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Google I/O Day Two 46

Yesterday Timothy was at Google I/O watching the keynote but there is still plenty of announcements on day two. Today's first big theme: Chrome. Tim reports: "Brian Rakowski VP for (and inventor of) Chrome, shows device transferability among devices of tabs, bookmarks, with a multi-part contrived story, looking at his opened tabs from home and work, etc. from a phone running Chrome. Not only can open tabs from there, but (and this is cool), 'we've made sure the back button works as well.' So you can open a page from a different computer, and have the browsing history of that tab as well. This Chrome syncing affects settings, bookmarks, etc. Also, for those transferred tab pages, pre-loading! So when you click on a tab, it's been loading and now should be read, BAM." As before we'll be updating the story live (below the fold) with his updates as they stream in.
Update: by Sam : And now the big One More Thing from Rokowski: iOS version is here. "Later today, Chrome will be rolling out in the Appstore." Works as it does on other devices -- nicely draggable, etc. "Makes browsing the web on your iPhone really fun." After showing iPhone, says "While we were at it ..." And Yep, on the iPad, too. More space to work with there.

Shows that syncing works here, too: his other devices' tabs and bookmarks are all listed. And (nice); credentials, too, are synced and auto-filled across devices. So a NYT login can work if you were logged in to it on an another device, even if you've never logged in there on the one you're using now.

Incognito ("a feature near and dear to my heart") works, too: Scattered laughter at "I hope you find that using incognito on a touch device is a great experience."

Going Google: Pichai talks up the use of the Google Apps infrastructure, throws out some stats for adopters: Govt. agencies in 45 states, 66 of top 100 univs, and over 5m businesses. A few cute commercials follow: a business meeting via Google, and a few funny examples of multi-person collaboration (Hall and Oates coming up, word by not-quite-right word, with the line "Oh, oh, here she comes, she's a man eater").

Next big topic: Google Drive. Example shown of searching text stored on Google Drive, from an iPad -- for the words "certified mail." Only, and this is the applause point, those words weren't stored as text: they were in a scanned document, which Google has OCR'd.

More applause for the next step: "It works for things that aren't even text." Searches for "pyramid," knowing he has some pictures taken in Egypt (but not tagged or labeled); up comes the pyramid he was looking for, also automatically tagged for content just based on the image itself. it's a demo, but even with the skepticism that should invite, it's impressive.

Demo next of showing multiple logins to Google Drive (hard to not call it Google Docs); shows that updating on a laptop instantly, smoothly updates the same document open on a phone's screen.

And, bigger news: Google apps now work offline. (Hoots of joy from the audience.) Gives an example of working offline (unplugs ethernet, shows New York Times is unreachable as proof), saving, closing Chrome, reconnecting to a network, and on network reconnection, the offline changes are pushed, synced across devices.

Works on Windows, Mac, iOS, ChromeOS, "all your devices" says Pichai. What about Linux? Editing docs work, and ChromeOS has Linux core, but what about Ubuntu, Red Hat / Fedora, etc? I'd like these to be 1st-class options.

Chromebook updates: "We're very excited by the new model we're working on" -- 3x faster than early Chromebooks. Also, as of today, to be available in retail outlets, in particular at 100 Best Buy locations "all across the country."

Google's 1st VP of engineering Urs Hoelzle, talks about App Engine, says "we want to give everyone out there the kind of infrastructure we have at Google." Throws out more stats: 1 million active apps; 7.5 billion hits/day. Announces Google Compute Engine: on-demand (Linux?) virtual machines. Screaming and standing from audience: "You haven't seen anything yet." His bullet points: "Scale, Performance, Value" are a bit business-pamphlet cliche sounding -- even includes the line "Passing these savings on to you." But neat stuff.

Compares in-house 1000-core cluster (more figures comparing cost would have been good) to 10,000 core, doing genomics research, finding likely matches in a large dataset. Instead of waiting 10 minutes between matches found by the algorithm, connected to virtual machines of Compute Engine, the displays illustrates with moving lines and clicks a new match ever few seconds.

A few minutes later, he reveals that a mysterious counter in the background (counting up, reaching large numbers) is showing the cores available to the genome research project of the first example. Switching back to that, the illustrated matches are now clicking like castanets, the lines per-match are filling the display.

