Category Archives: Google I/O

Google unveils cloud-based testing lab to combat Android fragmentation

The scale of Android fragmentation as visualised by OpenSignal

The scale of Android fragmentation in 2014 as visualised by OpenSignal

Google unveiled a cloud-based testing service for Android apps it hopes will help combat fragmentation in the growing Android ecosystem.

The service, unveiled at Google’s annual I/O conference this week and based on Appurify’s technology – an acquisition it announced at the conference last year, allows developers to run their applications on simulated versions of thousands of different Android devices.

The company said much like other app testing services the Cloud Test Lab can record what happens just before an app crashes, and provides a crash log to help users debug their apps after having tested them on tons of different devices with a wide range of specs and capabilities.

“From nearly every brand, model and version of physical devices your users might be using, to an unlimited supply of virtual devices in every language, orientation and network condition around the world. You can get rid of that device closet—ours is bigger,” the company said.

“Out of the box, without any user-written tests, robot app crawlers know just what to look out for and will find crashes in your app for you. Augment this with user-written instrumentation tests to make sure that your most important user flows work perfectly.”

There has always been fragmentation in the Android world, and while it’s considered by some users to be one of the benefits of playing in Google’s ecosystem it’s also a major headache for app developers because building crash-proof apps for a range of devices can be quite time-consuming; not getting that right can as a result cause users grief (just check out a few reviews on the Google Play store).

With a wide range of low-cost Android devices flowing in from China, coupled with other large incumbents like Samsung, LG and Sony contributing to the heterogeneity themselves, fragmentation only seems to be increasing (OpenSignal has put together an impressive report detailing the scale of Android fragmentation – and how it compares with the iOS ecosystem). These testing services will also be critical for Google developers as the company looks to target the Internet of Things with a new OS and doubles down on Chromebooks, which are both based on Android.

OK, Google, What Do I Need To Know About I/O Cloud Announcements?

With all the focus on Google Glass, new Maps features and Star Trek-ish conversations coming to Google Search everywhere (“OK Google…”) let’s not forget Google’s cloud computing moves:

Google Compute Engine – now available for everyone

New Compute Engine features:

  • Sub-hour billing charges for instances in one-minute increments with a ten-minute minimum, so you don’t pay for compute minutes that you don’t use
  • Shared-core instances provide smaller instance shapes for low-intensity workloads
  • Advanced Routing features help you create gateways and VPN servers, and enable you to build applications that span your local network and Google’s cloud
  • Large persistent disks support up to 10 terabytes per volume, which translates to 10X the industry standard

ISO 27001:2005 international security certification for Compute Engine, Google App Engine, and Google Cloud Storage.

Google App Engine adds PHP runtime

Google Cloud Datastore (AKA NoSQL)

Google Cloud Datastore is a fully managed and schemaless solution for storing non-relational data. Based on the popular App Engine High Replication Datastore, Cloud Datastore is a standalone service that features automatic scalability and high availability while still providing powerful capabilities such as ACID transactions, SQL-like queries, indexes and more.

You can catch today’s live streams for two Google Cloud talks, or watch recordings of yesterdays, here.

This time next  year we’ll probably just open up the Google home page, tap the mike, and ask, “OK, Google, what do I need to know about Google Cloud?”