Announcements from Google I/O

Today had my head spinning as many announcements have been flying out of Google’s big developer conference, I/O. For me, the biggest is news that Google is not only opening up the VP-8 codec they acquired as part of their purchase of On2, but is forging it into the keystone of an open media for the web initiative. I am saving my thoughts on this for this weekend’s news cast as there is a lot to sift through.

Frederic Lardinois of RWW has details about Wave being opened to one and all. As part of that change from being invite only, it is now available for those who use Google Apps. (Google Apps being the offering that allows you to run some of Google’s services with their own domain name.) There are a host of other improvements, for users and developers alike, that Lardinois lays out in the article. I had kind of given up on Wave despite actually having a couple of projects for which it seemed ideally suited. I am definitely going to have to re-visit and see if some of my irritations have been addressed, most of them having to do with organizing the fruits of collaboration. In my experience it is too easy to grow a Wave to a size that defies further productive work on it.

Marshall Kirkpatrick, also at RWW, discusses one of the odder announcements, the launching of an store of web applications. The store will be available through Google’s Chrome browser as an option when opening a new tab. I am far more skeptical of this working than Kirkpatrick is. I do admit it is pretty continuous with Google’s recent move to create a channel for distributing applications for Gmail and Google Apps. I also appreciate that sometimes a good application can fail for want of exposure. Google clearly sees an opportunity to help with that, as well as taking their vig either as a cut of sales or by layering advertising into the interface. Wouldn’t an enhancement to their search interface achieve the same goal, similar to their addition of live updates from streaming services like Twitter?

I will admit to some fear that a move to directly monetize new, small innovative web applications will lead to a sort of nickel and dime-ing that I personally would find off putting, a barrier to trying such services. On the flip side, small scale offer models seem to be thriving to the point that many developers are not only subsiding on them exclusively but making a tidy living. I do find myself increasingly paying into casual offers when the price is equivalent to an impulse buy. I suppose the hope is that more innovation could flower from tapping into this phenomenon rather than requiring the fraught capitalization more typically required.

There were some other announcements that may interest some but I really didn’t find as captivating. Frederic Lardinois also wrote about yet another web font API but this time with a directory. The Google Code Blog has a preview of some storage APIs that look most likely to compete with Amazon’s S3. This new offering includes some new tools making it useful for storage needs outside of Google’s own application platform, App Engine.

There is a lot to digest, from the big announcement on through the less interesting ones. It is going to be fascinating to see how all of these unfold, hopefully in some pleasantly surprising ways.

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