Google sets sights beyond smartphones at annual developer conference

Wednesday 25 June 2014 15.16
Two-day Google I/O conference starts tomorrow in San Francisco
Two-day Google I/O conference starts tomorrow in San Francisco

Google, whose Android software reigns as the world's dominant smartphone operating system, will step up efforts to make inroads into cars, televisions and other devices at its annual developer conference this week. 

This is according to sources familiar with the company. 

The Internet company is racing against rivals such as Apple, Samsung and other companies to extend its business into a broadening field of Internet-connected devices. 

Google would not say whether chief executive Larry Page will speak at the two-day Google I/O conference, which begins tomorrow morning and is expected to draw more than 6,000 developers from around the world. 

Google's free Android software is used in more than three out of every four smartphones sold globally, providing Google with a valuable entry point for consumers to access its money-making online services such as Web search and maps.

In March, Google announced plans to create a special version of Android designed for smartwatches. 

Google is expected to provide an update on its plans to integrate Android into cars, making it easier for drivers and passengers to access navigation and entertainment features available on their smartphones, according to a person familiar with the matter. 

The company could also unveil a new service that tracks a user's health and personal fitness information, similar to recently introduced services from Apple and Samsung, said another person familiar with the matter. 

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment on any of the conference's potential announcements. 

Among the events aimed at developers during the conference at San Francisco's Moscone Centre are sessions titled "Wearable computing with Google" and "Build for the multi-device Web," according to the official Google I/O website.

There will also be sessions focused on Nest Labs, the maker of smart thermostats and other home appliances which Google acquired for $3.2 billion in January. On Monday, Nest said it would for the first time allow other companies to create apps that communicate with its devices. 

Google may also showcase a version of Android designed for televisions. A TV version of Android would come four years after Google's first effort to enter the living room, Google TV, failed to catch on with consumers.