10 things you may have missed at Google I/O
1. It’s not just for grown-ups.A day before Google I/O officially began, we hosted I/O Youth. Over the course of the day, 120 students from Bay Area-based schools engaged in four hands-on activities focused on storytelling, designing, and coding. They heard from inspiring speakers that bring creative solutions to their jobs like Brent Bushnell, CEO of the entertainment company Two Bit Circus, and Pavni Diwanji, who leads our Google-wide efforts to create a better experience for kids online. Check out 11-year-old Cindy Zhou’s coverage of I/O Youth for Time for Kids.
2. Machine learning is already making products smarter.As Sundar said during his keynote, machine learning and artificial intelligence are changing computing in incredible ways. One of the biggest uncracked nuts in A.I. is understanding natural language. But we’re making progress, and we can see people are eager for it—on the Google app on Android, over 20 percent of the searches we get in the U.S. are now by voice. Ok Google!
3. ATAP is bridging the physical and the digital.
The Soli smartwatch prototype (developed in collaboration with LG Electronics Inc.) is controlled without touching the screen
On Friday, ATAP took the stage to share a glimpse of what’s going on in the ATAP garage. In “Pearl,” an interactive 360 story made for mobile by Academy award-winning director Patrick Osborne, a girl and her dad crisscross the country in their beloved hatchback. Project Jacquard introduced a twist on the iconic denim jacket—the Levi’s® Commuter™ Trucker Jacket, with Jacquard’s interactive fabrics woven in. With the LG Electronics Inc. smartwatch and JBL by Harman speaker prototypes Project Soli demonstrated, you don’t have to touch a screen to view a message or change a song. And Ara showed off a developer version of their modular phone and provided a peek into a future where phones can be customized for function and style.
4. We're working to make I/O more inclusive for everyone.As in past years, we made an effort to make I/O a diverse and welcoming conference for women and minorities who are underrepresented in technology. Women at I/O made up 23 percent of our 7,000+ attendees (at last year’s conference, women made up a similar percentage of our 5,000 attendees). We partnered with 13 community groups for women in technology, and offered travel grants to attendees making the trip. On Tuesday night, we hosted a Women Techmakers dinner for 1,000 women.
We also want I/O to be more accessible for people with disabilities. To that end, we worked with Googlers and attendees with disabilities to provide things like real-time captioning for all breakout sessions at the conference.Finally, this was also the first year we released ethnicity and race information for a Google conference.