Thoughts about GMIC SV and GDG DevFest


Like I wrote yesterday, GMIC SV sucked. Supposedly, it had different sessions for entrepreneurs & executives, start-ups and developers. I think that the main purpose was to help US and Chinese companies to do some networking – and maybe it was successful from that perspective, but as a developer who made the effort to participate (on a Friday!) in code-labs and learn about new technologies – it pretty much sucked…

The WiFi connection was horrible, which effected the speakers presentations as well as the attendees. They had separate rooms with light refreshment and coffee (for developers and executives), only that the developers’ room ran out of coffee during the first hour and it was left this way at least until noon (I didn’t bother to check later). Also, the A/C was working so hard in one of the labs – that I’m pretty sure that at some point I noticed a polar bear running to the bathroom…

I went to three sessions and one keynote and only the first session was interesting (to me). During lunch break, we went out and strolled the streets of downtown San Jose looking for something to eat (since food was supplied only for Executives and VIPs). We had less than an hour – if we wanted to make it to the next session.

It kind of felt that this convention wasn’t REALLY for developers and we were treated like we belonged to the lowest caste…

Around 15:30 we decided we’ve had enough of it, and of course we didn’t bother to go for the second day. Luckly for us, we found out about GDG San Francisco DevFest (which took place in Google’s offices in Mountain view) and bought tickets on time. This one was a totally different story. You can see the agenda for yourself.

We started with Google wallet session by Mihai Ionescu which was very interesting especially since I’ve been in the E-commerse business for more than five years now.
My conclusion from that session is that Google, like PayPal wallet, supplies very limited payment processing services:

  • supports only credit-cards
  • supports only 9 currencies
  • supports only single items (can’t create a cart and checkout with multiple products)
  • supports only monthly subscriptions (recurring charges)
  • does not support configurable soft-descriptor (that’s what the customer sees in his bank statements)
  • does not support currency-conversion – it’s the vendor’s responsibility to calculate the conversion: Google will charge the amount that is passed in the request in the same currency that you state – you cannot provide one price in USD and expect Google to calculate the conversion for you
  • you (the vendor) need to open a merchant account
  • in case of a refund/chargeback – no “hedging” is done – so if the customer was charged in Euro and after three months the dollar dropped and the customer asked for a refund – the vendor will pay back the amount in US Dollars converted from the current rate of Euro – which might result in loss of money

But of course, there are “Pros” too, after all it’s Google:

  • commission rates are WAY lower than PayPal’s: 5% or 1.9% + 30 cents per transaction (the lower between the two!)
  • no refund/chargeback fees!
  • it used to force the user to open a Google wallet account (like PayPal’s) and now you can pay as a “guest”
  • will support quarterly subscriptions (probably by the end of Q1 2013)
  • simple integration using Javascript, json (JWT – json web token) and server-side

The second session was: Start ups by Rob Walling and I have only one word to say:

After lunch, which was really nice, we joined a session on YouTube by Jeremy Walker, which described YouTube API capabilities that will be available in v3 once it’s out (should be in less than a month).

And the last talk for the day (for me) was about Google+ by Jonathan Beri which discussed the new API – personally it was less relevant for me – but yet it was interesting.

I’ll wrap up this time with the geekiest joke of the week by Song from GMIC SV – HTML5 code-lab:
man: make me a sandwich
wife: NO!
man: sudo make me a sandwich
wife: okay

Thoughts about GMIC SV and GDG DevFest

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