Google made quite a few announcements during their I/O 2016 keynote. From a new way to talk to Google to an Amazon Echo competitor called Google Home and of course a looking at upcoming versions of Android and Android Wear.
For those who might have missed the keynote:
Google also had the keynote available in 360 video:
The Google Assistant is an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google. It is meant to help understand your world and get things done.
Whether it’s buying movie tickets while you’re out and about, finding a restaurant nearby, the Google assistant can help you with all that and much more.
The Google Assistant will integrate Google’s search tools and technology and be implemented into some of Google’s upcoming services and devices like Google Home and Allo.
The Google Assistant will be available later this year.
Google Home is Google’s much smaller and more powerful answer to the Amazon Echo. It is a voice-activated product and you can enjoy entertainment, manage everyday task and ask Google questions, all while talking to it in a conversational way.
Using your voice, you can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer, check your flight status, control your smart bulbs or even ask Google Home to play a video to your Chromecast or Android TV device.
You’ll also be able to customize your Google Home device to match the stylings of your house with interchangeable bases which come in different colour and materials (similar to how you can customize Google’s OnHub routers).
Google Home will be released later in the fall. You can sign up to get more information on Google Home at home.google.com.
Allo and Duo
Allo is a new messaging app that will have the Google Assistant built-in, so you can perform searches just within a chat Google or within a chat with your friends.
Since the Google Assistant understands your world, you can ask it things like what’s your schedule look like for the day or to show your some photos from your last trip.
If you are planning a dinner with your friends or family, you can ask the Google Assistant to suggest nearby restaurants, all without leaving the chat.
Allo also has Smart Reply, which Google first introduced in their Inbox app. So then you can send messages that are based on the context of the chat. Allo will also have an Incognito mode that provides end-to-end encryption, discreet notifications, and message expiration.
On the other hand, Duo is a one-to-one video calling app. It seems like Google is trying to make something to rival Apple’s FaceTime on iOS.
Google says that their goal for Duo was to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower connections. Duo also has a featured called Knock Knock, which will give you a live video feed of the other caller before you answer.
Both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number (in a similar way to Whatsapp). Both apps will be available on Android and iOS later this summer.
Google didn’t announce two many new features to Android N, than what was already announced back in March. Some of the highlights in Android N, include: better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption (with an improved Doze), storage, background downloads of system updates (Google also got rid of the Android is optimizing screen that shows up after a system update).
Android N will also introduce split-screen multitasking on both phones and tablets and streamlined notifications. There will also be updated emojis including 72 new ones.
Google says they want the Android community to help come with a name for Android N. You can submit your name at Android.com/N (just don’t do NameyMcNameFace). I’m personally hoping it’s Nutella.
Besides Android N, Google also announced a new platform for high-quality mobile VR called Daydream. Google is working with Android manufacturers on upcoming phones and sharing designs for a VR viewer and controller to help provide an immersive yet comfortable and intuitive experience.
You’ll be able to use your favourite apps and games in Daydream including Google’s own apps like YouTube, Street View, Play Movies, Google Photos and the Play Store.
More details about Daydream will come in the fall.
Google also introduced Android Wear 2.0 which will have a revamped user experience and standalone apps that run on a watch with or without a phone.
They also introduced Android Instant Apps, which will let you run Android apps instantly on your device without installing them.
Google also launched a big update to Firebase, which they say is their most comprehensive developer offering to date.
It goes beyond providing a mobile backend, the Firebase platform can help developers quickly build high-quality apps, grow their user base and earn money across Android, iOS, and the mobile web.