Google I/O 2014

Diversity!

This was my first Google I/O experience thanks to the Anita Borg Institute. I entered the open lottery for the chance to buy a ticket, but when that failed I entered the ABI lottery.  Along with 99 other lucky women, I received a registration code for #io14… and heavily discounted to boot! I’m pretty sure that the staggering 20% women attendance (up from 8% last year) had something to do with these relationships that Google made with various women in tech groups. I met other women who received their tickets through similar groups such as Girl Develop It and Women Who Code.  20% may not sound like a lot, but it felt like a lot. In contrast to other tech conferences where I had to look long and hard to find other women, at I/O there were women every direction I turned.

Childcare

There was free child care!  I took full advantage of this and enrolled my 4 and 8 year old.  Although it was a bit of effort to haul them up and down the peninsula on the Caltrain both days, it definitely simplified the multi-kid dropoff / pickup routine.  The kids had lots of fun and certainly scored big on the swag!

One of the best things about the childcare was that there seemed to be just as many men dropping off their kids as women.

Design

UX and Design seems all the rage these days and it is no surprise that Design was a major theme at I/O.  It was fascinating to hear about how much effort goes into to perfecting the animation and shadows.  The content is the ‘hero’.  With all the hero-talk it will be interesting to see the evolution of the hero image page in Wikipedia (today’s version vs. current version).

Wearables

Over the last two days I have absolutely fallen in love with my Samsung Gear Live.  It’s all of the utility of Google Glass but with out the annoying nerdiness.  For me the pitch that this technology keeps you more connected to the real world (vs. getting sucked in to your phone and all of it’s fanciness) is holding true.  I can take a quick glance at my wrist for the notification headline and then continue on with the task at hand without pulling out my phone.

A month ago I considered getting a FitBit, but I’m glad I held out.  This fancy (not so) little watch counts my steps and even monitors my heart rate!  You can’t share the data with anyone yet, but I’m sure that will come in time.

I see quite a lot of potential in the smart watch.  I’m looking forward to receiving the round face form factor later this year.

Chemistry

I was a chemist in my previous life and all the talk of material design and polymer confused me at times.  Was I at a tech conference or a chemistry conference?  But seriously, Google is pushing polymer quite hard.  My project team is in the middle of transitioning out of the obsolete GWT into the world of AngularJS.  Sigh. Will I be doing the AngularJS to polymer transition next? The fact that all the Superheroic Angular swag (capes and tote bags) were doled out to the kids in the conference childcare makes me think so.

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