Google I/O sticks to Android, Chrome OS; skips social this year

by Kristen Nicole

The Google I/O conference is getting ready for its fourth rendition, attracting over 5,000 attendees this year. The conference is an opportunity for Google to highlight new and upcoming products, marking a great opportunity to show off Android annually. Google I/O has grown significantly since first kicking off in 2008, growing in tandem with Android’s popularity, and incurring more curious expectations with every event. This year brings waves of mixed hopes, as Android settles in as a mobile platform, and Google reveals more plans around inclusive development.

Chrome OS and beyond

While Android is one of Google’s biggest initiatives, it’s not the only project that will receive attention at Google I/O this year. Chrome OS will reportedly get its time in the spotlight, with presumptions that Google will share more details on what types of Chrome OS notebooks will launch, and their prices. Given the rising interest in the tablet market, Google’s likely to discuss Chrome OS initiatives in this arena as well, a notable follow-up to the operating system’s first announcement in 2009.

Google TV is also a hot ticket item, though the product itself has been met with lukewarm reviews and slow consumer adoption. First announced at Google I/O last year, Google TV has been fighting red tape from major network companies, slowing its general enthusiasm and limiting its ability to compete with similar products from Apple.

Forget about social

One thing we won’t see at Google I/O this year is a major social announcement, something for which Google is long overdue. A number of publications confirmed that Google’s debunking social rumors early, focusing primarily on Android and Chrome OS for this year’s event. The most social of announcements we can expect this week is Google’s preview of the +1 button, designed to “embed social signals within Google search results through user voting,” as AllThingsD describes it. The product, geared towards the publishers market, won’t be available for another few weeks, though Google’s reportedly been testing it out for some time now.