Opinion – In retrospect, was I/O 2016 disappointing?

Jun 1

Opinion – In retrospect, was I/O 2016 disappointing?

“How can you make such a statement?! Google has made thousands of announcements!”

Yeah we know: Allo, Duo, Google Assistant, Google Home… BUT from a pure professional and BtoB Android perspective, Google I/O 2016 was pretty quiet this year and wasn’t really to everyone’s liking in the Android development community.

Indeed, thousands of developers gathered from all around the world for this major annual event and, unfortunately, what they saw was a keynote with very few ground-breaking announcements and technical sessions of uneven quality – all of this in an overall Burning Man atmosphere (no joke, look at this).

We’re now two weeks away since I/O 2016 ended and even if a lot water has flowed under the bridge, a sour taste remains…

Developers or consumers? Between the two the heart wavers

Over the years, Google I/O has been increasingly covered by the mainstream media, giving it the same status than Apple’s keynote. The problem is that it isn’t! Google I/O has always been made by developers, for developers so far.

For instance, every year, we have been used to seeing the team from ATAP literally blow our minds off. Maybe we were a small portion of the world to know what was going on, but it was still exciting! This year’s ATAP conference was far less impressive and could literally be summed up by: “Hello world. What we showed last year to few people will come out next year for everyone. Bye”.

Ok maybe we’re being too harsh here with ATAP. Their session was still a fun one to attend and we can’t wait to play with Jacquard and Ara (which in the end is more alive than ever), but what about INNOVATION? The team behind ATAP surely has many other projects to showcase… But they didn’t! And the reason might simply be because those are not achieved yet and not likely to interest the general public.

We’re not saying Google should go back and bring us the power back, but maybe it’s time to make Google I/O a mainstream event once and for all and use other opportunities for developer-related content. The Android Dev Summits launched last year can be a good start.

I/O 2016 wasn’t bad, but it could have been better

Don’t get us wrong, we’re not playing the infamous “used to be better before” card.

Indeed, we wish Google I/O were more addressed to professionals, but just like every other company Google has to evolve. Showcasing groundbreaking products every year is hard, and Google is not the worst one in this game. But we’ve been following Android for more than 8 years now – we even created a company based on it, rings a bell? – and we’d be sad to see them divert from their core values.

Google I/O 2016 was maybe not THAT disappointing… But just not addressed to us, fellow developers. Today Google is like that friend that we don’t want to see changing too much.

But maybe we’re wrong and their plan is to change for the better! After all, most of this year’s expectations have been met, and there is still a lot of goodness:

Not to mention that we had the chance to spend time with a huge amount of talented and supportive people! And in the end, that’s what we will keep in mind for this year ?

See you next year Google I/O?

How did you feel about Google I/O 2016? In hindsight, did you expect more from this event? Let us know in the comment section!