GVSU hosts Google conference

GVL/Garrett Bleshenski
A Google developer conference was held at the Allendale and Pew campuses to limited amount of people.

Garrett Leon Bleshenski

GVL/Garrett Bleshenski A Google developer conference was held at the Allendale and Pew campuses to limited amount of people.

Duane Emery

This June, Grand Valley State University hosted a local version of Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O.

This is the first time GVSU has been a part of I/O extended, which live-streamed the conference to 597 locations in 80 countries. More than 200 people were present for the sold-out local event, where Google entertained the crowd with demonstrations of their upcoming devices and developer software.

The two-and-a-half hour stream was just the beginning of the two-day event, which also had local speakers and other demonstrations by Google. Although the conference could be watched on YouTube by anyone, attending had benefits beyond getting a sneak peek at Google’s newest products.

“Any students in engineering ought to be all over this stuff, it will be their bread and butter,” said Jonathan Engelsma, a GVSU computing and information systems professor who helped plan the event.

The audience consisted of students, developers and marketing professionals.

Rebecca Borek, from the keynote sponsor Gordon Food Service, said her company is always looking for students in information technology.

GVSU student Josh Engelsma said attending the conference “can open opportunities for you down the road for jobs (and) expand your social network with other developers.”

Jonathan Engelsma started planning the event six weeks before the conference.

“This was record time,” he said. He was amazed at how quickly sponsors and volunteers came together to set everything up in such a short amount of time.

Due to time and space limitations, seats were only available to 200 people, but organizers hope to expand in future years. Jonathan Engelsma believes events like these are important to the computing community. According to him, GVSU has a vested interest in the software development community and events like this one help motivate them to participate.

The Google I/O conference focused on their new mobile operating system, Android L, as well as communication between devices and wearable technology. The new mobile OS takes inspiration from paper and uses depth and shadows in its display. In addition, the new advanced runtime introduced with Android L will allow developers to create better, faster running apps.

Google also pushed connectivity. Their mobile devices will soon be able to share apps with Google Chrome laptops and sync up to compatible cars to display apps, phone calls and map directions right on the car screen.

They also showcased their new line of watches. These wearable devices will sync with cell phones and allow people to use the features of their phones without having to take them out of their pockets. Google demonstrated using the watches for reading and replying to texts, getting directions, scheduling appointments and shopping – all using voice commands.

“Google technology is being integrated into the very fabric of our lives,” Jonathan Engelsma said.

Adam Clarke, an event organizer, added that, “It’s not just your desktop anymore.”

The Google I/O Extended event was held June 25 and 26 in the Loosemore Auditorium in the Richard M. DeVos Center at the GVSU Pew Campus. More information about the event can be found at www.ioextendedgr.com. Google I/O 2014 can be viewed at www.google.com/events/io.

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