Google's I/O developer's conference took off with a bang yesterday and featured a new Google tablet, an improved mobile OS, and even a bunch of skydivers sporting Google Glasses who landed onto the Moscone Center in San Francisco, where the conference is taking place.
You'd think the City of San Francisco would have ordinances against jumping from blimps onto buildings (it looks dicey), but this is Google we're talking about here.
Day Two brought even more delights to developers and the millions of onlookers watching the event in earnest.
The theme of the day: Google wants to be wherever you are. Check out the company's latest releases:
Chrome: Now Works Seamlessly Across Devices
The browser now has 310 million active users worldwide, up from 160 million last year. During a demo, Google showed off how Chrome syncs your open tabs, bookmarks, and history across computers and devices. That means if you're browsing the Web at home you can pick up exactly where you left off once you get to work.
Particularly amazing is the fact that even the "back" command works, so you can return to previous sites you visited even if it was on a different device or computer. Autofill and passwords work across devices, too. As presenters kept pointing out, "it just works."
Chrome Comes to iOS
In addition to the fact that Chrome for Android has now moved out of beta, Chrome is now available for Apple iOS. That means you can now get all those nifty features that make the browser work so well across devices on your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. Google showed off how Chrome lets you see all your devices as well as pages you visited on each one.
For example, let's say you search for a restaurant on your Mac at work, check out the website, and head out the door. While walking there, you realize you don't remember the address. You can use your mobile device to quickly find the same link you viewed on your Mac when you were back at the office.
Chromebooks on Sale at Best Buy in the U.S.
For the first time, Google is making Chromebooks available at brick-and-mortar stores. The laptops running the Google Chrome OS will be sold at select Best Buy stores in the U.S. and at Dixons in the U.K. Google said new improved Chromebooks will start popping up in time for the holidays.
Google Drive Gets Better (and Now on iOS)
Google Drive, in case you're not familiar with it, is an extension of Google Docs.
It's like Dropbox or Microsoft's Skydrive in that it lets you save files from your computer to the cloud and then syncs them across devices. It's great for business because if you're traveling and need to access a file on your work or home PC, you can get it. Now it's available for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.
One update you should definitely know about: You can now edit word documents even when you're offline, which raised big cheers from developers. It also lets you collaborate with others and you can see changes others make to a file in real time.
Google Compute Engine launches
Google also announced its Virtual Machine (VM) offering, Google Compute Engine, which is launching to limited preview.
In 2008, the company launched the Google App Engine, which allows anyone to build and host applications on its internal infrastructure. Google Compute Engine is an improvement upon this service and aims to pull market share away from the likes of Amazon and Microsoft, which both offer Infrastructure as a Service.
Google showed Google Compute Engine running a single large application across 600,000 processor cores. The company will initially market the service, which can run Linux VMs based on either the Ubuntu 12.04 or the CentOS 6.2 Linux distributions, to enterprises that need 100 or more VMs.
Expect Some Incredible New Web Apps
Google also touted its collaboration with Cirque du Soleil that shows off a host of new Web platform capabilities that the company says wouldn't have been possible a year ago.
Going beyond text, images, and video, the Circ Web app, which responds to your body movements detected by your Web cam, uses lots of deep and rich CSS3 animations, works great on mobile devices and makes use of things like a device's accelerometer, and hardware accelerated 3D graphics.