Today: Google is expected to focus on smartwatches and the smart home in its annual I/O developers conference keynote address Wednesday morning. Also: Facebook stock jumps after survey indicates teens are using the service more.
The Lead: Wearables, Nest expected to lead Google address
Google will kick off its annual I/O developers conference Wednesday morning in San Francisco with a keynote address that is expected to focus on the next wave of technological innovation, specifically wearables and the connected home.
Google has laid the groundwork for those two paths leading up to I/O, announcing its Android Wear operating system for smartwatches and other wearable gadgets in March and launching a developer program for smart home acquisition Nest on Monday. With all the disparate "moon shots" Google has invested in recently, including its $3.2 billion purchase of Nest, the keynote address is expected to attempt to identify the themes that bring them all together and explain where software developers fit in.
"Under it all, I expect the message to developers will be this is all linked, and there is an end-to-end vision of how apps and software come together with the phone, the cloud, and the physical world around us," Forrester principal analyst Jeffrey Hammond predicted. "It's our ecosystem you want to bet on, because it's larger, extends further, and it's more open."
Google may have tipped its hand in a YouTube video explaining the Nest Developer Program, in which a Jawbone wearable device is connected to the Nest Thermostat, allowing the thermostat to sense when the wearer wakes up and automatically adjust the temperature in the home. That kind of interaction provides a wealth of possibilities for developers to target, and Nest promoted other partnerships with companies such as Mercedes-Benz and Whirlpool that make the Nest thermostat a central hub for a connected home.
Beyond interacting with Nest, wearables will likely receive a lot of attention, as Google will want a wealth of apps available for smartwatches and other gadgets that will use the Android Wear operating system. Forbes reporter Parmy Olsen wrote last week that Google would show off a health-related software platform called Google Fit that would be targeted at wearables with sensors that detect and collect biometric data from the wearer, similar to the HealthKit platform Apple showed off at its developer conference last month.
Trip Chowdhry, managing director of equity research for Global Equities Research, predicted in an email that Google would show off at least one new smartwatch, the Moto360, along with a new Nexus-branded smartphone and tablet at the event.
"Google will try to project itself to be ahead of Apple in every aspect of innovation," Chowdhry predicted.
Google's I/O keynote address tends to be wide-ranging, so it will undoubtedly dally farther than just smart home and wearable introductions. Last year, the company focused on its voice-activated Google Now offering, All Access streaming-music subscription plan, Google+ upgrades and a host of other software offering before bringing out CEO Larry Page for a surprise Q&A session. The 2012 event is remembered for a skydiving stunt that functioned as the official coming-out party for Google Glass, but also included the introduction of the Jelly Bean version of Android as well as the Nexus 7 and doomed Nexus Q television device that was never actually sold.
Likewise, predictions for other Google announcements pepper the map of possibilities, including a new version of Android, a revamped Google TV effort re-branded as Android TV, and efforts to place Android in cars as Apple has done with CarPlay. Chowdhry also predicted that Google would preview its 3D efforts with Project Tango and allow developers to take a spin in their self-driving cars.
For live coverage of the Google I/O keynote address, go to www.siliconvalley.com at 9 a.m. Wednesday morning.
SV150 market report: Stocks slump, but Facebook bounces
Google gained 1.1 percent to $580.39 Tuesday ahead of its address, but Wall Street didn't follow the Mountain View company's lead, posting overall declines despite optimism at the direction of the U.S. economy.
Facebook managed to avoid Tuesday's doldrums, gaining 2.7 percent to $67.15, the highest closing price for the Menlo Park company's stock since March 21. The social network received some good news from a Forrester Research study that showed teenagers were using the service more than they were last year, countering claims that Facebook was no longer reaching younger users. One of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's big acquisition bets, virtual-reality gaming company Oculus VR, announced its own acquisition Tuesday, picking up the Carbon Design team that helped design the Xbox controller for an undisclosed price. Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Youssef Squali noted that Facebook is changing how it decides to display videos to individual users, making videos more prominent in the streams of users that interact with them regularly and downplaying them for others. Other social-networking stocks were not as fortunate: Twitter declined 2.6 percent to $38.48, LinkedIn fell 1.3 percent to $166.19, and Yelp dropped 2.3 percent to $75.83.
Apple added 0.8 percent to $91.56 after Bloomberg News reported that Chinese manufacturers will begin building the larger iPhone 6 next month, when reports have already suggested that an Apple smartwatch will also go into production. Yahoo added 0.6 percent to $33.83 after the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday afternoon that CEO Marissa Mayer overslept for an important meeting with advertising executives, a story that drew snark and sympathy for the executive. eBay dropped 0.2 percent to $49.31 after bringing in a former IBM executive to run its enterprise division, and solar manufacturer SunPower gained 1.5 percent to $40.59 while showing off its new battery system for storing solar power.
Up: NetApp, Splunk, Facebook, Intel, Netflix, SunPower, Intuit, Symantec, Google, Gilead, Sandisk, Apple
Down: Twitter, Yelp, Palo Alto Networks, AMD, Hewlett-Packard, LinkedIn, Juniper, Salesforce, Oracle, VMware, SolarCity
The SV150 index of Silicon Valley's largest tech companies: Down 7.75, or 0.52 percent, to 1486
The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite index: Down 18.32, or 0.42 percent, to 4,350.36
The blue chip Dow Jones industrial average: Down 119.13, or 0.7 percent, to 16,818.13
And the widely watched Standard & Poor's 500 index: Down 12.63, or 0.64 percent, to 1,949.98