Some Quick Thoughts on I/O

I am in SF but sadly was not able to make it to I/O. So I’ve been reading up on the news coming out of I/O.

Here, in no particular order, are the things that I am most excited about or thinking the most about:

1) Smart notifications. Many times the top of my screen gets filled with Twitter notifications (I get notifications whenever my daughters and my partners and my wife tweet), and so I don’t see my Kik notifications unless I swipe down to see all my notifications. I would like a mobile OS that looks at what notifications generate the most reliable and immediate reactions from me and put those front and center for me. The notification channel is becoming more and more like email and Google is well positioned to bring some of the smarts it has brought to email to mobile notifications.

2) Android mirroring on Chromecast. I have been so jealous of entrepreneurs walking into USV with only an iPhone, mirroring it to our conference room displays via Airplay, and doing their pitch on their phone. As an Android user, I have not been able to do that. We have both Chromecast and Airplay in our conference rooms at USV. Now Android users will not be second citizens. Yesssss.

3) In app data available in web search. This is a big one. When I search on mobile web for a restaurant, I’d sure like to see a Foursquare result come up if I’ve got the Foursquare app on my phone. Same with Tweets, Songs on SoundCloud, Movies on Fandango, etc, etc.

4) Wear, Car, TV. Google is trying to get Android everywhere. Just like Apple is trying to be everywhere. Regular readers know that I’m a bigger fan of “casting” your phone onto your car, watch, TV, than running apps and such on the devices. We will see how far Google is going in terms of putting smarts on these devices vs making Android phones control these devices. I prefer the latter approach myself.

But, as I said, I was not there. Benedict Evans was and here’s a 30 min podcast where he shares his impressions.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JimHirshfield

    Google cupcakes…I missed that announcement.Love the Chromecast news – that’s about all we use in the living room nowadays. And by “we”, I mean my kids.I don’t wear a watch anymore. Haven’t in a decade. I think most people are with me on this; that is the smartphone satisfies that need, and I just don’t like the feel on my wrist. SOOOO, I don’t get all the hullabullooo about smart watches etc.

    1. kenberger

      The smartwatch, IF done right, keeps the smarts on your phone and extends the most important info to be viewed on your wrist. Keeps you from needing to reach into your pocket as much, and holding a phone, which can be a social faux pas.But it creates a new social faux pas, since glancing at your watch during a meeting is even less acceptable!

      1. JimHirshfield

        Yeah. Not sure the trade-off is worth it. But I can see how it will catch a wave and other people will adopt it. For the foreseeable future, I think I can deal with the hassle of pulling out my phone.

        1. kenberger

          Fred has seen me wear the early android models, and chided me for it. Having used these things for a bit now, my prediction is give it just a year or 2 and there will be compelling models that you’ll use in ways you hadn’t thought of.For example: walking down a Chicago street on a cold winter day with your phone deep in your pocket under your coat and sweaters. Phone rings from the person you’re trying to meet. You answer it by talking to your wrist.We’re not curing cancer here, but the use case is neat once you’ve experienced it!

          1. JimHirshfield

            I get it. Chicago, as the edge use case. 😉

          2. pointsnfigures

            We like da watch in Chicaga. Pull your phone out and you are liable to get relish or mustard on it when you are eating a hot dog.

    2. jason wright

      those colors look a bit too vivid to be healthy.

      1. JimHirshfield

        It’s Google. The food coloring is actually a new enzyme that extracts your DNA and uploads it to your Android phone. iOS not available yet.

    3. William Mougayar

      ah, you think they are getting into food too :)if you want a “smart thing” on your wrist and you don’t have a watch, there’s this product called Glance

      1. JimHirshfield

        I heard about that. I like the idea that it fits your existing watch/arm and doesn’t dictate what style watch you wear. Small enough to lose too. 🙁

      2. Steven Kuyan

        I wasn’t into it until the thumb click. I agree with @JimHirshfield:disqus, its small enough to forget or lose. Come on people, integrate it into the watch band!

        1. William Mougayar

          It is meant to go on a band-only, if you don’t have a watch.

          1. JimHirshfield

            I think @RichardForster:disqus is advocating for a strap-on device, if ya know what I’m sayin’

          2. RichardF

            yup strap on all the way, its never a replacement for the real thing!Watch I mean obviously 😉

          3. JimHirshfield

            It’s all good if it feels good.

          4. Donna Brewington White

            See what happens when the women don’t show up in the comments.

          5. RichardF

            boys will be boys!!

          6. Donna Brewington White

            No offense to Shana. She holds her own.

          7. LE

            Or maybe a cod piece.

        2. RichardF

          absolutely some sort of strap/clasp integration is the way to go

    4. Richard

      UX is a problem. Phones are a one handed device, watches are two handed. Phones have a place to hide (your pocket), watches are always on. Phones charging is a a one click move, watch charging is a three step move. Phones don’t accidentally end up in the pool, watches accidently end up everywhere. And of course, public school will never be the same, students “take off your watches”. Lastly hold your left arm up at eye level for a few minutes, Tennis shoulder.