Back to Pichai, Evolution of Chrome apps:
  • always avaliable
  • authentic app experience
  • enhanced device access (this mostly for developers, of course.) Making sure that apps can access and use all the capabilities of the device they're running on.

Now, 2 performers from Circ du Soleil on stage, while images from their shows play in the background; I wonder where this is going to go.

Demo is a preview: a surreal game / VR world with complex, photo-realistic gymnasts and layers of flowers moving in 3D space, built in HTML with CSS animations / filters. Fast; the high-res video, controlled in real time by using a camera -- user turning head, or shifting body, serve as controller. "Wonderfully portable" -- works just as well on a tablet, vs. a conventional browser.

Says casually that this is running on a Chromebook -- that I think should have drawn big applause, but didn't.

New Chromebox flashed on screen, Pichai exits rather abruptly with a plea for the gathered developers to keep making cool apps, and now ... on video, we're back to the same rooftop where yesterday wing-suited skydivers landed on the roof. Sergey is wearing his Glass headset, and they switch occasionally to his (low rez, view). It looks like they're going to repeat the jump, but with more explanation: Sergey is walking around the roof, demoing how they tracked those jumpers and maintained network connection to their transmitted video -- looks like around a dozen people wrangling parabolic antennas at the edge of the roof, trying to catch those signals. In the background (this is much cleaner than Caligula, but nearly as extravagant), the trick bikers are rolling around the roof, warming up with small tricks. :For those of you in downtown San Francisco," he says, "this would be a good time to peek out your windows."

We're occasionally switched to a view of the inside of the blimp, and another shot of the outside, and are promised a countdown. 30 second count-down about to start. Lucky, they say, that the fog is holding back.

The starship Heart of Gold! They're in the air, to massive applause, flying and weaving ... the 3d chute opens, with a puff of smoke; Sergey provides an explanation -- that gives a cue for the folks with antennas about how to aim them. One chute down! All chutes down; Camera following around Sergey falls, he makes a wounded sound "awww!" but it's picked up quickly. Or wait, was that his Glass headset that fell? Maybe so. Now he's switched to the sun-glass version.

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Google I/O Day Two

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  • I really do not want the tabs I browse at home automatically opening up on my work PC. Or my phone, for that matter. Three different media, used for three totally different purposes. It's cool that they figured out how to do this, but I can't see myself ever actually using it.

    • by ifrag ( 984323 )

      I can't see myself using this type of sync until there is some kind of amazing always accurate filter AI that knows what's even appropriate to BE synced. And the technology probably isn't going to be there anytime soon, if ever. Really don't need half my tabs coming up with NSFW at work.

      I suppose if they had some kind of opt-in button on the tab it might be useful sometimes, but just default blind sync is damn near the most useless thing I can think of.

      • I may be misinterpreting the announcement, but tab sync currently doesn't actually *open* the tabs on your other devices, it just has an "other devices" tab (mobile) or a drop down (desktop). Only the page titles are actually loaded until you actually click them. I'm not sure how the pre-loading will work but I'd bet that it's configurable, as chrome's syncing has pretty fine grained configuration already.
        • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

          So, your browser won't actually display any not-safe-for-work links, but the folks monitoring all your communications will think that it did. :)

          Since Chrome lacks the ability to distinguish between home/work anyway I have to use multiple accounts. I don't want one set of bookmarks shared across them...

          • by ronocdh ( 906309 )

            your browser won't actually display any not-safe-for-work links, but the folks monitoring all your communications will think that it did.

            No. The sync data will be transferred over HTTPS and no one watching the network will have any clue as to what was transferred, other than that it was browsing history. Sending this kind of information in plain text—let alone requesting that the browser actually do HTTP GETs on each URL!—would be madness.

            • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

              The article mentioned pre-fetching and such. Unless the cache is transferred over https as well that means that your browser will be sending out random GETs to half the internet.

              Granted that is already an issue even without this feature. It is just compounded when my home browsing habits are exported to my work computer.

        • by timothy ( 36799 ) Works for Slashdot

          Yes -- Sorry, my notes were sketchy as I fired them off, but you're right -- you have to explicitly choose to grab / activate the tabs from the other device, rather than them appearing automatically and unbidden on the one you're at.

          Thanks for raising that.


    • Would be nice if it were optional per tab. I can open an article at work, read a bit of it there and finish reading it at home.

    • by alen ( 225700 )

      incognito mode for "those" tabs

      • It's not just about "those" tabs. I don't need the IGN Guide to Skyward Sword showing up on my work computer, either.

