As Google’s premier mode of announcing new products and developments, lovers of all things Google anticipate huge unveils such as: Chromebooks in 2011, and massive updates such as the Ice-Cream Sandwich and Jellybean android updates of ’11 and ’12 respectively, and death-defying stunts, like the Google Glass Skydive of ’12 (if you haven’t seen this, it’s a must-watch).
After the product driven conference of 2012, with the releases of the Nexus 7 tablet, Google Glass, and the Nexus Q, Google fans held high expectations of what Google would do for 2013. This year we saw a massive rollout of updates, making Google search, Google powered devices, and Android easier to use and more productive. This included major overhauls to:
Google Maps: soon we’ll see Google able to more accurately help us get to where we really want to be and explore new areas.
The Google Play Market: updates which make application development and distribution easier.
Google Search: huge changes were unveiled, with a beefing up of the verbal search, making finding the information you need more conversational and personalized (this was actually a really cool, hands-free feature that everyone should definitely check it out here).
As Google’s SVP of Android, Chrome, and Apps and this years I/O Keynote Speaker, Sundar Pichai put, “I think we are in the middle of one of the most pivotal moments we are going through one of the most innovative phases in personal computing”. In the midst of this revolution, entrepreneurs especially should absolutely look for how these developments can accelerate them forward. Check out these 5 new unveils from Google at I/O ’13, perfect for your startup.
1. Selling Your App Gets Easier
For any startup looking to launch an app for android devices, this years updates to the Google Play market will be extremely helpful . Google has always been extremely appreciative for its developers and the vast array of content they create. Since the launch of the Google Play Market in ’08 (as the Android Marketplace), the store has has been flooded by the apps of bright-minded developers from all over the world. In order to pay the developers back for all their hard work, Google has made some huge updates to the Developer Console.
These new features include Optimization Tips, which makes automatic suggestions to developers on how they may improve their app, Translations, where developers can receive an accurately translated edition of their code from Google into whatever language they may need, along with new analytics, including Usage Metrics, which analyzes the behavior of returning users, and Revenue Graphs for all financial matters. One of the biggest new features now allows for developers to release their new or refined application to Alpha and Beta testers, simply by selecting them from their Google+ Circles, and also distribute their application with Staged Rollouts so that updates are released by percentages at a time.
2. Chrome Gets Stronger, Your Customers Get Happier
Faster web experiences lead to greater customer satisfaction. And With new and more robust improvements to the Chrome web browser, Google has improved the user experience of the web, making it easier for your startup to reach out to customers, especially those who use Chrome on mobile. With new backend overhauls, Google was able to increase the speed of mobile Chrome while cutting down on data usage by 46%. With Chrome, your users will love your web page even more.
Another huge concern Google addressed with its Chrome updates is the struggle of mobile shopping. The current abandonment of mobile shopping carts, Google claims, is about 97%. This high percentage is mostly due to the fact that the entry of payment information is a major hassle. Google points out that this process of buying a product on mobile is a 21 step process. By syncing payment data on Chrome across all devices, Google claims that it reduces this 21 step process into a simple 3 step process of selecting a product, reviewing your synced payment data, and purchasing the product. This whole update makes mobile buying more efficient, cleaner, and more enjoyable. If your startup involves e-commerce, this is just another way your customers will love you more with Google Chrome.
3. Hangout With Your Whole Team
One of the best ways to manage your startup is to be in constant connection with those who are involved with your success. Google is now making strides in smoothing out these interactions and making them easier and much more conversational. In recent years, Google+ has shown us some awesome features that trump other social networks in multiple ways. Despite this, users still have a hard time leaving their Facebook and trying the Google platform. In order to make this transition a bit smoother, Google created Hangouts, a separate application with all of the capabilities of Google+ Hangouts, famously featuring text and picture messaging and 10 way video chat.
The best part of this new application is that it spans across platforms. Hangouts by Google is now available for Android, iOS, and web, all you need is a Gmail or Google+ account to log in. For entrepreneurs, this new app is the perfect way to stay constantly in contact with everyone. Have mobile meetings with your entire team or chat with customers or mentors, with the ability to send them instant high resolution images. All text and picture conversations are logged within the app so that you may go back and review the chats you’ve had at a later date as well.
4. Make Your Pictures Look Awesome
In the course of your startup endeavors, you’ve probably wanted to use an image to promote your product, app, what have you. But with this, you’ve probably also realized that editing this photo is not easy. Google is now taking a stab at simplifying this. The new Google+ picture auto-enhancer now instantly improves the overall quality of your images. With features like tonality adjustments, skin softener, and structure additions, Google takes your pictures from standard to awesome in just a matter of seconds.
5. Maps Help People Find You (And Help You Catch Your Train)
Later in the day, Google announced how it is now making it even easier for people to find your business. Brian McClendon, Google’s VP of Google Maps, stated during I/O that “locating local businesses precisely is actually pretty hard, but using street view, computer vision, and algorithms, we’re going to have over 40 million precise geocodes locating these businesses around the world”.
This was yet another change Google announced that makes it easier for your customers to interact with your business. In addition Google also announced an overhaul of the Google Maps Public Transit feature. With more times and information available and a brand new full schedule view, Google maps now makes it easier for you to get around your city, whether it be to important meetings, pitches, or dinners.
Overall, Google has announced some huge changes that can help your startup succeed. Take a look at the keynote presentation for all of these and hundreds more additions to the Google family family. As Larry Page said during I/O, “I encourage companies to do more things that are a little bit out of their comfort zone.
Even when we do something thats kind of crazy.. like self driving cars.. that map technology you just saw? The technology for self driving cars is the same. We had a bunch of engineers move over from one project to the other, and it was totally natural. Gmail when we launched it, we had 100 employees at the company. People said we were crazy and now, it was a really great thing we did that. Every time we do something crazy, we make progress”. So go do something crazy and enjoy it while you do, knowing that you’re making huge progress for our world.