The Google I/O 2008 in San Francisco outlined the company’s plan to improve the Internet through better offerings for Web developers and a keen eye on evolving mobile platform technologies.   Google's largest developers event focu

sed on several of objectives from the search engine giant, but a few stood out as top priorities.   Looking to the future of Internet technology, the company discussed its Google Android platform for mobile phones. As smart phones like RIM’s Blackberry and Apple’s iPhone become more common, their Internet capabilities need to be improved, and Android is the way in which Google aims to do it.   It is an open-source mobile platform that, through a very impressive demonstration with the iPhone, can make a cell phone extremely personalized and, in the process, precisely functional for each person.   The goal of Google Android is to raise the bar of mobile functionality. It comes with a web kit browser and maps view platform upon which developers can build their own versions of a browser or map application.   It gives developers the foundation to create mobile browsers and maps that they see will benefit the consumer, taking most of the complications out of the development process for the developers, as they have an already-proven functional base from which to create.   One of the examples in the demonstration was a custom phone lock on the iPhone. Google Android enabled developers to create a digital grid on the iPhone. In order to unlock the phone, a precise design needs to be traced across the grid—in the presentation it was a “G.”   Google Android makes customization of the smart phone much easier for developers. The phone lock demonstrates the ever-changing touch screen technology that is making smart phones like the iPhone easier to handle.   Short cuts on the smart phone will enable users to customize the look and functionality of the phones’ desktops. Favorite contacts, calendar reminders, and Web page bookmarks can all be added as short cuts to make the most-used features of the phone easy to access.   User-friendly was the running theme for mobile technology as well as cloud computing.   Google’s App Engine enables developers to run their applications within the Google cloud. Again, Google provides a foundation developers can use as they see fit.   Application development is constantly changing, even day to day, as evidenced in social networking sites like Myspace and Facebook. The App Engine recently played a large part in information sharing in the China earthquake disaster.   It was initially difficult for rescue data to be sent from the scene, but through application development using App Engine, the problem was fixed. Rescue workers can now upload information easily, enabling family members to look up that information just as well.   Although user-friendly seemed to be a running theme, it was definitely absent in the beginning of the conference.   The seemingly easy check in/registration process took much longer than expected, pushing back the starting time by an hour or so. Hundreds of people stagnant in line showed a lack of efficiency and planning on Google’s part, but the problem was worked out. Also, good food is a good apology.   By Danny Scuderi   FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at