Google conference underway; New software and Glass details expected

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Last year's I/O event was a showcase for Google Glass. This year the company will likely discuss new features for Glass and could reveal plans for its expanded sale to the general public.

SAN FRANCISCO (CNNMoney) — Google’s Android software is about to make the leap beyond smartphones and tablets.

Google’s annual I/O conference for software developers and designers begins on Wednesday. The company is widely expected to showcase its new smartwatch-ready “Android Wear” software.

Google revealed plans for Android Wear in March, but developers are anxious to get details on its planned features and specifications.

The rumor heading into the conference is that Samsung, whose Galaxy phones already run on Google’s software, is set to introduce its first Android Wear smartwatch at the event.

Other firms, including Motorola and LG, are also scheduled to release Android smartwatches this year.

Last year’s I/O event was a showcase for Google Glass, the company’s head-mounted computing device. But Glass should be in the spotlight again at this year’s conference.

There are several sessions focused on wearable devices. The company will likely discuss new features for Glass and could reveal plans for its expanded sale to the general public.

Google recently announced a series of “developer partners” for Glass, including companies working on medical, business and media applications. It’s currently seeking other partners as well.

Aside from wearables, Google may announce an expansion of its TV efforts beyond the basic $35 Chromecast streaming device.

It’s also pushing hard to break into the “connected home” business, having acquired smart appliance maker Nest Labs earlier this year and home security firm Dropcam last week. So expect some updates on that front as well.

The I/O conference has also tended to be a lot quirkier than events hosted by Apple, Microsoft and other rivals.

In addition to the product-focused events, this year’s gathering includes sessions ranging from the offbeat (a briefing on Google’s Santa-tracking technology) to the futuristic (a lecture from Ray Kurzweil, the sci-fi author and inventor who heads Google’s machine intelligence efforts). Stay tuned.



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