While Google's executive chairman Eric Schmidt talked about robots everywhere, the company's boss for Android and Chrome, Sundar Pichai, has disclosed that there's more to Google than just Glass when it comes to wearable technology.
Speaking at the South by Southwest Interactive (SXSW) conference on Sunday in Austin, Pichai disclosed Google's plan to roll out a software-development kit (SDK) in two weeks time so Android can crawl into smartwatches, fitness gadgets, and other wearables.
"In about two weeks, you will see us launch the first SDK for what we think of as Android for wearables," said Pichai. "When we think of wearables, we think of it as a platform. We see a world of sensors... Sensors can be small and powerful, and gather a lot of information that can be useful for users. We want to build the right APIs for this world of sensors."
Pichai discussed how Google wants to develop a common ground for all of these sensors so protocols can be established and products can communicate and work together.
Just as what Android did for smartphones and tablets, it can create sort of a "big bang" for wearable technology that can pave the way for millions of wearable device applications and possibly other kinds of wearable gadgets.
The company is launching the SDK well ahead of the plans to roll out other wearable devices so it can get enough feedback and also help developers visualize what the search engine company plans to do in the wearable technology niche.
"I think we're just scratching the surface. Android is one of the most open systems I've ever seen. What makes Android great is it's literally designed from the ground up to be customised in a very powerful way," Pichai said. "We do have business relationships, we do do licensing relationships and people want to use Google services on top of Android. But in theory you can use Android without Google. If you do a licensing arrangement, we do require our services to be installed, but it's not exclusive - you can preload any other services you want."
Having a good platform to start on and tapping the help of the whole developer community, manufacturers will lighten their load and can focus on developing more hardware as the baby industry of wearables crawls and evolves.
Pichai told the audience at SXSW that Google has sold millions of units of the plug-in device Chromecast in the United States. The $35-gadget that can stream music and video to any compatible HDTV will also be rolled out this year across global markets.
He also touched on Project Ara, comparing the modular smartphone into application programming interfaces (API) for hardware that will enable consumers to build their handset according to their needs.
Asked about Nest Labs, Pichai did not directly say that consumers will be required to have a Google+ account to make the most of Nest products but clarified that the company is looking at ways to have connectivity into the Google ecosystem.
The Google executive did not disclose more details about the SDK for wearable devices and most likely it will be rolled out without too much fanfare.
Having a tool to develop apps for wearable devices will certainly boost the industry but it will not be a walk in the park for Google, especially with Apple around and other manufacturers using Android on other devices that now look to have a certain distance from the platform to develop their own identity as a brand.