Google announced a wide variety of new products and features during the Google I/O 2015 Keynote yesterday. At first glance, most of them are consumer focused. Google Photos, Brillo for smart home automation, virtual reality headsets, etc. However, several of the announcements or themes have an impact on the enterprise world.
Google emphasized many times during the keynote how little of the world is currently covered with fast broadband. They are now deploying special low-bandwidth versions of their most important sites like google.com, Maps and YouTube to help the rest of the world access them reliably. Those emerging markets are almost entirely “mobile first”, or really “mobile only”. Most new customers in India and China will *never* own a desktop computer. They rely exclusively on mobile computing devices.
When building enterprise applications that could possibly be accessed outside of the US or a few other select countries, we should follow Google’s lead. Don’t overlook the need for low-bandwidth, offline-capable, mobile-ready configurations.
Natural Language Processing
Google’s demonstration of natural language search in Google Now and Google Now On Tap was fascinating. It was a master class in computer science’s holy grail – speaking naturally to a computer and getting contextually accurate answers and actions. Google showed an example where a spouse sent a message “oh, by the way, I didn’t have time to pick up the dry cleaning. Can you grab it on your way home?” Google Now On Tap automatically suggested a Reminder card to “pick up the dry cleaning.” As the presenter said, figuring out what to do in this situation is impressive enough for the husband, not to mention for the computer!
If Google can bring this level of natural language processing and contextual data extraction to their enterprise search tools, it will be game changing. At Perficient, we have numerous companies asking for features like being able to talk to the search engine in full sentences instead of typing (from in-store associates assisting customers to field engineers romping through mud – typing is not always convenient). And clients are now demanding answers, not just documents, in the search results. They want the search engine to look through millions of documents and provide simple answers, not just a list of 10 documents that *might* contain the desired information. Google Now is the future.
Finally, Android continues to mature, and will compete equally with iOS for mobile app development. Any mobile development in the enterprise must address both platforms to be completely successful. Application permissions keeps getting better, so data is safer if you share the same device between work and home. That wasn’t specifically announced yesterday but it has been rolling out over the last 6 months. That new feature becomes more important as your phone becomes your wallet, your camera, your virtual assistant, your entertainment device – it’s the single most important item in your daily carry.
Our customers will want to access their work information on their phones and tables just as easily, and safely. Google and Android will provide that seamless experience, with safe firewalls between personal and work data.
Chad is a Principal of Search and Knowledge Discovery at Perficient. He was previously the Director of Perficient’s national Google for Work practice.