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Today on Event Tech Podcast we explore Google IO and Microsoft Build. You already know this is your go-to source on all things tech. So on this week’s episode, we’re talking about two of the biggest developer conferences in the world! Both Google and Microsoft took center stage on their respective events to talk about their technologies. What they can do, how they can change the future, and in what way developers can build on top of them.

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So, curious to know where the world of technology is headed? Wait no longer, and join our awesome hosts, Will Curran, and Brandt Krueger. Together, they dive into the specifics of each event and walk us through what we can expect from the future of tech, courtesy of Google IO and Microsoft Build. Let’s go!

Click here to view the full audio transcription.

Google IO And Microsoft Build

The Chicken Or The Egg, Google IO, and Microsoft Build Edition

First things first, let’s talk about the events themselves. Both Google IO and Microsoft Build happened back to back, which is an interesting decision. “You definitely don’t want to cannibalize the marketing side because it’s very much a press event as much as it is a chance for developers to see what’s going on”, says Will. On the same topic, Brandt adds: “the other problem that comes with that is that now because they’re so close to each other you can’t help but compare them. You know, I mean they were literally two days apart.”

Microsoft Build

A Rough Start

Microsoft Build was the first, and it didn’t go off on a great start. “You can’t go into this event without mentioning the fact that they started the whole program with a massive demo fail”, says Brandt. “So they used the skills of this guy from Photoshop and this guy from Unreal Engine to create this fully modeled 3D redo of the moon landing, using the actual NASA data that they had”, explains Brandt, “Brandt Krueger:apparently behind the scenes the demo had already failed, and they couldn’t get the laptops online or whatever.”

“And apparently it’s even a little bit worse than that because they had strewn all of these references to the moon landing and moon shots and rockets and all this kind of stuff throughout the keynotes as everybody came through. So none of that made sense anymore because they weren’t able to do this demo”, he concludes.

The Cloud

“Well, Microsoft I think has in a way started to step away from Windows, right?”, says Brandt. “To being, it’s their Azure Cloud development stuff. They’ve still got the consumer-facing things. They’ve still got the Xbox, they’ve still got Windows, and they’ve still got Office but all the real money is in the behind the scenes stuff (…) I thought that just in general the whole keynote and apparently, a lot of the sessions that followed are really emphasizing the cloud and fewer windows.”

“And I think that goes to show too, the fact that there’s so many different types of hardware. I mean just like this wasn’t a Microsoft build but for example they just announced the Surface Hub 2S and it’s this just gigantic TV with the collaboration and sharing features and the features of it aren’t primarily Windows. I mean it is a Windows computer but it’s more that it’s about the experience than it is about the fact that its running Windows. Before Microsoft might have just been like, “Here’s a TV, it runs Windows, good luck.” Lets everyone else do everything else”, Will adds.


“They’re really starting to come forward in the collaboration space of hey… So what they were showing was a demo of here’s a person who’s working on a table in Excel and then I’ve got that same table in another state in a Word document, and we’re working on it together and updating, and it’s all live and being done in the back end and really de-coupling the bits and chunks from their individual traditional Office apps”, says Brandt.

Will adds that “I think almost like a major theme of everything too is just the collaboration between everything and I think that’s one we’re about to go down a list of cool things that we saw that we liked a lot. Like almost all of these on this list are all collaboration related stuff”. To Brandt, a good example of this, that will affect event industries, is live transcription.

Applying The Technology To Events

“I think this is incredible because for events we have multiple speakers, you don’t have time to program it out and have the transcriber write the captions and everything and it’s expensive”, says Will. “You’re talking thousands of dollars for each language and things like that, but if you can turn the text and the voice that’s happening at the event and what’s happening on stage turn to text and translate it live, that’s just mind-blowing. The coolest thing about this too is there’s a point where one of the guys didn’t bring his phone, didn’t bring his laptop, it recognized his voice and started to transcribe with his photo and his name attached to it”.

For example, according to Will, “you can search that person’s name and boom bring up all the clips from that meeting and show it. I mean it’s just making it so people can get to exactly what they need to do and get things done, which I think is just really exciting for A, planners and everybody in the events industry and owners of businesses and oh my gosh it’s just so exciting for getting more stuff done. But I think that this also can be applied to transcribing events live as well”.

The HoloLens Mattel

“I mean, to be honest, its best just to watch this video where they explain how it all happens because I can do a play by play but essentially what they did is they turned an augmented reality meeting where one of the guys was there with a HoloLens and you can kind of see his perspective”, explains Will. “It’s just, it’s so exciting for the future I think of working together across huge gaps of distances”.

“Well, and it’s another example of Microsoft really emphasizing not only the collaboration but also we want to be everywhere that you are. So you don’t have to have a $4,000 HoloLens headset in order to be able to participate. You can do it on your phone, you can do it on a Surface, you can do it on a Surface Hub which is their big wall mounted touch screen thing”, adds Brandt.

