Google I/O Extended New Jersey Puts State’s Developer Community on Map

Photo: Todd Nakamura at the Google I/O Extended NJ conference. Photo Credit: John Critelli
Todd Nakamura at the Google I/O Extended NJ conference. | John Critelli

[This is the first of several articles on the Google I/O Extended New Jersey conference.]

The New Jersey tech community got special attention from Google June 25, 2014, when attendees of Google I/O Extended New Jersey, held on the Montclair State University (Montclair) campus, were selected to participate in a live video chat with Google employees.

The Montclair State University (MSU) gathering was a companion to the Google I/O conference held in San Francisco June 25-26, 2014. The annual San Francisco event aims to showcase new Google products and educate thousands of developers.

Many other I/O Extended events have been held across the world, but the MSU conference was the first to take place in New Jersey.

It was also one of the few I/O Extended events at which attendees were invited to participate in a video chat with Google employees after they viewed the company’s keynote address.

Photo: Conference attendees had a chance to chat with Google execs. Photo Credit: John Critelli
Conference attendees had a chance to chat with Google execs. | John Critelli

The participants discussed topics that included the newly announced Android L, an update to Google’s popular operating system, and Android Wear, a similar operating system designed for smart watches. Some asked about older services such as YouTube and Google Plus, though Google employees said no major changes are planned for either now.

The attendees also had the opportunity to interact with many New Jersey tech scene leaders and meetup organizers in person. The leaders spoke at nearly a dozen lectures and panels held throughout the day in MSU’s University Hall.

Among the speakers were Dennis Bone, the former president of Verizon New Jersey who now heads the Feliciano Center for Entrepreneurship at MSU; April Peters, a Newark vocalist and entrepreneur who is running Lean NewarkStartup Machine this year; and Carlos Abad, founder of entrepreneur collaboration group LaunchNJ. Many other northern New Jersey tech startup founders participated in the discussions.

The panel and lecture topics ranged from women’s participation in the tech industry to encouraging innovation in business. Explanations of Google technologies, including Plus, Polymer and Google Cloud Platform, were also provided.

Photo: The audience at Google I/O Extended NJ conference. Photo Credit: L. Pace
The audience at Google I/O Extended NJ conference. | L. Pace

The MSU conference was organized by Google Developers Group North Jersey, which was founded by New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate Todd Nakamura.

Nakamura, an experienced software developer, organized the I/O Extended event in fewer than 20 days. Despite the tight turnaround time, the conference offered an unprecedented opportunity for many of New Jersey’s most passionate tech enthusiasts to come together. “I’ve seen the strength of an entire community united,” said Nakamura.

An often cited problem of the New Jersey tech community is that it flies under the radar and its accomplishments do not get sufficient attention. The Google I/O Extended New Jersey event has somewhat offset that situation, creating buzz and generating press for the Garden State’s tech ecosystem.

For more information about Google I/O Extended New Jersey, see the following stories:

Tech aficionados gather at Montclair for Google event

Google reaches out to tech, entrepreneur community at Montclair event

Montclair State Hosts Google I/O Extended Conference

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