Google is Bigger Than Android. Will There Be Enough Android Content?
Google I/O technical sessions are quite meaty and technical compared with many other conferences we've attended in the past. While the Android track is only one of about a dozen tracks, this year's conference was very Android-centric. The entire top floor of the 3-story Moscone Center was swathed in neon green carpet and devoted to Android booths. If we had to guestimate, we'd say that Android made up a third to a half of the conference "footprint" in terms of square footage, at the expense of other Google technologies. The Chrome team had the second largest area.
Click here for larger image
Figure 3. Android a Dominant Presence at Google I/O 2011
The conference is compressed into two days. Each day starts with a keynote, and then launches into hours of technical sessions aimed at somewhat seasoned developers (not counting the optional and extra "boot camp" that takes place the day before the main conference starts and is aimed at new developers).
From the first day, it became clear that Android developers made up a significant portion of the conference attendees. So much so, that the Android sessions filled long before they started and many were turned away. There's nothing like seeing someone throw a tantrum after buying a Google I/O ticket on eBay for $1600 only to be shut out of the sessions they traveled far to see.
The second day was much more reasonable -- there were more Android sessions happening simultaneously. This meant most sessions were almost full, but not overflowing, which was great. The downside was that even with two of us there, we missed some sessions we wanted to see because they all happened at the same time.
Click here for larger image
Figure 4. Some Room to Roam -- Finally -- at Google I/O 2011
There were enough Android developers there that it was easy to find someone to talk to about announcements. For example, the Google Music beta announcement impacts Android developers who make music apps. We got to talk to a number of developers to get their take on this and immediately heard some questions during sessions in response to this announcement.
Attending Google I/O is valuable to us, but it might not be valuable to everyone. Much of the important technical content is available freely online after the conference, allowing all interested to benefit from the event. If networking and access to the Google team is important to your project, then by all means, come to the conference; we look forward to seeing you there! But don't beat yourself up if you can't get a ticket or can't make the trip. Google's extended events can be extremely valuable for networking with local professionals and meeting Googlers without the long flights, expensive hotels, and two-day geek extravaganza that is Google I/O.