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Google IO: Developers Gather to ‘Move the Web Forward’

Vic Gundotra is super excited. He’s Google’s vice president of engineering, and he gets to deliver the keynote address at Google I/O, the company’s largest developer conference ever.

Google I/O, which runs Wednesday May 28 and Thursday May 29 at San Francisco’s Moscone center, will host over 90 sessions for web developers and software engineers working with the company’s various products and web apps. The technical sessions will cover the bread and butter Google topics like search, maps and video, as well as some of its newer technologies like the mobile Android operating system, Google App Engine and the open-source Gears and OpenSocial projects.

Gundotra says the “I/O” stands for Innovating in the Open, an inside joke for developers who are far more familiar with I/O meaning Input/Output. The impetus of the conference is to get the world’s biggest software brains together to help drive the progress of web technology. Of course, Gundotra has a few suggestions about where they should begin.

“With Open Social, Android, Gears,” he says, “We poured hundreds of millions (of dollars) into IT and we are offering it up for free. We do it because our only model is to move the web forward.”

We asked Gundotra what Google has to gain when the web “moves forward” as he predicts?

“Before, the PC platform was a different model controlled by the devil, or monarch, depending on how you liked the platform. Before, you had to plead with the monarch. The web is very different. It achieves consensus. Nobody owns the web, neither does Google. Google profits when the web succeeds.”

The talks at Google I/O are structured with a nod to academia — introductory sessions are designated as 101 talks, while the more developer-centric sessions are labeled “201″ or “code labs.”

There are also “fireside chats” — an opportunity to quiz the developers behind certain Google technologies. According to Gundotra, these chats afford Google a two-way interchange of good ideas.

“Fireside chats allow Google to shut up. They will bring together some of the brightest people in the world. They can bring perspectives that allow us to adjust our strategy.”

Scheduled speakers include Google’s lead developers from projects like Android, Google Web Toolkit, Maps, Open Social, App Engine, YouTube and Google Gears.

Python creator and Google employee Guido van Rossum, who carries the title of “Benevolent Dictator for Life” within the Python community, will be speaking about his App Engine project. Others scheduled to talk include MySpace chief software architect Chris Bissell, Google usability expert T.V. Raman and Python in a Nutshell author Alex Martelli.

Attendees will certainly be eager to discuss the latest code release from Google: The Google Ajax Libraries API, a hosted collection of the most common Ajax libraries that mashup developers can access dynamically from any web page. The new API, widely greeted as a major headache-saver for Ajax programmers, was announced Tuesday.

Any more surprises?

“There are always surprises,” Gundotra promises.

We’re told to expect a few announcements surrounding Google’s hopes to advance cloud connectivity, accessibility and social applications (Read: Google App Engine, Android and Open Social?).