        • Then dont login at work with an account that connects to your personal crap like that. Its not rocket science.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I really do not want the tabs I browse at home automatically opening up on my work PC. Or my phone, for that matter. Three different media, used for three totally different purposes. It's cool that they figured out how to do this, but I can't see myself ever actually using it.

      Totally agree. Tabs on Home PC: Fapping. Tabs on Phone: Fapping small. Tabs on Work PC: Fapping to something only borderline NSFW.

      I have no idea why they would think that crossing all those genres would be beneficial.

    • by Isarian ( 929683 )

      Utilize the "Users" option in Chrome to set up different users, one for home, one for work. This is what I do to keep things segregated.

    • by thule ( 9041 )
      Why not create multiple Chrome accounts? I have two Chrome windows open. One with my personal account and one with my work account. It is easy to open a window under they account I want with Shift-Ctrl-M. I don't have to have my phone connected to my work account. No account on the phone/tablet, no tabs.
    • Good point, the entire idea of NSFW is at @W part. I would just assume keep a distinct separation of such things as well. For that matter if I'm at home I don't care to be reminded about what I'm working on either. /Technology fail, just because you can do something doesn't mean you should do something.

      • I would just assume keep a distinct separation...

        The actual idiom is "just as soon", not "just assume".

        As for a use case, syncing between my home desktop and laptop might be nice. I'm not gonna switch to Chrome and jump through hoops to set it up though.

    • But they don't "automatically" open up on your other PCs. They simply show up in a list of tabs opened on your other devices that are synced to your same google account. Then you can manually open the "remote tab" on the device you are currently on. They will not simply start popping up on your work PC while you are opening tabs at home. And if you are really that worried about even having the smallest amount of access between the tabs of your different devices, then I guess this feature isn't for you.
    • So with this new tabs feature, google will be able to not just track your searches but every web page you open. Only way they will be able to do this is if the browser phones home to the mothership the pages you have open.

      • So enable encryption - that's a fully supported option in Chrome. All Google's servers ever get are an encrypted blob.

    • I really do not want the tabs I browse at home automatically opening up on my work PC. Or my phone, for that matter. Three different media, used for three totally different purposes. It's cool that they figured out how to do this, but I can't see myself ever actually using it.


      Just don't set up 'Sync' on your work instance of Chrome. I don't know whether you can switch it off if you have set it up, because I'm at work and so I don't have it set up... but I expect you can. I do not want some of my home bookmarks to be visible on my work machine, and, guess what? They aren't. If I want to access them at work, I have chrome beta on my phone, and it does have sync.

      I certainly expect to use this new feature, and expect to find it very useful, between my phone, my laptop and my

    • It doesn't actually keep your open tabs in sync across different browsers, it just presents a list of all tabs you have open in each of your Chrome browsers. It shows up on the new tab screen in a popup menu along the bottom (or a tab on mobile). I agree with you that I wouldn't want my open tabs to actually stay in sync, but this implementation of it is really handy. You can totally ignore it if you want, but it's nice to have around.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Judging by the lack of comments it seems most people don't feel two excited about it. The skydive show was cool but this is pretty boring stuff. They should get a decent presenter, hopefully one that is not Vic 'Real Names asshole' Gundotra.


    Sundar Pichai is the utter asshole whose incompetence resulted in the shutdown of Google's Atlanta office. We don't forget!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Well, duh, they put all the interesting stuff in the keynote. That's how every conference like this works.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    To transmit your entire browsing history to a third party - if they weren't already tracking you anyways.

  • From TFM [google.com]:

    We currently do not support IPv6. However, Google is a big supporter of IPv6 and it is an important future direction.

    So much for keeping the Internet growing [blogspot.co.uk], Google. Usual half-baked beta.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Sure, I want to run all the cloud stuff BUT on MY OWN COMPUTERS, hosted in my OWN HOME. With no corporations slurping my data in between.

    I'd be 100% OK with all this cloud stuff if I could via TECHNOLOGICAL MEANS guarantee safety and integrity and confidentiality of my data. But, alas, the business ideas are based on exploiting this data somehow.

    And now everything is a matter of trust. Trust the companies to work within the law (how would you know they don't?), trust that they mean well, trust that they nev

  • So I bet you can move your netflix movie around to and from all your devices... except linux of course.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith