Google unveils Google Glass Explorer Edition at I/O
SAN FRANCISCO--Google's annual developers conference started this year with the kind of rush that one can only get from demoing new technology while plummeting out of an airplane. Thursday's announcements promise to be more subdued but could have a wider impact.
Google kicked off Day One of I/O 2012 with a flurry of Android-related announcements. As expected, Google's got a big 7-inch tablet called the Nexus 7 that looks to stomp on the Kindle Fire. It'll be running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, a minor-point update that nevertheless offers performance and usability improvements that the Android faithful lapped up.
Also unveiled was an Android-powered streaming media box called the Nexus Q. Except it's not a box, it's a made-in-the-U.S.A. media ball. The orb will set you back a sharp $300.
But the big news was the high-risk, skydiving, rappelling, BMX biking showstopper intro of Google Glass. Google hopes the unusual eyewear will usher in an era of first-person perspective pics and video, what Sergey Brin described as a "conversation with images."
While Wednesday was all about Android, Thursday promises to be focused on Google's other major development project: the Web. It's apparent from the Day Two seminar schedule that there will be a lot of time spent discussing future-Web technologies like Native Client and Dart, which means that Chrome will take center stage.
Google has been unusually cagey with the latest version of Chrome, which updated this morning. Instead of publishing a post announcing what's new, Google only released a list of high-profile security fixes. The detailed blog post announcing the Chrome 20 beta, which ought to have appeared six weeks ago, never materialized either. It's not hard to conclude that something big is coming in Chrome.
What we don't know are the specifics. Changes to Chrome tend to show up in Chrome OS about a month later. There could be a Chrome or Chrome OS hardware announcement. More likely is some manner of making future-Web tech more accessible through Chrome.
Come back here for CNET's Google I/O Day 2 live blog and our continuing coverage of I/O 2012.
Tune into CNET's live blog from the second Google I/O keynote starting at 9:30 a.m. PT.