Google Made a Huge Number of Awesome Announcements at its I/O Keynote

Google is once again making waves in the technology world. Here are some quick thoughts about the most important and/or interesting things they announced during their keynote at Google I/O.

Google Maps + Google Earth + Street ViewThe visual design revamp is remarkable, and the location+identity-based search relevance is incredible. It's difficult to conceive of any competitor (e.g. Apple) ever catching up to Google in this arena.

Google Now reminder cards, transit info, music recommendations: Google Now was already very useful before, and now is even more useful with these new cards. Hopefully we will see these cards added to the iOS Google Search app.

Google+ Hangouts app: This is something that has been sorely needed to bring sanity to Google's messaging/communications services.

Android Studio: I'm a huge fan of the IntelliJ IDE, and it looks like Google has worked closely with the folks at JetBrains to make it even easier for developers to create apps for Android.

Google Play game services: This is similar in concept to Apple's Game Center, but offers cross-platform compatibility. This helps game developers to keep players engaged across the platform markets.

Google Chrome Voice Search: This is technically interesting, and socially somewhat creepy. Also, imagine having fun pranking your co-workers by making their browser search for something inappropriate.

Unlocked Samsung Galaxy S4 with stock Android: This one was a shocker. I've written before about Google and Samsung's relationship issues, and this was an unexpected yet welcome surprise. This is arguably the best Android phone on the market, and quite possibly is the best smartphone on the market.

Folks, that was just the first day of the Google I/O conference announcements, with more to come. By the way, if you don't feel like sitting through all 3.5 hours of the keynote video, the folks at The Verge edited the keynote down to the best 3.5 minutes.