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This is my favorite week of the year. It is that exciting!
Each year around this time, Google holds a 3-day event called Google I/O for the developer community. Here, they announce the latest and greatest news to Android, Chrome, Google Cloud Platform (and now Firebase), along with some other surprises. Google always does a fantastic job with this event. It is truly outstanding (at least for us viewers checking out the event online 😄) with the quality they give to this event.
What I am most excited about for this year's event.
Firebase and Fabric.io joining up.
At last year's Google I/O event, Google spent a lot of time and effort on their newly acquired company, Firebase. They announced a full suite of new products that they were releasing in 2016/2017 for Firebase. At the end of last year's event, we found out that Google is very dedicated to Firebase and is trying extremely hard to taking over the Android and iOS ecosystem by providing a suite of tools for mobile app developers.
Me personally, I do not use Firebase that much. There are bits and pieces that I enjoy about it and for certain use cases, I do use it. Out of all of the Android and iOS apps that I build and maintain, only a couple of the apps uses any of the Firebase services. However, every single app that I create has the Fabric.io tools installed in them from the start. In fact, my open source template projects that I use when creating new apps from scratch come with Fabric pre-installed (AndroidBlanky and iOSBlanky).
When Fabric.io announced that they were joining Firebase, I could not be any more excited. I see Firebase having promise for the mobile dev community. However, I have not yet been able to jump off the deep end into it because of what it provides. I do really enjoy what they are doing with the platform. It's so fast, smooth, easy to work with and I know that having Fabric join Firebase will mean a bright future for mobile app development.
I am the most excited to hear about Google's plans for what they will be doing with Fabric. More specifically, I want to hear Google announce a couple of things...
- Integrate Crashlytics Beta into Firebase. Chances of this being announced might be slim because Google Play offers a beta testing program but I can only hope! Crashlytics Beta is a much better product and I hope Google takes advantage of that.
- Actually, I take back what I just said above. I want Firebase to integrate all of the Crashlytics tools into Firebase. Crashlytics analytics, crash reporting, and beta tools. All of them.
- Integrate Fastlane tools into more of the Android and Firebase workflow. Wait...I know you are wondering, what is Fastlane and why is it being dragged into this? Well, Fastlane is 'owned' by Fabric. This means that technically, Google now 'owns' Fastlane since Google owns Fabric. I put 'own' in quotes because it is a fully open source project but the dev team does work for Fabric.
Anway, I have only recently started to get into using Fastlane tools and they are outstanding. Absolutely outstanding. Even when you encounter an error with the tool, it is useful in suggesting methods to fix it and get it working for you. The way it integrates with the services it uses, especially Fabric, is amazing. Let's embrace this amazing tool and deliver more value to devs!
I own the Google Pixel as my primary phone. It is my favorite phone of any phone I have ever owned or handled. It is really the perfect smartphone for today's standards. It is the most polished hardware/software Android experience released to date. I love it.
I am not looking to upgrade to the Pixel 2, but I do want to see Google is pushing it's hardware even more. Having Google get into the hardware game recently has been exciting with some of the new products they have created and I am very excited to see what they have up their sleeve for the future.
Google figuring out what on Earth they are doing with chat.
Google Hangouts used to be Google's chat product. Well, you could say Gchat integrated into Gmail was first, but Google didn't push it as much as Hangouts. Either way, Google is really all over the place with chat right now and it's harming the experience of their users.
When Google announced these, I felt assured that Google was going to be smart about it and integrate Duo and Allo into Hangouts or SMS somehow. Common sense to me being a product guy as this would deliver the best user experience. But when the 2 apps released later in the year, I was shown this was not the case.
Personally, Duo is great. It works very well from my experience using it with friends. Fast, simple, easy to use. Allo is cool, but it falls short when you are the only one of your friends who has the app installed. In order to really use it, you have to have everyone you text have the app installed too. Not so useful.
Then since these products launched, Google has turned Hangouts into a business video conferencing tool. Along with that, they have released a few other chat tools for business and for personal use that honestly, I forgot the names of because they have released so many. Google has at least 5 different chat platforms now. Seriously?! I am not forcing each and every one of my friends or co-workers to install 5 different products to their phones and computers in order to send me a message.
I really like Facebook Messenger. I really like it. I don't like the Facebook social network product itself, but I love my Messenger experience. I am so impressed with what they have done with it. We have a lot to learn from these guys in this space. Facebook is playing around with getting into the business chat space, the VR space, the SMS and IM chat space, the video chat space, and they do all of it with one single product: Messenger. It works. It works really well. When I want to communicate in any way with someone, I just open up one app and chat. It just works.
If you asked me 5 - 10 years ago what laptop to buy, I recommended to people to getting a Windows 7 Asus laptop PC. If you asked me 1 - 5 years what laptop to buy, I recommended to people to get a MacBook Air. Now, when people ask me for what laptop to buy, I tell them to buy a Chromebook.
I don't want to get into why I recommend one over the other and the evolution of my opinion changing. That is for another post. I will say that the couple of people who are using Chromebooks after my recommendation have told me, "for the first time ever, I can say that I love my computer". That is pretty cool.
I hope to see Google have an announcement about some Chromebook hardware or some updates to the OS to polish it up.
I put this on the bottom of the list because Android O is not a big launch this year. I love Android deeply and look forward to each and every advancement but with this minor update, it is not on the top of my list.
Icing on the cake
I joined Google Fi this year as my cell phone provider and I am in love with it. I have converted 5 people with their families over to Google Fi since January and all of them say the same thing. They love it.
I do not expect Google to have much to say here as this is a developer conference this week, but this would be some icing on the cake to see if they have exciting news about it.
Check out more about Google Fi here and get $20 off your first month your first bill and to thank me for writing this post for you today.
Wednesday, May 17th at 12 pm Central time make sure to check out the live stream of the Google keynote. This is where all of the excitement will begin.
As always, I am signed up to get notified about way too many of these live streams, haha. Google every year creates better and better sessions. I do not usually get excited about events like this but Google does an outstanding job with the content they create. These sessions are worth watching.
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