      1. JimHirshfield

        I think I disagree with everything you said except the school part. :-/

    5. LE

      Well it’s clear that the only reason that watches are even still relevant is as a fashion statement and in order to impress women in bars or your buddies.All those WSJ ads selling expensive watches. Essentially, for men, jewelery.The only thing that is funnier than your jokes are those ads that show some guy flying an airplane needing some watch chronograph.I don’t wear a watch either and haven’t for way more than 10 years.Below: watch ad featuring the same guy who got the girl pregnant in that movie back when you were in high school.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Nice selfies @domainregistry:disqus

        1. LE

          You’re smoking today Jim!But the truth is I do look that good. At least in my mind. Which is the important thing.

          1. JimHirshfield

            You’re looking better every day

      2. ShanaC

        I actually don’t think it is about impressing women as much as lack of options for jewelry for men

        1. LE

          If men wanted to wear jewelry they would have always made (edit “a large amount of”) jewelry for men and it would be as big of an industry as it is for women. But it’s not.Just like if women wanted to read porn magazines there would be a large quantity of porn magazines for women. The demand would pull in and cause the supply system to develop. And likewise if all the sudden they have figured out that men will now buy jewelry there would be more options for men’s jewelry than there are. (I’m not saying that couldn’t develop but I haven’t seen it). The jewelry business is dying and has been.Same goes for men’s clothing vs. women’s clothing and fashion.Another example is autos and the general idea that it’s more important to men than women what they drive.I love these watch ads and how they are so classic in how they try to manipulate the “mark”. It’s really good stuff in a Marlboro Man kind of way.

    6. ShanaC

      Ironically , as I get more attached to my phone, I find I need a watch more. Doing lots of stuff is battery draining

    7. awaldstein

      I used to collect them, wear them and stopped when phones got small enough to put in your pocket.I am offering myself up as a potential advisor to companies who are building these as with proper positioning and marketing, these are a monster category as the definition of what a watch is, is ripe to be transformed.Know of at least one budding wellness company that is based on wearable data devices both collecting and displaying.This is a market that is coming and I can guarantee that the sport fashion brands are all over this

      1. JimHirshfield

        No doubt. Just sayin’ I’m not gonna be an early adopter on this one.

        1. awaldstein

          I as you are happy with the phone and no watch.I think in this case if they define watch correctly, we are not the market.

    8. jason wright

      maybe it’s the very word, ‘watch’, that’s inhibiting this new category. it’s not a watch. it is on the wrist, but it’s not a watch.

      1. JimHirshfield

        Let’s call it a SmartBracelet or an iBangle

  2. Jon Michael Miles

    I popped for Chromecast and set it up on my TV after this week’s earlier conversation. My iMac took a bit to setup but my Galaxy S5 took literally two minutes and was pushing Youtube and my browser in general to my decidedly dumb TV fast and easy. Will experiment with google docs next.

    1. William Mougayar

      I have a Macbook Air, and Chromecast is setup via a Chrome browser extension. Then it shows that little icon on top of the browser, same to Airplay more or less.

      1. Jon Michael Miles

        imac issues were more audio related, needed new chrome browser update. older macbook not playing well. ipad seems to work fine. S5 still the easiest.

        1. William Mougayar

          got it. thanks.

  3. jason wright

    it’s all still so very clunky.USA 1 Germany 2.

    1. fredwilson

      Would USA make it into the knockout round with that result?

      1. JimHirshfield

        Depends how other teams do.

        1. jason wright

          excellent graphic. not so convinced about the lingo. a “tie” does not exist in football, only a “draw” 🙂

          1. vruz

            I’m aware. It’s also football where I come from, but there is a more international audience in this blog.

      2. jason wright

        yes, if the outcome of the game between Portugal and Ghana (being played at the same time, if Recife is not completely flooded out) works for the USA team. Goal difference may be the deciding factor. It could be tight.A draw or a victory against Germany would mean knockout football excitement time for the USA.I wonder how Herr Wenger sees it?

    2. ShanaC

      Usa lost

      1. jason wright

        yeah, but qualified for the knockout stage. i’m not sure who is next up.i’ll eat a google cupcake if they win the whole thing.

  4. vruz

    I don’t think it’s a great idea to give more power to Google indexing the data of every smartphone and uploading it to their single point of failure.Hope those APIs are open and another search engine startup competes with them on privacy.

  5. William Mougayar

    #3 is a defensive move because it keeps you searching on Google, even if you end-up inside an App.Overall, it looks like Google and Apple are “competing” over the same stack: the smartphone itself, UI, Voice, Internet of Things, Developers, the Cloud, remote casting, etc.. It’s a healthy kind of competition, because as users we end-up interplaying with Android and Apple without even knowing it sometimes. There are some on-ramps and off-ramps between Apple and Google products at the user level.

    1. vruz

      It’s not healthy at all. What’s the choice of search engines you have for your phone?

      1. William Mougayar

        you can have DDG or there’s a new interesting one called

        1. awaldstein

          that’s not really a choice for serious work.

          1. William Mougayar

            but work should be fun too, no? if your job depends on search, then google is your friend, for sure.

