If you're still trying to get all zipped up about Google I/O's kick-off this Wednesday, Google has released a new tool that should not only help you keep track of events at the conference but also allows you customize a streaming live blog gadget onto your website.
While this app is customizable for you to fit onto your site, keep in mind that this is a Google-specific gadget so don't expect to be able to just throw this up on your site for any old conference (unless Google should decide to permit that kind of function). Google's explanation about the matter on the FAQ page isn't exactly clear, as it says, "You can certainly use this live blog functionality for other events. However, the video will of course not be relevant for other events." So, use it for live Google events but maybe not so much for non-Google events?
According to the gadget's site, the app will stream the Google I/O keynote live as well as delivery all official Google I/O announcements as they're released in real-time. Additionally, the gadget will funnel the five most recent updates from any specific Google+ page that you'd like to include in the live blog of Google I/O. While you could simply add any old Google+ account to this section, this could really be a savvy way for you to live-blog the event directly from updating your Google+ account. It might not be the most ideal live-blogging tool since, as mentioned, you'd only see the five most recent updates and as you know if you've ever done one of these or followed a live blog before updates tend to happen at breakneck speed so you could easily miss something if this gadget is your primary window for following Google I/O.
On the Google side of things, it's also a fairly brilliant way of incorporating its social network into the experience and therefore increasing activity and engagement. Well played, Google.
To set this up when you're using the gadget configurator look under the "Announcement and Google+ Feeds" for the white space that reads "Google+ Page ID," simply paste in the Google+ ID number of that account that you want the gadget to follow. If you're not sure of where to find the Google+ Page ID, it's the string of numbers you see at the end of the URL of a Google+ page. I've put WPN's Google+ Page ID in bold as an example:
I also went ahead and created an example of what the actual live blog gadget will look like, which you can see below. It's interactive so you can click on the Play button (although nothing will play since the conference hasn't started yet) and check out the latest Google Announcements and Google+ updates from WPN's account.
If you scroll down in the "WPN I/O Blog Test" tab, you'll see all of the images that are associated with the article links we post on our Google+ account on there but not the actual links, nor the text that is included in the link. All you've got are these blotchy thumbnails without any of the link text, so it's not very useful if you're doing anything other than purely posting updates. Then again, that is likely the intention of this tool and not just a way to basically create a live link-feed of Google+ accounts.