Google I/O keynote review: The Good, The Bad and The Unexpected

Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page
Google CEO and co-founder Larry Page

By Paul Williams
Tech talk has been in overdrive this week as Google I/O comes to a close. The annual developer-focused conference saw Larry Page, Google co-founder and CEO, deliver the opening keynote speech on May 15th.
What did Page and co. really say in those three and a half hours (spoiler alert: there were zero new hardware announcements) and what do you really need to know? If you missed out, take a look at the good, the bad and the unexpected that came out of the 180-minute keynote.
Google Play Music All Access
The Good: More unlimited music. Spotify proved that millions (24 million in fact) are over radio-only music services like Pandora, and want the freedom to create their own playlists ““ without having to pay for it. Enter Google Play Music All Access (yep, that‘s a mouthful). It‘s Google‘s version of Spotify, where you have access to millions of songs, create your own playlists and radio stations, and get song recommendations based on music you already like. To try and set itself apart from Spotify, Google Play also gives you access to eBooks, movies, magazines and TV shows.
The Bad: Google isn‘t doing it‘s “œcompetitor friendly“ image any good. Some feel Google is like a leech ““ making little brother products  to compete with big brother predecessors. Some might be uncomfortable with Google‘s march toward owning everything you like to do that involves an Internet connection.
Google Maps
The Good: Traffic jams are inevitable ““ but an improved Google Maps app could make them more avoidable. The ubiquitous map app got a visual makeover, the most significant refresh since Maps launched in 2005. On mobile, the map will show sources of traffic jams helping drivers get where they are going faster. For tablets and desktop, Google Maps now acts as a concierge ““ you can search for restaurants in your area and other attractions like shops and boutiques“”and the service will recommend places based on your Google+ activity, as well as that of your friends.
The Bad: Google made maps personal, which is great if you and all of your friends use Google+. But you and your friends probably don‘t use Google+. Because it‘s Google+. Wah, wah.
The Unexpected
On the bad side of unexpected“”there was no Nexus 4 refresh announcement. No new tablet announcement.  Those hoping for the rumoured Google-Motorola X-Phone will have to wait longer.
On the good side (if you have deep pockets and hate phone contracts), Google announced they‘d be selling the Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android on their site for $649, with LTE support for AT&T and T-Mobile.
On the “œI guess it‘s good, maybe this will help“ side: Google+, Google‘s two-year-old social networking lonely child, is getting a makeover that includes 41 new features: a new photos experience, new hangouts and a newly designed stream (with a very Pinterest-inspired look).
Those were the big announcements that came out of the keynote with more news having followed over the remaining days.
About the Author: Paul Williams is a mobile gaming enthusiast, part-time blogger, and full-time copywriter with internetserviceproviders.com
Feel free to give him feedback in the comment section below.  You can also connect directly with Paul  via email.