Google I/O: Multi-headed Hydra

Today in San Francisco at Google I/O 2014, Google kicked off their 7th annual I/O developers conference. This year, they’re focusing on three key themes: design, develop, and distribute.

Android Version 5.0, dubbed “L”, featuring a further refined interface called Material Design, additional tools and APIs for developers, and a new runtime that is optimized for 64-bit processing. More details will be available tomorrow.

The company also provided additional details on Google Play Services 5.0 with enhanced services for Android wearables to easily communicate and sync. Android Wear is its platform for wearable devices like smart watches, while a new program called Google Fit collects Android users’ health and fitness data.

Google also announced Android Auto, its initiative to install Android functions into vehicles, Android TV with features full Google Cast support, so you can also use it just like a Chromecast. It also lets Android apps control TVs.

The Android One program will develop low-cost Android phones. Google is initially teaming up with Indian smartphone makers like Karbonn and Spice. A Micromax Android One device was demoed with dual-SIM and SD card slots, a 4.5-inch display and FM radio priced at just $100.

Google’s announcements enhance Android smartphones as the hub of a wide range of electronic devices. It faces competition from Apple’s iOS as well as Microsoft’s Windows Phone, Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and other alternative smartphone platforms.

However, much of Google’s business is focused around mobile advertising, and in that area the company continues to face challenges, writes Mike Dano of Fierce Wireless.

According to eMarketer, Google’s remains the most dominant company in the digital advertising space, but its position is slipping. In 2014, Google will take 31.5 percent of the $140.2 billion global advertising market, down from 31.9 percent in 2013, eMarketer estimated.

Mobile will account for 85.9% of digital ad search dollars by 2018, reaching $28.41 billion, according to a new report from eMarketer released today. And Google’s share will fall to 64.2% — down from 82.8% in 2012.

Posted by Sam Churchill on .

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