Google IO 2014: Google changes business models forever

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Today marked Google’s annual IO conference. While I walked away from the conference with an overall positive review, there were a few things I’m not excited about and even a bit worried about.

Today Google announced and showcased everything from their new Google Wear, to Google Auto, and their new android distro “L”. Needless to say there is no shortage of things to be giddy about. Personally I’m most excited for wearables. David Singleton, Director of Android Engineering, gave a live demo of how Wear can enhance your everyday life and extend applications for a more rich experience. I’ve never been on board with wearable device until Google announced Google Wear. After watching the demos I have to say I was completely blown away and I’m excited to see where developers take Google Wear. AND to top it all off they’re making the LG and Samsung models available on the play store later today. That is smart marketing if I’ve ever seen it!

There was also quite a bit of time spent focusing on the new Android distribution “L”. From what was presented it would appear that Android has been completely overhauled for performance. They’ve made several improvements that have led to faster response times, better garbage collection, and seamless transitions between apps. From what I saw it looks like Android will soon beat out IOS in the “Beauty” market. They’re making preview SDKs available to developers today as well so they can start utilizing the some 5000 new APIs and get a jump start on programming apps for “L”.

However, what I found most interesting was not really in the way of innovation. Rather it was pushing Google’s office suite to a whole new level. There were 3 key points that really showcased Google’s ambition to give corporations the best experience possible.

1. Integration of Work and Home environments
An interesting point was made that in the PC world there are two very different mindset for computing. This resulted in your employer giving you a “Work” laptop, and then of course you would have your own “Personal” laptop. While that seemed to work just fine for the PC world, nowadays the same thing is happening with Smartphones, and let’s face it, nobody wants to carry around two phones.

Google’s solution to the problem is integrating the two environments on the same platform. They’ve designed away to allow your personal and work data to be locked down and isolated from each other. This allows you to have everything on 1 device while still maintaining security for both you and your employer. Also, all these changes are made on the backend of things, so developers don’t have to make any modifications to utilize this functionality.

Samsung also made a contribution to this new design by implementing and integrating Knox into the Android platform. Which will allow for better device management and security for enterprise solutions.

2. Google Office Suite
Up to this point Google Docs and Spreadsheets have been very useful tools in the business world. However, if you needed to perform complex word formatting you had to go to either MS Office or something like Libre Office. Recently Google acquired Quick Office and have been working to integrate that into the Google Office suite. This resulted in Native Office Editing built within Google Docs. This means that if you receive an email with a word file attached you’re able to click on it from Gmail, and edit it as a Word file in Google Docs. Save the changes you’ve made, and send it back as a Word document. All from your android device! In the past the Word document would be converted to a Docs file and then re-converted back into a word format. Keeping the files as native Word format will increase productivity, and save overhead.

Additionally built into the native Word editing, Google has implemented Suggested Edits. Which allows others to make edits to the Word document as a suggestion for you to see and utilize, similar to have Google Docs allows for collaboration.

Google also announced Slides, which allows you to create and share power point presentations from your mobile devices.

3. Google Drive for the workplace
As if all the new improvement to Google Docs weren’t enough Google upped the ante again by announced Google Drive for Work.

The key features of Drive for Work are data encryption both during transit and at rest on the servers. Full Audit and Activity APIs to monitor and analyze how users and using data. And lastly it’s cheap and easy. For unlimited storage it’s just $10 per user / per month.

All and all Google really is making it increasingly easy for its users to integrate their entire business model into the Google cloud. Not to mention all the Cloud improvements that were showcased as well. Not only does this allow companies to get up and running very quickly, easily, and cheaply, but it also make the Chromebook a viable option for a work computer.

The impact of this is HUGE. This means if I’m a little start up all I need is a Chromebook, Drive for Work, Internet, and that’s it. Those 3 things and I am fully functional and ready to go.

Also for larger enterprises that means they’re more likely to get employees an Android tablet rather than an iPad, more likely to get them an Android Phone over an iPhone, and more likely to get them a Chromebook over anything else.

While I would have apprehensions about giving Google that much control over everything *Cough SkyNet* not everyone is going to see it that way, and I see this being huge for the business world. I’m extremely interested to see the impacts of this in the future and how enterprises utilize this in their business models.

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Stetson Pierce

I work as a process engineer for KomBea Corp, where I perform general programming tasks and logical process development for various call centers. In my spare time I enjoy web design projects, and hobbyist IT projects. I’ve started putting together an educational program to get kids in my state interested in Computer Science and Technology. I love the challenge that comes with under taking new projects, and the feeling of accomplishment that comes along with them.

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