeline this week of a “new, not new” Chromecast dongle that was pushed through the FCC last Friday. You can get all the details of the updated Gen 2 Chromecast here. The addition of Bluetooth to a 3-year old is about as unexciting as it gets until you look outside of the Chromecast’s current capabilities. Google’ Project Yeti could be at the very center of this seemingly insignificant update and that my friends, could be huge.
While we’re on the subject of dongles, Ron Amadeo of arsTechnica uncovered a mysterious 4K Android TV device on the FCC site back in April and despite doubts about its validity, many think we could see it at I/O.
If Google’s smart-helper is on your list of items to learn more about, grab some popcorn and get settled in. There are multiple sessions dedicated to Actions on Google geared towards Android apps, speakers, smart-displays and more. For the latest, there will be an overview of “what’s new” in the Assistant SDK. This is the one we’ll be watching for in the hopes of seeing more on the smart displays we covered at CES back in January.
Another aspect of the Assistant that has just recently grabbed my attention is its application on Wear OS. I’m not into wearables but the Assistant functions on a smartwatch may be enough to change my mind. The jury’s still out but keep an eye out for our first smartwatch review in the next week or two.
The three-day developer event will cover a truckload of information from the cloud, Android, Assistant, Kubernetes, IoT and the list goes on and on. One subject that is still a buzz around the web is Google’s Fucshia OS that has been in the works internally since 2016. There are a lot of theories about Google’s plan for the ground up OS but no one is sharing what that may be. There’s no mention of Fuchsia on the schedule but Flutter is getting tons of time during the conference. This app development platform has been tied closely to the ongoing Fuchsia development despite anything official from Mountain View.
Whatever the next three days bring, we’ll do our best to get you the latest as it happens. If you’d like to join, we’re trying something new tomorrow and we’d love to see you there. Below you will find the link to our live feed of Google I/O. Starting with tomorrow’s opening from Sundar, you’ll be able to watch live coverage from the keynotes and even keep track of developers sharing on social. Below the feed, we will have the first-ever Chrome Unboxed live chat session.
Anyone is free to join and we’ll just give it a go and see what happens. Feel free to ask questions, share insights or just drop in to say hello. We’re excited to try out something new and hope to do this more and more in the future.