A conference attendee tests out Project Tango at Google I/O 2014.
Roughly 24 hours after Google's news-packed keynote address at I/O on Wednesday, developers were still whooping and hollering at San Francisco's Moscone Center.
The cause of all the excitement stemmed from ATAP, Google's Advanced Technology and Projects lab that serves as the little brother of sorts to Google X, the area of the company focused on moonshot projects like self-driving cars and Google Glass.
ATAP, which is just over two years old, has 11 projects underway, including the highly regarded projects Tango and Ara which generated the majority of excitement at one of the conference's most jam-packed breakout sessions.
Project Tango head Johnny Lee started off the session with an onstage demo, showing off the technology that uses multiple cameras to create 3D renderings by weaving together depth and location information. Tango was first unveiled on a smartphone in February, and Google rolled out a tablet version earlier this month.
Lee showed off the tablet, which was also on display for passerby throughout the conference. He received a hearty round of applause when he generated a 3D replica of the stage in real time using Tango's depth cameras. He also demonstrated a few games on the device, and at one point crouched to his knees to interact with a small virtual wizard on the screen.
Developers will be able to buy the tablet — and with it begin to build their own apps on the technology — later this year.
Despite its early stage, Tango is one of the "more mature" projects at ATAP, according to Regina Dugan, the division's VP for engineering. One of the projects still a ways off is Project Ara, Google's foray into modular cellphone technology. The ultimate goal is to give users the ability to build their perfect phone, piece by piece, by making the phone features à la carte. If you want a great camera, you can splurge for one. If you prefer longer battery life instead, you can take that route.
Paul Eremenko, head of Project Ara, unveiled a prototype of the phone on stage Thursday, offering developers an early look at what his team has been building. The crowd loved it, even though the phone didn't fully turn on. Eremenko also announced the first of what will be will be multiple developer prizes handed out to those who can build successful modules that work alongside Google's prototype.
The mood in Thursday's breakout session was more festive than Wednesday's keynote, offering a closer look at some of Google's more consumer-facing projects. Dugan helped set the mood with her opening remarks: "We're a small band of pirates trying to do epic sh*t," she said.
If developer response is any indication, this is one band of pirates everyone appears to be rooting for.