Google IO Day 1

google io crowdgoogle io at nightscratch working with legos

Google IO day one is over and my feet are killing me. Here are my key take aways for the day:


Firebase has become a key component in the Google ecosystem. What was once a real time database is now a platform for your entire infrastructure and application business development needs. Today there were plenty of comparisons to Parse, Facebook's ill-fated application platform. Since I'm at Google IO I didn't hear many comparisons to Amazon's ecosystem of products, but I'm sure others will make the comparison. Amazon does offer more in technical functionality but at the cost of complexity. Though AWS offers an inexpensive and powerful compute platform they won't be winning any awards for developer experience. Google has done a great job considering not just the technical but also the business requirements for the entire application lifecycle. Developers still have the same powerful real time database as a service that they've had for a long time, but now the product covers the deployment process that includes hosting with SSL and free custom domains. File uploads are one line of code simple and though authentication doesn't change a lot it's now backed by the same processes that Google uses for OAuth. Authentication is hard. Firebase makes it simple. Application testing and crash reporting mean fewer bugs make it to production and those that do can be dealt with quickly. Remote configuration allows for testing and implementation of features based on unlimited free analytics provide the business with information to make key decisions. Adwords, invites, dynamic links and app indexing make it super simple to grow your user base. If you don't have customers your application will die. Everyone else leaves this step as an exercise for the reader. Customers typically lead to revenue and so Firebase brings AdMob to your application so you can start earning right away.

Full disclosure, I'm a Firebase Google Developer Expert so if you need help implementing Firebase my company, Atomic Jolt is ready to help. It also means I get one of these:

Firebase Google Developer Expert shirt

Google Home

I have an Amazon Echo and I love it, but it's pretty stupid. You have to be careful how you word your questions. I built a skill for it. It's cool that Amazon is putting a lot of effort into encouraging developers. It's cool that it works with my Ecobee and with my Philips Hue lights. I like it so much that I bought another Echo and an Echo Bee. However, both of them are going back. Unless Amazon can significantly improve Alexa's IQ by Fall I'll be making the switch. Google's Home device might look like an overgrown Glade plugin but I don't care what it looks like if it case Google's compute power behind it. Who knows if it will perform like the demo they showed, but if it does it will enable intelligent interaction our homes.

Some Personal Favorites

  1. The LLK (Life Long Kindergarten) group at MIT's media lab are working with Google to bring Scratch to mobile devices with a new open source project called Scratch Blocks. They also showed off cardboard bots with the caveat that they were very expensive and so not likely to be available to schools. I'll give a shout out to Cache Maker's who did something similar for a couple of bucks using the ESP2866.
  2. Tyler McGinnis' re-base library that brings Firebase and React together in a Relay-like way. 3 The California weather is amazing. There's been plenty of complaint about the venue being outside and I've seen a few people who clearly forgot to put on sunscreen. However, I spend plenty of time indoors. It's nice to get out and enjoy the world outside.

Less Favorite

  1. I have to remember that the food is high calorie, zero nutrition garbage. Hot dogs, fries and mac and cheese with soda do not make a meal.
  2. The lines are long. So long. There are 7,000 people here. You wait to get into everything. The most popular sessions fill up fast.
  3. There's no power. Google tells you there will be but there's not. Conserve your juice. What you bring is what you get.