Our friends over at AndroidAuthority have a pretty cool exclusive today. Apparently there are still a few cool surprises coming at Google I/O 2013 in a couple of days. First, they confirmed from very reputable sources that Google Watch is definitely a go, and will likely launch at Google I/O this year. In fact, the watch is already supposedly designed, built and in mass production now. It is designed to function much like Google Glass, including voice commands. For now it is still not a self-contained device and will need to be tethered to your smartphone, but Google is working on a version which will function on its own. Their source also made it clear the Google Watch is being built by Motorola.

Second, Google plans to introduce some big updates to a couple of their most popular services: Google Maps and Gmail. Google Maps will be getting an updated interface including a full screen display. The new Gmail will also be going full screen and include some new gesture based functions. Here are a couple of quotes with details about these updates,

In reference to the new Google Maps,
Rather than the bottom and top bar, Maps for mobile is said to have a floating search bar towards the top of the screen, with the navigation button to the right of it. The Android menu button (three dots, vertically aligned) will rest at the bottom right of the screen, and house all other functions associated with search.
Regarding the new Gmail,
One source tells us “it’s really cool, with a swipe from the left bringing up the menu.” That menu will house things like inbox, sent, draft, and labels. The bar at the top will still be there to make navigating multiple accounts easier, and will have the menu button to the right. So, like Maps, the bottom bar will go away and the functions housed in it will reside elsewhere. “I think they’re getting away from bottom bars” one source told us.

When I asked how this would affect swiping to delete an email function, we were told it wouldn’t. Swiping the menu in “requires touch from kind of off the screen, and swipe to delete is more of grabbing the email and swiping it away”. This reasoning makes sense, and utilizes Project Butter nicely. Think of it like the tablet version of Gmail, with the menu hiding.
So, despite the earlier news suggesting Google I/O might not have some of the exciting launches we were hoping for, it looks like we might get some stuff that is still pretty exciting. It's easy to dismiss software innovations when we are distracted by some new gadget, but really, without Google (and our amazing community developers) pushing the envelope on software innovations, our shiny new hardware would be little more than a fancy brick.