Thoughts from Google I/O 2019

Updated:
As he does every year, Justia Engineer Nick Moline attended the Google I/O conference in Mountain View. As usual, he liveblogged the sessions he attended, and this post is his summary of some of the key takeaways from this year's conference.

On May 7-9, 2019, Google held the twelfth annual Google I/O Developer Conference (thirteenth if you include the original Google Developer Day in 2007).

In 2016, Google moved the conference from Moscone Center in San Francisco to the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View (just down the street from both the Googleplex and Justia’s Mountain View Headquarters), and changed the feel of the conference to give it more of a music festival vibe.

This year’s conference continued the theme of Google’s recent focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning in particular, but also had a strong emphasis on trying to inspire developers.

This Year’s Big Announcements

Google used this year’s conference to announce two new phones, the Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL. These cheaper versions of the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL released back in the fall have most of the Pixel functionality at nearly half the price of those flagship devices.

The advancements of Google’s Machine Learning were front and center with features like on-device Live Captioning at the operating system level in Android Q, improvements to the functionality of Google Lens to aid users of different levels of literacy to interact with the world, and the ability to automatically fill in multi-step forms on the web with Duplex for the Web.

Google also used this conference to rebrand Google Home devices under the Nest brand name (while at the same time ending several of the Nest specific projects such as “Works with Nest” in favor of the Google Home integration points).

While it wasn’t announced on the main stage, a big change announced at Google I/O of interest to us at Justia, and to the web marketing industry as a whole, is that Google’s search engine spider, Googlebot, is now “Evergreen.” Until recently, Googlebot was based on an older version of the Chrome rendering engine (Chrome 41). Websites using technologies that didn’t work in Chrome 41 could have issues getting indexed properly in Google. Now Googlebot is based on the latest open source stable version of Chromium (Chrome 74 at the time of the announcement), and when new stable versions of Chromium are released in the future, Googlebot will update to the new version within weeks of release.

Justia Live Blogs

While I attended a large variety of sessions, I’ve continued the tradition I started 2 years ago by live blogging some of the sessions I attended which I thought are of particular interest to those of us interested in marketing on the web.  This year’s live blogged sessions were:

  1. Building Successful Websites: Case Studies for Mature and Emerging Markets
  2. Enhance Your Search and Assistant Presence with Structured Data
  3. Rapidly Building Better Web Experiences with AMP
  4. Speed at Scale: Web Performance Tips and Tricks from the Trenches
  5. Google Search: State of the Union
  6. AMP for Email: Coming Soon to an Inbox Near You
  7. Google Search and JavaScript Sites

We hope you joined us for the live blogs, or at least that you find the archives of our live blogs as interesting as I found the sessions I was live blogging.

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