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Chrome Dev Summit 2015, a flashback to the good days of Google I/O

December 2015

Three weeks ago I attended Chrome Dev Summit 2015 down at Google offices in Mountain View, and what an experience! It’s the third year Google is running Chrome Dev Summit, and this year you could feel that the event is a new priority for Google.

Chrome Dev Summit is rather small with roughly 300 participants, mainly from browser vendors, web standards folks, influencers and of course Googlers. This mix of people creates a unique atmosphere, much similar to EdgeConf, as everyone attending, are deeply involved with the web., which made the networking, discussions, and hallway track at this year's event simply fantastic.

Google's vision for the Web

The first day was kicked off with a keynote by Darin Fisher, VP of Chrome, where he talked about the “State of Chrome”. Darin provided a bunch of key milestones, numbers, and achievements by Chrome, which was great to see shared by a browser vendor. It's clear that Chrome continues to gather momentum, with more than 800 million users on mobile, in addition to its massive desktop base.

The web is a priority and a 1st class platform to build apps for Google

The main takeaway from this year's Chrome Dev Summit was that Google sees the web platform as a "1st class platform" in the app ecosystem. For some this might not be news, but in an Android dominated world, I think this is an incredibly powerful statement. It shows Google is committed to build the web, as an open platform, where competition and standards play an important role.

It gives me hope that we'll continue to see Google investing into Chrome and the web platform as alternative app platform to it's proprietary Android platform. Our current mobile platforms need an open alternative, and the web can be that.

The emphasis of the web being ready as a fully fledged application was implied in in most of the event's sessions. Each session showed how new primitives like Service Worker, Push Notifications and Physical Web, can be put together in into an incredibly compelling app model named Progressive Web App. Alex Russel coined Progressive Web Apps a few months ago, and is compelling because PWA's work across browser, devices, platforms and most importantly, vendors.

Google wants developers to build for the web, regardless of the targeted browser, platform and device, and that's huge!

A flashback to the good days of Google I/O

This year's Chrome Dev Summit reminded me of the good days at Google I/O, where I attended to get an overview of how Chrome is doing and how Google sees the future of the web. I've been missing this., as Google I/O in the recently years has changed its focus to be the premier Android and Google Cloud event.

The change of Google I/O is a natural consequence of Android growing and Google focusing on a broader variety of products, but this broader focus has also meant that going to Google I/O as a front-end/web developer, isn't very attractive anymore. Google I/O has simply lost it's value, as the number of sessions related to the web have declined to almost zero.

A web-focused event from Google has been much needed, as they continue to be driving many important initiatives on the web, and with Chrome Dev Summit they have filled that gap.

Wish all browser vendors did the same

Chrome Dev Summit was great, but the web is more than once vendor and is built by multiple browsers, implementations and opinions coming together. It's important for us making to the web, to have each vendor sharing its vision for the web, but so far we mostly heard about Google's.

Going forward I hope this will change, and we'll see all the major browser vendors doing events similar to Chrome Dev Summit. Microsoft has already stepped up by doing it's first Edge Dev Summit, so let's see what the future brings.

Maybe someday we can have all browsers vendors present at the same event?

That would be wonderful.

And Google, why didn't you just call it "Chrome Summit"? Much easier to say, remember and a shorter hashtag :)