A raucous group of techies, entrepreneurs and students gathered in University Hall at Montclair State University for Google I/O Extended 2014.The event was an extension of the annual I/O event in San Francisco and included live streams of presentations from California. Members of the local tech community also spoke in person at the event.
Among those speakers was Todd Nakamura, founder of Google Development Group (GDG) North Jersey. Nakamura’s is the only GDG in the state.
“Anybody can join. I highly recommend you get out there and sign up for it. It’s meant to be inclusive of everybody,” Nakamura said. “Anyone you can think of: someone who doesn’t know anything about tech, someone who knows a lot about tech. Anybody that has a passion for innovation and technology. If that’s you, you’re a perfect fit.”
Nakamura’s warm, informal opening embodied the spirit of community outreach Google appeared to be cultivating with the event. He championed the company for its educational grants, including its financial support of a Kenyan community, who Nakamura had just had a Hangout session with that morning.
“I took them on a tour of the campus. I was showing them, they were showing me their classroom,” he said. “Google funded that classroom for them.”
Nakamura also highlighted a video for Made with Code, an initiative started by Google to inspire girls to get involved with computer science.
Other keynote speakers were Carlos Abad and April Peters, who brought a more localized focus on the event. Abad spoke to the numerous tech groups and communities throughout the state while Peters discussed the growth of Newark’s tech and entrepreneurial communities.
“I think we’ve established that the Newark tech scene has emerged. It’s become apparent. It’s gained a lot of attention,” Peters said after listing several companies that have relocated and invested in Newark including iSpeech, Phone.com, Videolicious and Audible.
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