Google’s presence at Mobile World Congress is designed to showcase the company’s services and Android features for consumers, and it’s always done in a unique and fun way.
This year, the company’s traditional Android Garden presence evolved into Android Avenue – a more urban setting with some stylised buildings masquerading as houses, shops and hotels and a large zen garden area devoted to the company’s Digital Wellbeing initiative.
Google’s AI tools and services took centre stage, with a number of installations showcasing their use – Google Lens for finding out information about the physical world around you; the Google Assistant for translation services helping you order things in foreign languages, its squeeze-to-talk implementation on Pixel phones, its addition to Android’s Messages app.
Google’s own Made By Google hardware was also on show with Pixel phones around the garden in large quantities showing off features like wide-angle selfie, although it’s also notable that the demo stations this year were not all running Google-branded hardware – we also saw OnePlus and LG phones.
Perhaps the most impressive demonstration awaited in the Gallery building at the end of the Avenue, though – this included a closer look at Google’s Arts and Culture app which shows off high resolution scans of world-famous artwork and also includes the ability to place some pieces, life-size, in augmented reality around you.
The Gallery also included an AR representation of Android Avenue itself, set on a plinth in the room and allowing guests to place trees, people and more into a shared AR space – a very impressive demo of just how far the company’s AR Core technology has come.
There were of course, also some goodies on offer. Attendees collected stamps as they went through demos, and redeemed the stamps for a gold coin to win a prize from a vending machine at the end of the Avenue in the arcade. Prizes on offer ranged from Android-branded socks and beanies up to Google Home hardware.
Android Avenue was a fun way to showcase Google’s products and services to the world.
As Android underpins many of the devices shown, sold and launched at Mobile World Congress, it makes sense that Google’s presence is larger than any of the single partners (it’s the length of two of the convention halls).
There’s a lot of people working in, on and around Google’s installations every year. The staff – a mix of Googlers and event workers – were all enthusiastic, polite and well-versed on the technology they were demonstrating.
A lot of effort goes into designing the Garden (or the Avenue) every year. We can’t wait to see what Google has in store for us in 2020.