Monday, June 2, 2008

Google IO 2008

Keynote: Client, Connectivity, and the Cloud - Vic Gundotra, Vice President, Engineering
  • Historically access to computing and deployment of applications have not been easy
    • in the 50s & 60s Mainframe were powerful but not very accessible, deployment was easy (terminal were dumb)
    • in the 70s & 80s PCs were not powerful, but accessible, deployment were difficult (complex deployment on all clients)
    • since the 90s Internet made access to power and deployment easier, but there is sill some progress to be made
  • Google wants to move the internet forward by
    • making clouds more accessible (providing more power to web applications)
    • making clients (browsers) more powerful
    • keeping (internet) connectivity pervasive
  • Technologies offered by Google to achieve these 3 goals*
    • Google Web Toolkit *Version 1.5 available with support to Java 5* - The Google Web Toolkit (GWT) is an open source Java software development framework that helps you produce user-friendly AJAX applications. With GWT, you can use your favorite Java development tools to build AJAX applications without having to tackle the steep learning curve of JavaScript/CSS browser quirks. GWT has bee used to develop Google Health
    • YouTube Data API - Integrate YouTube videos into your website or application.
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Keynote: Imagination, Immediacy and Innovation... plus a little glimpse under the hood at Google
      Marissa Mayer, Vice President of Search and User Experience
  • Google focus on most popular Web Applications on the Web:
    • EMail
    • Social Networks
    • Blogs
    • News
    • Search
    • ...
  • "The simplest design is probably the best"
    • e.g. in Google Search, everytime a search query is done, it hits between 700-1000 Google servers. This involves load balancers, mixers, several search engines (image, blogs, books, news, videos, maps ...). The whole process takes 0.16 seconds. However the GUI still hides the complexity of the process and remains very simple. E.g. Use an unified logging/authentication/authorization system (eg. OAuth)
  • On User Usability
    • a lot of studies are done regularly with a lot of statistics gathered on very small changes on Google Applications. e.g. small changes such as the space between lines e.g. testing various background colors
    • performance remains one of the most important criteria for users
    • user want instant feedback (e.g. uploaded content should be available right away)
    • novice users become very quickly experts users (e.g. simple google search page to iGoogle portal).
    • It is therefore important to not spend too much effort to coach novice users and/or provide too much guidance (this could slow expert users)
    • experts users are those who will being more revenue
    • usability studies should target expert users
    • Google uses a mix of direct user feedbacks (such as emails), existing applications user studies (instrumentation + metrics) and testing new designs changes with controlled panels of
  • Use an Happiness Matrix for your products to measure user satisfaction
  • Use Design more as a Science than an Art
  • Try to think 10 years ahead- Goal: Aim at quantum leap (a good example is the iPhone)
  • Build on real flexible technologies
  • Be Scrappy. Revel in constraints. Google works in small groups and create quickly prototypes for testing and try to address very difficult problems that seem impossible to solve.
  • Imagination is a muscle : Do not hesitate to brain storm about crazy projects with your team even if you do not intend to make a product of it. Try to come up with solutions and mockups (at Google 50% of the product features come from 20% time given to Googlers to work on personal project).
  • On Google Health: We will never be able to have all the medical record information online, but Google hope to make a difference in this domain too.
  • On Future Directions for Google Applications and Services
    • All: Personalization
    • Search Engines:
      • search on Phones
      • search on Graphs
      • Location based search (GPS will be soon integrated by default in most cars and vehicles)
      • Take into account previous search to improve future searches.
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