          2. awaldstein

            I’m all about lovin what I do and doing what I do well.I don’t search for fun, I search to find information to apply for solutions. The solution is the fun part.

          3. vruz

            I don’t mind using a generic search engine, but that wasn’t my main point anyway.My point is that pluggable search engines allow for specialisation, tailoring other search engines for verticals and various types of data.Also, dare I say it… competition is good.

          4. awaldstein

            example of a ‘pluggable search engine'(what is that?) for a specific vertical?reality or wishful want?

          5. vruz

            Is this an entrepreneur asking me about reality and wants?Also, feel free to ignore “competition is good”.

          6. awaldstein

            Successful entrepreneurship is all about making market wants reality.Success happens when you discover the market, execute smartly and make luck happen. There nothing more really.Wishful thinking is BS and the enemy.

          7. vruz

            I get you, it’s about any unrelated topic you would like to talk to people about.Also, competition is good.

        2. vruz

          That’s very cool, thank you!

        1. vruz

          Very cool, then!

  6. Richard

    What is it with companies that preach they are connected to their users but never touch the challenging issues in the relationship. Google+ is an example, of which there was no mention. Nothing beats honesty in a relationship. Hey Google, let’s talk.

    1. JimHirshfield


  7. LaMarEstaba

    I’m surprised that you aren’t more excited about Google Fit, given that there has been an increased awareness of how the health space is changing. Apple has reached out to my company, one of the major EMRs, to talk about filing aggregated health data to patient charts. Google hasn’t.

  8. Carl Rahn Griffith

    Having only recently immersed myself properly into Android, I’m a fan. Had been an Apple user for many years and now, to me, Apple seems like Windows did to me when I first became an Apple user. Economics has ‘forced’ my Android situation but even if I had the money I’d go this route now, regardless. Apple is nowadays little more than a fiscal/fashion statement, first and foremost. It’s no longer relevant to the mainstream.

    1. jason wright


      1. JimHirshfield

        Nice iMoney.

      2. William Mougayar

        In Steve we trust.In Apple we believe.

        1. pointsnfigures

          What’s that worth in Bitcoin?

          1. William Mougayar

            .2 btc roughly

          2. jason wright

            so btc and iphone have reached parity.

  9. Elia Freedman

    Of all the things I saw announced yesterday I am most excited about the design doc. I’ve never worked on a platform before that gave no hints as to what an app for that platform should be like. When we started working on Android there was no consistency even across the bundled apps. With the design doc, it should help people like me write much better and more consistent Android apps.

  10. jason wright

    “In app data available in web search”it’s a win-win-win. better for app publishers, better for google’s search, and better for consumers.

  11. RichardF

    You just reminded me I have been meaning to switch twitter notifications off 😉

  12. William Mougayar

    Every new Android version/re-design keeps inching towards what the iOS screen looks like: simple, easy to use, uncluttered, unambiguous, etc… Duh!Why not just admit that iOS has a better UI and copy it. Then provide features underneath it. There’s so much you can innovate on the surface over a 4 x 4 inch space. Simplicity rules.

  13. LE

    I’m wondering how many things you have mentioned are problems faced by a large group of end users vs. just a small subset of people. To me #1 to #3 fall into this category.

  14. pointsnfigures

    #3 especially. Take a photo, a week later try to find it fast to show someone. Shouldn’t that vid say “cupcake policy” instead of cookie policy.

  15. ShanaC

    I think the chromecast thing will be a game changer. Apple is very locked into itself, so casting other sorts of data becomes an issue

  16. Edward Robert

    I expect Apple will wait until all these devices hit the market, wait six months to a year, then release their own version, claiming to created the very market with their innovation and inventions. They will likely have a very vague patent for a portable electronic device that is powered by battery with a user interface, they can then sue the rest of the market into submission.

  17. Robert Heiblim

    I’m with you on notifications. They need some work to avoid the ongoing bloat.

  18. Robert Heiblim

    I still view all the wearables as experimental. We will need to see activity in the real world before firms can more clearly define what people will adopt. Fitness bands are in the impulse range and like all exercise equipment bought for good reasons or vain hopes. Half are abandoned in months, but not returned due to price. Watches are another matter so far. It will take some iteration much as Samsung has admitted.

    1. fredwilson


      1. Emil Sotirov

        My wife changed her phone today from an older Samsung to Nexus 5.Casting Spotify (or anything from the phone) to a TV system (through Chromecast) is simply amazing.We can’t stop listening to Le Prince Miiaou… her latest albums – “Where is the Queen?” and “Fill the Blank with Your Own Emptiness”…

  19. fredwilson

    pdf i think

  20. Elia Freedman

    Same on any other system: Keynote or PowerPoint or PDF or whatever.

  21. LE

    You: and would lug around a laptop regardless(Fred): I have been so jealous of entrepreneurs walking into USV with only an iPhoneMe: If I was making an important once in a lifetime presentation I would have at least 2 laptops and/or redundant presentation systems. I can’t even imagine showing up at an important meeting with just one method of selling, say just an iphone etc. Actually even if it weren’t once in a lifetime. Otherwise you are just being lazy.