I spent my afternoon doing what I'm paid to do, that is, writing code to build applications to help my fellow employees be more efficient in maintaining important telecommunication networks. That's a pretty geeky job and it is something that I am proud of. I feel like I am doing good in the world in my way through my career and it feels good.
While I was writing code today, I had the Google IO keynote speech up on my second monitor and playing softly in my ears. This approach is probably not the most efficient way to write code because quite frankly I was distracted by all the new geeky things (and nifty enhancements) that Google was announcing during this three-hour presentation. I thought the presentation was well done and I thought that overall what Google showed us today was quite exciting.
It's been a long while since I've been excited by technology. In search of something new and exciting, last year I tried to make the switch to Linux full-time through the purchase of a Lenovo ThinkPad. Having lived in the Apple world for so long, the Lenovo had big shoes to fill when it came to my hardware expectations. It turns out that the hardware was solid enough, but I didn't find it exciting after all. Interesting? Yeah, kind of. But I couldn't embrace that laptop like I feel like I can embrace my older MacBook Pro. Along the same lines, however, I'm not excited by Apple's current line of MacBooks and the like these days. With each software update, the MBP is being forced into obsolescence. While I can certainly work up a lust for a new 13-inch MBP Retina, honestly I think the lust would be short lived. I'm feeling the need for the next step in the evolution of technology.
I think some of the products that Google demonstrated today, namely the improvements in search via voice and Google Now, the enhancements to Google Maps and the closer integration of all of their products, while still remaining friendly to differing OS platforms, are herding me in the direction of looking outside the walled garden of Apple again. This might make my husband nervous. But I'm not ready to leap until I know where I'm going to land this time. Should I consider a Pixel? Should I just go with a Nexus tablet? Should I continue to add more Google services to my existing Apple hardware?
After watching the Google keynote today I couldn't help but think that Apple better be announcing some mighty impressive stuff next month at WWDC. I'm not just talking about a prettier skin over iOS 6 or a slightly bigger iPhone 5, I'm thinking more integrated yet cooperative enhancements to the entire technology experience. Granted it would be nice to have a version of Siri that doesn't try to play Bananarama when I ask for a song by Heart or a version of Maps that doesn't try to send me across the active runway of Houston Airport as a valid route to Interstate 45. No, I'm looking for something along the lines of Google Now, something like "here's a steakhouse you might like" popping up automatically on an iWatch when it's 6:00 p.m. and I'm in the right neighborhood. Or a heads-up display on the lower portion of my windshield, run by my newest iDevice, showing me the proper way to Interstate 45. In reality I should probably be happy for the ability to use FaceTime to call some of my friends using Windows 8 or an Android phone, that would at least be a step in the right direction.
Cooperative integration that is more predictive and a heck of a lot more intelligent: that's what I find exciting. Google is making inroads to making this happen. Can Apple do it as well? Can I have an iDevice that can talk to an Android phone? How about Google Glass being able to fully use my iPhone as a homing station. Or what about Find My Friends being able to find all my friends or Siri using my Google+ data to show me where the closest barbershop is. Will Siri understand a statement such as, "Great suggestion, Siri, how do I get there?"
There's no doubt that next month Apple is going to announce a few nifty things, let's face it, they're overdue for that sort of thing. But I have to tell you, if these next evolutionary steps in the iWorld continue to be part of a walled garden, I'm not sure that I will be able to have the same feelings of geeky excitement that I had today when watching the Google IO keynote. Could these tech folks that have migrated over to Google products and powered hardware after years of Apple devotion be onto something after all?
I guess only time will tell.