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Google’s Coming of Age with I/O 2013

Unlike the last, things have been much calmer at the Google I/O this year. Surprisingly, there has been less in the way of new products and new operating systems. Instead, the I/O 2013 Developer’s Conference this time is only focusing on developers. Given the precedent that’s been set – with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, the Nexus 7 tablet and a jaw-dropping demo of Google Glass last year, some of us must be wondering if something was pulled from the program at the last minute or Google didn’t have many major products to show.

Well, this might not be as outrageous as before, but there were some major interesting announcements and demos at Google I/O. Google unveiled slew of updates to many of its core products.  One of them was a complete overhaul of Google Plus interface- with mobile friendly content linked together through automated hashtags. This means that when you’ll post on Google+, it will automatically scan your content, and designate appropriate hashtags. With this one feature Google is knitting together its social, cloud, mobile, and artificial intelligence strategies.

Another major update and perhaps the most exciting one was on Google Maps. It has been completely rebuilt. According to Google, it now has a brand new user interface and has built-in Zagat integration, which will put Zagat scores and editorial reviews for specific restaurants on display. Google also made some improvements to its core navigation functionality as well.    Apart from this, a fury of other new features were unleashed – new APIs for Google Play, new expanded Google’s Knowledge Graph, new conversational search for the desktop,  new music service for mobile and much more.

Phew! This is a lot to make one’s head spin. But still there were things that consumers were expecting at the I/O that did  not  show up. The one question that left countless onlookers wondering was “What happened to Android and Chrome?”

Most of us were quite certain about a new update on Android and Chrome, and some of us were even expecting a new hardware launch. But what’s there to be disheartened about? In my opinion, Google has matured its services to a point where they don’t really need to push out new updates at a breakneck pace. Chrome and Android are mature and stable platforms where they do not require a major overhaul.  We should rather be happy that Google  is now focusing more on maturing its core products, instead of creating new ones.  I think it is time that Google’s rapid release of products and acquisitions slow down. It should focus on developing more core products that can generate revenue. Google’s movement will be slower but more measured by consolidating rather than innovating.

This might seem to be a good move for developers and shareholders, but may be a letdown for gadget-hungry consumers right now. But hey, there is an upside – We’ve almost certainly got something  to look forward to this summer.

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