Much Ado About Grammar

“A couple of interesting things and one of the more controversial ones that came out which I think is a lot of ado about nothing is that they’re playing around with what some people are calling a political correctness engine”, Will begins. “So what it would do is say, “You know you might want to, instead of saying mailman, say mail carrier.” Something along those lines where we’re just starting to take a look at the way that we’re writing and maybe see if there’s a way to make it a little more open for inclusion and diversity. Again a lot of other clickbaity headlines of a political correctness engine and all this kind of stuff coming in”.

Google IO And Microsoft Build

Google IO

Stage Design

Will was particularly fond of the stage design during the event: “I just thought it was really, really pretty. It looked really cool. And I also thought was really interesting, again, think they did vertical screens last year for their image for their camera to screen but in this case, they did vertical but then they made it look like the camera was inside of a phone, which I thought was really interesting too. So it’s just funny how we go from oh hey we have this multi-million dollar LED screen with rounded corners, and we’re going to make it look like it’s on a cheap phone”.

Google IO had a completely different feel from Microsoft’s conference, with “a lot of big announcements going on” and “lots of emphasis on security”. On this topic, Brandt explains that “this time, they definitely were saying “Yeah we’re going to use all this data to make your life better and we’re going to be using less of that data. And we’re going to be doing more on the device.”


“I thought that was one of the most exciting things about it and we can talk about it not only for the just from the privacy standpoint but also for convenience standpoint but definitely I think that was the big year for them to say, “Hey, yes we have all your data but we’re also going to give you full control over it”, says Will.

“I mean something so simple as that, I think is just giving people more full control because I think they’re realizing is that in the past, I think most people didn’t really care or didn’t really know how to do this but now it’s oh hey, I do know how to do this and if I can make it a simple pop up when it requests location to say use it only when I have this app open it gives people more control”, he continues.

“Again it’s one of these things where it’s like, hey we acknowledge that we’re taking all this data but we’re going to give you the choice to do with it what you want”.

Suggest Actions

“One of the features that I’m really excited by for Android Q is the suggested action’s thing. And if you get a chance to see this demo basically, whenever a text pops up, it can automatically guess how you respond to it”, says Will.

He adds: “So for example, if someone says, “Hey I’m running late.” The three choices might be, “Okay no problem.” Or “Don’t worry let’s just cancel.” And the last one is, “Hey send me a map of where you are so I can see how far away you are.” Or something like that. Right? And it’s just these quick popups when you get a notification to all of a sudden making it so they can use that data to speed up your processes and things like that”.

The Google Pixel 3A

Google also took the opportunity to announce the new Google Pixel 3A. “Essentially it’s the same exact thing as my Google Pixel 3 I have but $400”, says Will. “It’s a really weird play. I’m very confused by this. That they would less than a year after announcing flagship phones at the same kind of iPhone, Samsung $900 price, they’ve undercut themselves by almost 50% with phones that by all accounts are just as good. It’s little things like it’s plastic instead of glass but anybody that’s felt it, and the reviews that I’ve seen so far says it actually feels the same”, adds Brandt.

“I think though it has to do with cell phone fatigue. That cell phone costs have been rising like absolutely crazy and getting a little out of control. Like let’s be honest, people, they’ve seen that cell phone sales are down this year and so I think Google who saw that Google Pixel 3 was priced higher than it ever had been was also not doing really well and they were like, well I think they’re smart”, Will explains.


Brandt brings the topic of accessibility to the table: “They emphasized in reference to the phones and they emphasized in reference to the assistant and in a couple of other different ways. And that is accessibility”.

“So they talked about people with accents, they talked about people with lisps, they talked about people with MS that’s affecting people’s speech and really working with people to make it so that their assistants could respond to them just as well as it does to other people as well. And in addition to that, they announced that they were actively looking for more people to help them with that. So to come in and maybe do some recordings of how you say certain things so that they can make the assistant smarter in dealing with people that don’t have perfect diction when speaking to their assistant”.


In case you weren’t paying attention last year, Duplex “was their hey you can tell your robot to call a restaurant and make a reservation for you. Everyone thinks it’s an actual human being”, as explained by Will. “They’ve added some additional features which is that they’ve now made it as well that now you can have a Google Duplex style receptionist answering your phones for you”.

“Instead of having to deal with a receptionist or something like that, you could just deal with a robot. Imagine just telling your Google Assistant, “Hey set up a meeting with this person.” It calls for you and sets up the meeting”.


So, that’s it for the lessons taken from this year’s Google IO and Microsoft Build! Did you catch any of the conferences? What technology are you most excited about? What do you think can be absolutely groundbreaking for the event industry? Let us know in the comment section below!


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Brandt Krueger

Author Brandt Krueger

With over 20 years experience in the meetings and events industry, Brandt has spoken at industry events and seminars all over the world, been published in numerous magazines and websites, and teaches public and private classes on meeting and event technology and production. He provides freelance technical production services, and is the owner of Event Technology Consulting.

More posts by Brandt Krueger
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