Yesterday I attended the Google developer day in London. The event itself was cool, the event was held at The Brewery which was a very nice venue with open wifi for everyone, this took a hammering but at least they offered it – unlike Microsoft UK. When I arrived I was handed a Google swag bag, including T-Shirt, Goo (putty), sweets, bottle of water, promo stuff, mouse mat, and 256mb USB stick which was cool. There was a ‘Bloggers Lounge’ which had loads of food, few PCs to use, cushions on the floor, tea, coffee, smoothies, everyone sitting around on there laptops and chatting. Very cool atmosphere.
The keynote was very high level, gave a overview of what Google is doing for the developer and what they are doing in terms of mapping functionality. I then had the API workshop, which was to create a map mashup with Google guys on hand to help – was good but wish I had gone to talks instead. But the two talks I did go too, one of Google Gears and the other on mobile development where really really high level and didn’t provide me with enough depths. The sessions where short, 45 mins, but they opened the floor up to 15 minutes of questions which meant there wasn’t much in the way of content. Would have been much better if anyone who wanted to ask questions grabbed the guys afterwards/in the bar as they where around.
I do think Google missed an opportunity to demonstrate a lot of what they are currently offering and show how easy it is to integrate/use. For example, the Google Gears presentation could have done ‘Intro (5 minutes). Here is my Ajax app wrote using Google Web Toolkit, quick tour of it/code (15 minutes). Now lets put it on Gears – show how easy it is (15 minutes), job done. Demo it all working (5 minutes)’. Unless it’s not that easy…
There was also an hour keynote streamed from the main Dev Day in the US, however we had all heard about this during the day and offered nothing new. The code samples which where shown couldn’t be made out which was a shame.
Afterwards, Google had hired out a bar across the road with a free tab and food. I had a few beers with Chris DiBona who is the open source program manager at Google which was cool and managed to get in a few feature requests. Again, great atmosphere and decision by Google and was a good end to the day.
It was Google’s first attempt at a large developer day. The day/evening itself was great, and I hope they do one next year. Just a shame the sessions didn’t match. Could have just been the ones I went too. Will be interesting to see what HackDay will be like.