Past experience would suggest that if Google restricts access then people will clamour for it — remember GMail invites back in the day? It is therefore surprising that places for Google's Sydney Developer Day have not been snapped up.
Under 150 places remain for the one-day conference featuring Google's full arsenal of developer APIs — OpenSocial, Android, Maps, YouTube, Gears — which takes places in Sydney on June 18.
Builder AU spoke exclusively with Alan Noble, engineering director for Google Australia, to get a preview of what lies in store.
Q: Should punters not be expecting the slew of announcements that occurred at last year's keynote?
Noble:You never know what will appear at a keynote.
Actually we've invited one of our directors over from Mountain View to give the official keynote, David Glazer, the pioneer of OpenSocial.
I actually don't know what he is going to be announcing, so I may be as surprised as you.
Last year it was a rolling day-long global event, this year it is broken up — why is that?
We've done that for a good reason — logistically holding 10 events simultaneously around the world, even for a company like Google, it reached our resources.
By breaking it out into separate events, it means we can move people around the world.
For example, here in Australia, Maps is one of our major product development efforts [and] we're actually exporting engineers based in Sydney to events in other countries. Conversely, we are able to import speakers such as David Glazer from the US and elsewhere too.
We think it's going to be a richer event because of that, we can bring in more people and we can share between events.
Was that some of the feedback from last year — that it was too diluted?
It was our own realisation that we could make the event better by spreading it out.
As far as Sydney is concerned, the event is going to be as big if not bigger than before. We're really keen to see developers not just from Sydney but from all around Australia participating. The event is for developers — that's why we do it — obviously it's still a free event.
Is the format going to be much the same this year?
The format is going to have more hands-on sessions than last year. There will be tutorial type sessions in a variety of different areas. We have made a few changes based on the feedback.
It will be a good event to come, learn and get some hands on tips for how to program to our Maps API, how to program to the Google AppEngine.
If a developer cannot make it to the conference, what is the best way to get coding help from Google?
The best way would be to appeal to the various forums — obviously we've got FAQs and online documentation for all these products. All of these products/platforms have developer communities that are growing in strength, so often fellow developers are your best resource.
We do provide some support for some products as well. It depends if you are actually developing for some non-commercial application in which case you would need to appeal to the developer community and in the online resources. If you are doing commercial development, many of our products, not all of them, have enterprise editions with the normal technical support that you would expect.
Should the general populace be afraid of a reception with hundreds of geeks so close to the city?
I think it's a good thing isn't it? Hopefully we will see some good geek bonding going on.
Put it this way, it's certainly a lot better than a bunch of politicians coming. [laughs]
I think a lot of the value will be in the networking — the good old fashioned human networking, meeting other developers and sharing your ideas. I think that's always going to be a valuable part of the experience.
Side note: The Google Treasure Hunt kicked off this morning. With the first question involving numbers too big for a Monday morning. Good luck with it!
Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic adventure in 2006 as the Editor of Builder AU after originally joining the company as a programmer.Leaving CBS Interactive in 2010 to follow his deep desire to study the snowdrifts and culinary delights of Canada, Chris based himself in Vancouver and paid for his new snowboarding and poutine cravings as a programmer for a lifestyle gaming startup.Chris returns to CBS in 2011 as the Editor of TechRepublic Australia determined to meld together his programming and journalistic tendencies once and for all.In his free time, Chris is often seen yelling at different operating systems for their own unique failures, avoiding the dreaded tech support calls from relatives, and conducting extensive studies of internets — he claims he once read an entire one.