At Google I/O, developer services hogged the spotlight

Further opening the company's services to developers was a focus at the show

By Zach Miners, IDG News Service |  Internet

Other technically oriented announcements at the show included new features to speed up the performance of Google's Chrome browser on mobile and a new Android gaming API for developers to build in more features such as cloud-synced game progression and Google+ integration. New tools for the Google Play Developer Console, such as referral tracking for monitoring ad effectiveness, were also announced.

There were several consumer-friendly product announcements at I/O. Google Maps on the Web and mobile received numerous enhancements, such as 3D rotating views. Google+ now automatically "enhances" people's photos by softening skin blemishes and reducing wrinkles. Chrome on the desktop will soon start letting people search by voice.

Google also unveiled its rumored music subscription service during I/O, but whether it will add much value over what is already offered by Pandora and Spotify is still an open question. Some say it might be too little, too late, especially without a free, ad-funded option.

But despite I/O's focus on developers, Google couldn't let go completely of Glass. Staffed by Glass-wearing Google employees, that product's booth attracted legions of fans, power users and the just plain curious during the conference.

The government has been getting curious about Glass, too. On Thursday, a U.S. congressional group wrote to Google CEO Larry Page requesting information on how the device handles privacy issues. As the letter was sent, wearers at I/O said they could generally be trusted with it.

As authorities demanded answers, the Google confab chugged along, with a room full of developers taking in the latest on coding for Glass.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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