Google just commenced their Google I/O 2016 event and there are a lot of goodies to satisfy all kinds of tech fetishes we may all have. The event basically confirmed some things that were rumored, reiterated previously announced features and had most of us at the edge of our seats with a couple of new awesome product revelations. Here is a recap of the first day order of business for Google I/O 2016, whether you are into Google, the Android platform or are just interested in their latest introductions, there’s a little of everything.
New messaging and video calling
Rumors were already flying that Google would launch a new messaging app and what do you know? Allo is its name. Allo is the latest app introduction with person to person and group messaging capabilities, which is also integrated with all the great features you’d find in rival apps such as the widely used WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. Another added advantage is that it is incorporated with Google Assistant, meaning that even if you are actively involved in a chat, you can easily look up any information of interest without necessarily switching apps.
To enhance the experience of users even further, Google attempts to spice it up with a fun video calling tool known as Duo. Duo is essentially a companion app to Allo that brings a few new great technologies that facilitate reliable and high quality instant person-to-person video calls.
Google announced what seemed like a new Google Now alternative, referred to as Assistant. However, Google Assistant is a major deal according to the company, it is set to be a platform that Google will employ for a variety of products to deliver contextual searches, thorough analysis of user information and offer Google app experiences that are tailored to meet your needs. We are hoping to learn more about the Google Assistant as the event progresses on.
Google has revealed that the new “Daydream” standard will be employed in Android N. The Daydream standard will leverage a huge range of new features that will ensure that phones powered by the software, offer a first-class VR experience. This means that you can forward to an on-board VR interface for navigation, Google app versions for VR, and better VR experiences across Android devices.
In addition, Google will also provide manufacturers with reference platforms that are open sourced, for a new level of VR headset and single-handed motion controller. This means similar to the Google Cardboard platform which function with Android phones to offer a great VR experience, manufacturers will be able to create their very own controllers and headsets using the design references.
Google Home, though still at its most basic level, will apparently be Amazon Echo’s competitor. It is primarily a small Wi-Fi speaker that can be placed in any open space at home. It comes with a combination of microphones and lights that are built to interact with on regular basis to answer a range of questions, just as a typical smartphone with Google would, whether it’s inquiring about particular things, making reservations or checking out upcoming events, it does it all.
Google aims to push beyond this basics, with plans to establish Google Home as the central control hub for all the various aspects connected in your home, this would include the management of music to various speakers within your home, the distribution of content across devices to your TVs, as well as the control of your thermostats and lights, among others. Google definitely has high goals for their Google Home product, we can only wait to see if all this shall come pass and how they’ll be able to accomplish all this.
The main I/O keynote didn’t feature a lot on Android Auto, but the event still saw a couple of great announcements anticipated by many. One of the exceptional features introduced will be the ability to natively run the Android Auto interface on any Android phone or tablet. What this basically means, is that you’ll still be able to run Android Auto on any Android device connected to the car, even without a first or third-party head unit powered by the software.
Besides this, Google also mentioned that Android Auto will in the future incorporate Waze’s traffic information support, adding that a few new partnerships have already been established to have Android Auto experiences fully integrated in new cars.
New Android Studio and Firebase tools
Considering this is a developer conference, there were also plenty of solid announcements specifically for the people responsible for the apps and devices on the Android platform that we have come to love. A new Android Studio version has been introduced that will bundle great features, especially in the layout design, a Play Console app that instantly brings up whatever numbers app developers may need, along with a new suite of analytic tools for Google’s Firebase.