The Magic Of Google’s APIs and Algorithms, The Bread And Butter Of The Google I/O Keynote

It’s clear that Google had other things it could have talked about on the first day of the I/O conference. Like Google Glass.

Instead, the attendees heard more about how Google has developed new ways to turn data into services. The highlights were not some fancy hardware but the magic of Google’s APIs and algorithms, the bread and butter of what Google does.

I spent part of the afternoon talking with Rackspace’s Robert Scoble and long-time media pro Jake Ludington about the event, which had little of the raw excitement of years past when executives talked breathlessly about Google+ or parachuted on to the top of Moscone to show off Google Glass.

I first met Scoble and Ludington in 2004. Scoble worked at Microsoft and Ludington was a big part of Gnomedex, one of the geekiest conferences of the day. Blogs were arguably the most advanced social networks, mobile phones were still like bricks.

My conversation with Scoble focused on the semantics, the context of the algorithms and the more nitty-gritty aspects of a keynote really meant for developers.

Robert Scoble at Google I/O

Ludington looked for the points in the keynote when the audience seemed most engaged.

Jake Ludington at Google I/O

Both Scoble and Ludington are geeks in their own way. It is the way that data can be one thing and then another that draws them to Google I/O. It’s not too much different today. In 2004 it was about using RSS feeds to read blogs. Today, Google Glass is like a reader, pulling in data to a lens that transmits it for the human mind to read. Again, it’s a new way to turn data into services.

Scoble and Ludington show that the spectacle of something like a skydiver may be fun, but it’s the wonder of innovation that keeps us coming back.