Technology giant Google recently stopped by Newark via Google Developer Group (GDG) North Jersey. The founder of the chapter, Todd Nakamura, held a conference near the end of the summer at NJIT’s Weston Hall, where the group could speak to interested developers, help them network, and also exhibit select tech in development
A GDG is a group of interested individuals who gather to discuss and create using Google’s various technologies. There are several chapters across all 50 states, and they often hold events where attendees are treated to talks about Google and can learn about the company’s products or various other subjects. They are popular with the company’s many fans, who create communities and projects around these groups.
The event started at 6:30 with networking and food; pizza, provided courtesy of NJIT. The huge Weston hall ballroom was packed with people speaking amongst one another. Attendees could meet and greet local developers and find out about Google’s new wearable technology; glass and android wear.
Eventually, the event split into two main breakout sessions: one for business oriented professionals, and the other for tech enthusiasts.
The tech development track was the presentation that I was most intrigued by, so I stayed with this group while the business crowd shuffled into another room. Unfortunately, due to the unforeseen closure of the PATH train services that day, the Google Glass presenter could not reach our campus. This meant that the presentation’s content was effectively cut in half.
Jugal Shah, the second presenter, did however keep us entertained by demonstrating streamlined app development across Android devices. Using his Android phone and computer, he showcased a simple app that utilized voice input to do certain tasks.
The capabilities of the Android wear devices were also touched upon. These devices are essentially smart watches; they act as an extension of an Android phone by allowing interaction with select features (such as reading messages and switching playlists) without having to take it out of your pocket. Google is planning to release more of these devices, and at the time of the conference, there were three major devices of that kind available to the public.
While I was admittedly slightly disappointed by the loss of the Google Glass presentation, I found the rest of the conference enjoyable. Todd spoke about future software tech trends, such as the drastic evolution of Java and gave tips on how to immerse yourself in technology. Aside from that he gave away free Google hosted domains that are valid for a year, as well as other Google memorabilia. I am proud to say that I am the lucky owner of a Frisbee with Google Chrome’s spinning logo on it.
The end of the event was marked by a raffle where Google gave away their branded merchandise. Our very own Lou Stella won some Google cup holders, while others won t-shirts and an umbrella. One lucky attendee won the grand prize of pocket speakers. With business concluded, Todd bid us all a fond farewell as we left just shy of 9 o’clock.
The event was made possible by the Enterprise Development Center’s Stephanie Macias, who worked to bring the group to campus. The students who went to the event got to network well and learn about Google’s future efforts; with that in mind, the event was a resounding success.
Events such as these are helpful and are worth a look when they can make their way to campus. Be sure to take a look at the NJIT events calendar located on the main website to see if a GDG is coming back.