So, What Happened At This Year’s Google I/O?
Every year in the beautiful city of San Francisco in California, usually in May or June, Google holds its Google I/O, an annual conference focusing on software, web, and mobile technologies. This year, the tech giant once again offers a fresh round of announcements and updates regarding its products as well as the latest in technological trends and breakthroughs. Scroll down for the rundown.
Android fans will be delighted to know that Google has launched the preview of its upcoming Android N, the newest version of its mobile operating system and the follow up to last year’s Android Marshmallow. Google went on to reveal that Android N comes with new features that include support for virtual reality by way of its Daydream platform (more on this later), the automatic removal of less used mobile apps from the home screen, and more efficient switching between different tasks, just to mention a few. And oh, Google also took the opportunity to launch a contest to provide the best name for Android N (the winning entry must be based on a sweet).
Also, Android Wear 2.0, the latest version of Google’s software for wearable devices, is being deployed to developers this week, and should be made available to end users before the end of this year. This version promises longer battery life, phone independence capabilities, better support for fitness, and a more intuitive experience.
In the area of artificial intelligence and Internet of Things, Google presents Google Assistant, which is basically a super enhanced Google Now. The tech giant hopes that Google Assistant will engage more users with its ability to predict searches and fine tune search results. Also, Google Assistant is now the centerpiece of Google Home (it used to be called Project Chirp), which is Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo.
Then there’s Instant Apps, a technology that allows for downloading of separate modules of a mobile app, which could bring about more efficiency in the way in which users acquire apps for their devices.
With regards to instant messaging, Google now offers Allo, which on paper should compete with Facebook’s Messenger or even SnapChat. What makes Allo unique is that it is integrated with Google Assistant, and also possesses features such as intuitive reply suggestions, offering information related to the subject being talked about on chat, and Whisper Shout, which allows users to manage their replies according to intensity. For those who like video chats, Google also has Google Duo video chat, which gives users a video preview of the caller before they answer the call.
For diehard virtual reality enthusiasts, Google showed its reference design headset, controller and tools platform for its new generation Android VR platform Daydream. This can platform be used for Android devices that meet the minimum system requirements. It features capabilities such as a VR mode as well as a VR interface to be used in operating mobile apps.