SAN FRANCISCO -- Google's computerized glasses may have to wait for their futuristic arrival on Main Street.
Techies worldwide, obsessed with the notion, tuned in to Google's I/O event for tidbits on its Glass computerized eyewear at the annual confab here. Instead, Google provided major updates to products likely to one day feed into Glass.
"Today, we're still just scratching the surface of what's possible," said a soft-spoken CEO Larry Page. "I cannot wait to see what comes next."
Page's comments during a question-and-answer session at the end of a three-hour demonstration of new Google products highlighted a marathon presentation.
While Google's co-founder was upbeat about the potential of technology, he seemed less optimistic about the state of the industry. He took jabs at the company's rivals, Microsoft and Oracle, and others for not supporting open standards, and focusing on "zero-sum games."
"Money is more important to them than... collaboration," he said.
"Every time we've done something crazy, we've made progress," Page said, which is a key reason why Google develops a wide range of products, from Web services to self-driving cars.
Investors liked what they heard. Google shares ended the day at an all-time high of $916 per share.
Prior to Page's comments, Google announced a slew of new products and upgrades.
Google's social network, Google+, got a makeover for photos. Google boosted its cloud storage of high-resolution photos to 15 gigabytes; all other photos remain unlimited. A Google Play multiplayer game service was unveiled, and the company showed a streaming music service competitor to Spotify and Pandora.
The Google Now search feature appears more than ever like a killer app for Glass with the enhancements announced today, including a new "reminders" function.
"The more you use it, the more useful it becomes for you." said Amit Singhal, senior vice president of Google's Search. "You will be able to set reminders that will come up at the right place for the right time."
Additions to Google Maps, available right away, let people get personalized maps of their destinations and restaurants, including recommendations from friends. People can zoom in to see the inside of restaurants. "This is the future of getting directions," says Bernhard Seefeld, Google's product management director of Maps.
Glass was the elephant in the room. Developers - many sporting Glass at the event - are buzzing about the future market for Glass apps. It appears possible that many computing functions, though awkward, may become well-suited on the face. Think bike rides with hands-free capabilities for maps, photos and communication.
Glass offers the promise of "amazing communication" and "amazing navigation," says Page. "Ultimately, a lot of your experiences can move to Glass."
Yet, Glass itself never took the stage. This year's conference had no chance to match last year's stunts. That extreme sports event featured skydivers in Google Glass who landed on the building followed by Evel Knievel-like rooftop bike stunt men who rolled up on stage.
Among today's highlights:
Hugo Barra, vice president of product management at Android, unveiled Google Play game services. "Everybody loves gaming," he says. The service will allow members to invite people from their Google+ circles to join in multiplayer games. It will support leaderboards and achievements for "friendly competition," he adds. The demo was a flop, however, failing to launch a multiplayer game on stage.
Google launched a highly anticipated streaming radio service. Google Play Music All Access will cost $9.99 per month after a one-month trial. If you start by June 30, it will cost $7.99 per month. Unlike rivals Pandora and Spotify, Google's new Internet radio service will allow people to preview playlists of what's coming and remove tracks or rearrange the order of tracks in a streaming station "This is radio without rules," says Chris Yerga, Google's engineering director of Android.
Google announced it would start selling an unlocked version of the Samsung Galaxy S4 running the latest Android mobile operating system, code-named Jelly Bean, through its Google Play store. The S4 with Google's Nexus interface will sell for $649.
Google took jabs at Apple's operating system's walled approach to photo sharing, as well as the slower speed of its iPads for playing games. Google Maps Director Daniel Graf took a shot at Apple's maps, noting: "And let's not forget, accurate."
Google announced that its Stream function in Google+ - much like Facebook's News Feed - has 190 million monthly active users.
Also, Google touted it has 390 million monthly active users of Google and the Web.
Android activations surged from 400 million in 2012 to 900 million in 2013.
Google said there are more than 750 million active users of the Chrome browser.
The company said 48 billion apps have been installed from Google Play.
Scott Martin, USA TODAY
USA Today / Gannett