AI, Sunscreen & Cross-Platform Dev | Google I/O ‘18

Developers at Engage have been eager to get to Mountain View since Google I/O’s inaugural event ten years ago. We finally got our golden ticket to the popular developer festival this year when we were selected from the registration lottery. With the opportunity to visit Google and learn where they are headed next, we had to share our first Google I/O experience with you.

First Time at I/O?

Two pieces of advice.
#1 Bring sunscreen, and use it. The keynotes and larger sessions are held at the outdoor Shoreline Amphitheater. Don’t be the person with a sunburned face the rest of the week because, well, looking like a lobster is miserable.

#2 Arrive early, and then don’t.  Get there early the first day (around 7:00 a.m.) to check in and get a good seat at the keynote, but don’t worry about arriving until 8:00 a.m. the other two days. Nothing opens until 8:00 a.m. the second and third days so you just end up waiting in line to enter the conference grounds.


Artificial intelligence is everywhere and even drove the biggest improvements to Android this year. For example, Google Assistant making calls on your behalf or Google Maps utilizing your camera for improved navigation both take advantage of advanced Google AI. Can you imagine the camera replacing Google as a search tool? The advancements in AI have made it possible to point your camera and get the information about something that you would normally have Googled.

Cross-Platform Development & Kotlin

Google is embracing cross-platform development tools for developers who want to target both platforms. Also, Kotlin is rapidly becoming the preference over Java for single platform, highly performant development. For the faithful Java developers, it’s important to recognize and embrace that the target is moving.

Augmented Reality

New augmented reality (AR) tools were also a popular topic. We still have some skepticism about their impending popularity for two reasons. First, who wants to walk around constantly holding up their phone to experience long sessions of AR?! Second, designing attractive and engaging AR experiences is a far bigger endeavor than designing nice UI experiences. Are there enough designers with a skill set this advanced? We’re not sure just yet.

I/O 2018 in Review

Our favorite sessions were the “What’s New” & “ProTips” sessions like “What’s new in Firebase?” and “Protips: A Fresh Look at Advanced Topics for Android Experts”.  Google keeps these sessions light and fun by showing the high-level strategies while still incorporating code. Overall, IO18 was a solid experience and worth the wait. Hopefully it doesn’t take us ten more years to get back!

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