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Google's I/O Gathering is Short On Hardware, Long On Innovation

NEW YORK (TheStreet) - The keynote speech at this year's Google (GOOG) I/O gathering just ended. More than three hours of pointy-headed employees telling an audience of equally pointy-headed developers - who paid for the privilege - about what Google is working on and what they might expect next from the operator of world's largest search engine.

By the time the smoke lifted, Google stock soared to record levels - hitting more than $900 and closing at $915.89, a gain of nearly $29 or 3.3%.

Google announced almost no new hardware (except for their own, stripped-down version of a Samsung Galaxy S 4 smartphone. No new tablets. And, forget all those rumors about a new version of their Android operating system.

Yes, there's the new Google Music streaming service which was created to compete with Pandora, Spotify, Rdio and others. A few pennies short of $10/month. The competition is fierce. I wish them good luck.

But, the most impressive feature they did showcase was innovation. Like the new, improved Google Maps app - which, in combination with Google Earth can tell you everything near where you are to taking you from that local street to what it looks like from outer space. Can give you the directions there too.

Or, new types of photo and video files which take-up less storage space and are faster to load. And, some new software that's tied to the Google Cloud that will automatically "Photoshop" your photos as you upload them and can turn your photos into videos. Plus, they're overhauling the Google + system and integrating it into almost everything Google offers.

But, what really came out of the live showcase was innovation. Google is didn't dazzle us with anything like Google Glass - but showed us what they're doing to help change what we've know, to date, as the Internet into a fully-integrated part of our lives. A glimpse of how all these technological feats will affect our lives in the future.

Not everything that was said at the event was pure science. Google also had some things to say about the competition. For instance, when describing the new Google Maps, mention was jokingly made to point out the superiority of their app versus what's currently offered by Apple (AAPL). Remember Apple dropped Google Maps to go it on their own. It hasn't gone so well to date.

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