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In June I had the good fortune of being one of approximately 6,000 attendees at Google I/O 2014. I/O is the company’s annual conference for developers who build products based on Google platforms. Over the course of two days at the Moscone Center in San Francisco, CA, Google unveiled several new products along with updates to existing ones. As a Mobile Product Manager in the Tech Lab at Sheridan headquarters, I am especially interested in any announcements made at large industry events such as this one. It’s part of my role to determine how consumer-based developments could translate into the world of commercial digital content.

This year’s conference did not disappoint; several high profile developments were announced which will soon find retail product homes in items such as connected TVs, watches, and cars. However, the two biggest announcements that I found directly relevant to my day job were for Android L and Material Design.

Android L is the latest upgrade to the popular smartphone and tablet operating system. This new release will encompass over 5,000 new developer application programming interfaces (commonly known as APIs) to standardize actions between software components. For mobile apps, APIs help make software more user friendly—as common actions behave similarly across different apps, they become more recognizable. Two of these APIs that I am particularly excited about are 1) the ability to have concurrent documents and activities for each app in the recent screen, and 2) lockscreen notifications. While our development team will need to investigate these further, both sound like great additions to Sheridan’s Android Mobile Apps.

Material Design is the other big I/O announcement that could directly affect our industry. In a nutshell, Material Design is the new set of design guidelines to which all Android apps must conform. For those of us with a print background, it is compelling to note that Material Design follows many of the traditional print layout principals, such as not breaking columns and setting uniform spacing rules. These common rules of thumb should make it easy for publishers with mobile apps to migrate to Material Design. However, that migration would greatly curtail the popular use of PDFs in order to meet the new standards. Content layout would need to be designed specifically for the context in which it would be used. It definitely will be interesting to see how this and other upcoming changes manifest themselves in publishing apps. For more details on Material Design see Google’s Design Spec.

Overall, it was a wonderful opportunity to attend Google I/O. I look forward to working with our development team to incorporate the applicable changes into our digital products over the next few months. Stay tuned to see what’s next at Sheridan!