by Matt Kapko

Enterprise tech a no-show at Google I/O

News Analysis
May 29, 20153 mins

Google for Work and the company's other enterprise tools received nary a mention at its annual I/O developer conference this week. Google also notably omitted its cloud computing, TV, social media initiatives and focused on Android, VR and other consumer projects. Should IT pros worry?

A parade of top Google executives cycled on and off the stage for more than two hours yesterday at the company’s annual I/O developer conference in San Francisco, but because Google is involved in so many projects and markets, the company barely scratched the surface of what it is up to. For example, driverless cars, easily Google’s most popular moonshot project, weren’t even mentioned until the closing minutes of I/O keynote address. Cloud computing and Google+ weren’t mentioned at all. Neither were Google’s plans for the enterprise.

You can glean insights from the products and services Google chooses to feature at its largest event, but what about the projects that didn’t make the cut? Does no mention at Google I/O suggest the company has demoted those projects internally or moved them to a lower priority? 

[Related News Analysis: Google+ noticeably absent at Google I/O]

It’s tempting to draw conclusions, but the reality is that Google is simply too busy to mention everything it is working on in a two-hour keynote. Google I/O is a developer conference after all, and while some coders could use Google for Work and other enterprise tools, the majority of them don’t pay up to $900 (the price of a ticket) and wait in line for hours to get in to hear executives talk about the enterprise. Google tries to cater to the full gamut of audiences it pulls in, including the two million people who watched the keynote online via live stream, and still inspire and motivate its developer community to build apps for its platforms.

Developers come first at Google I/O 

Google is aware of all the eyes on I/O, but it’s imperative that developers learn what’s new with the company, how it is trying to make their jobs easier and what they should be working on to collectively add value to the platform, according to Jan Dawson, chief analyst and founder of tech research firm Jackdaw, who attended the event.

[Related Analysis: Google for Work vs. Microsoft Office 365: A comparison of cloud tools]

Dawson says Google’s decision to omit enterprise was a wise one, because it dedicated too much stage time to business at last year’s keynote. “We didn’t get that this year and I think that may be a concession to the fact that for many developers who are building the next great Android game it’s utterly irrelevant, and if you need to talk to that audience you’ve got other sessions where you can do that,” he says. 

At this year’s Google I/O, the company focused on the big picture, Android and other consumer-facing products, says Dawson. Parts of the I/O keynote did surprise him, though. “They didn’t even really get into the cloud computing stuff, they didn’t get into anything enterprise related, anything about Google Apps, so there’s lot of stuff they didn’t cover,” Dawson says. “They dropped some of the less sexy stuff.”

[Related Feature: IT Execs share experiences with Google for Work]

A Google spokesperson declined to comment on why enterprise, Google for Work and other business products were left out of this year’s I/O festivities. However, the same spokesperson says Google will have enterprise-related news to announced at some point in June.