Showing their cards
The Google I/O conference is underway in San Francisco and has so far yielded a number of product enhancements but no blockbuster announcements. Very little has been said about Google Glass, which probably surprised Twitter who decided to launch their Glass app today. Fast Company did a good job of cataloging and classifying the list of changes that did come out of the first days of I/O.
Google Maps is getting a significant redesign and Google+ is getting a number of updates, not all of which are groundbreaking. Maps is getting a visual refresh and an increased ability to predict what the user wants to see. It is being rolled out slowly but a demo version has been made available.
Google+ now has a responsive design that adjusts the number of columns based on screen size and other factors. The Social Media Hat looked at the layout changes and Marketing Land focused on what may be the most significant addition -- a fairly sophisticated system for using hashtags. Hangouts are getting a promotion as a standalone, cross channel communication app.
The overall theme seems to be the use of the Google Knowledge Graph to provide context and to predict search queries. The mechanism that Google is increasingly using to deliver these results is “cards”. The blog Co.Design looked at how these virtual index cards are becoming Google's medium of choice to deliver targeted information on a cross channel basis.