#io2013 – Google gets its game on – 900m Android activations and 48bn app installs

15 May 2013

Google senior vice-president for Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai

At its sixth annual I/O shindig, Google revealed that there are now 900m Android activations, up from 400m a year ago. The internet giant, in a very games-oriented keynote, revealed new cross-platform APIs and confirmed 48bn app installs, not to mention revealing that its Chrome browser now has 750m active monthly users.

Google senior vice-president for Android and Chrome Sundar Pichai told the 4,000 developers present, as well as the 1m people viewing the I/O keynote on YouTube, that we are in the middle of one of the most pivotal and innovative phases in computer industry history.

“Most of you have lived through the PC revolution and most people used Windows since the 1980s and the change from desktops to laptops took place over a long period of time.”

He said that in the seven years since Android debuted there has been an explosion in devices, like phones and tablet computers. “The world has changed dramatically and people are using different types of devices, not just computers but watches with displays, thermostats with displays and Google Glass – it is a multi-screen world where we have sensors to listen, feel and hear and the amount of computing power is incredible and usable.”

To give a sense of the speed at which Android has been growing, Pichai said that two years ago Google announced there were 10m Android activations around the world and a year ago Google celebrated 400m activations.

“The momentum has been breathtaking since then and we are now at 900m Android activations, an extraordinary achievement. There are 7bn people on the planet so we have a long way to go and we’re only getting started.”

The gamification of Google


Google’s vice-president of Android product management Hugo Barra confirmed that Google Play has crossed the 48bn app install milestone, with 2.5bn installs in the last month alone.

“Better than that, in the last four months we paid out more to Google Play developers than all of last year. Revenue per user is 2.5 times what it was a year ago, globally,” Barra said.

Barra introduced three new location APIs: Fused Location Provider, which makes it faster to acquire a location using less power (less than 1pc of battery per hour); Geofencing, which allows users to create virtual fences around geographic areas, with the ability to create up to 100 geofences within an app; and Activity Recognition, which uses accelerometer data and machine classifiers to figure out if a user is walking, cycling or driving.

“We believe this is going to lead to a whole new category of awesome apps,” Barra said.

In addition, Barra revealed cross-platform single-sign on via Google+, as well as new features for Google Cloud Messaging, which is used within 60pc of apps on Google Play.

“Google Cloud Messaging (GCM) delivers 17bn messages a day and the average server-to-server latency is 60 milliseconds.”

He revealed that the updated GCM will provide persistent connections between servers and Google.

Another big reveal by Barra was Google Play Game Services with a number of new APIs, including Cloud Save, which enables users to save data, like progression and game state, across devices. “If you finish level 1 on your phone you can carry on to the next level on your tablet.”

He also showed a nifty new API that allows achievements and leaderboards to be shared amongst users via Google+ Circles.

“Cloud Save will not only be launching on Android but also on iOS and the web, enabling truly cross-platform gaming experiences.”

Yep, Google has definitely got its game on.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years