What developers can expect at Google I/O 2012

Google's annual developer conference sold out in 20 minutes. Here's what all the fuss is about

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I covered one developing aspect of the Web platform in last week's column about the Web Components project. I expect we'll see those technologies fleshed out further in Google I/O sessions this year.

There are other new Web technologies on the way as well; Google is playing a significant role in developing many of them. One example is Web Intents, a framework that enables interoperability between Web applications. Google I/O conference sessions generally offer good coverage of such upcoming Web technologies.

Naturally, there will be updates to Google's Chrome browser to accompany all of this. By the time the show opens in June, I expect many of the improvements currently found in Chrome Canary, Google's bleeding-edge browser branch, will have made their way into the mainstream branch. Among them is another 25 percent improvement in JavaScript performance over the current builds.

Getting serious about games
Game development will probably get a fair amount of coverage at Google I/O. Entertainment, in general, has been an area of growing emphasis for Google. Notice how it relaunched the Android Market as Google Play, a new store that combines apps with e-books and multimedia.

Games have long been among the top downloads for Android. Now Google aims to make games a showcase for the Web platform, too. Notice that it launched the Google I/O conference website with a browser-based puzzle game. That means there will be Google I/O sessions showcasing browser features of particular interest to game developers. These include the latest HTML5 features, but also Chrome-specific features such as hardware-accelerated graphics rendering and Native Client (NaCl).

The cloud and beyond
You can also expect the perennial developer sessions on Google's more prosaic services, including AdSense and AdWords. There will be talk of cloud computing, including Google Apps and App Engine, as well. Those services may even receive upgrades timed with the conference.

I expect one of the bigger focus areas for this year's show, however, will be Google+. Although it has struggled to build an audience, don't underestimate how important Google+ is to the search giant's strategy. The fledgling social network is critical, not just to Google's competition with Facebook, but to its search and advertising businesses, as well. To that end, I expect to see further revamps of the Google+ APIs announced at the show, as well as increased integration with other services, both from Google and third parties.

But you may well ask, what's the point? If tickets have already sold out and I can't attend the show, what's the use of knowing what will be presented there?

The good news is that Google plans to stream the keynote and many sessions live. The remainder of the sessions will be recorded and made available online later. Even if you can't take advantage of any free gifts given out at the show, you can still take advantage of its most valuable aspects. It is, after all, a developer conference -- an important one.

This article, "What developers can expect at Google I/O 2012," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest news in programming at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.

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