Naina KhedekarMay 19, 2016 10:08:12 IST
An outdoor event, improved performances and some new nifty products, the Google I/O 2016 unfolded promising a vision for what it has planned for the upcoming year. If you have missed on what was announced at Google's annual event, here's a quick recap.
Daydream is what Google introduced as its mobile VR platform. However, it will be built into Android N. This announcement comes as a huge push to virtual reality in the future, and can be called the stepping stone to VR apps and services. There are three main aspects to Daydream – correct smartphone specifications, correct headsets and the compatible apps.
Allo is a new messaging app introduced by Google. It has the Google Assistant built right into it. It will be coming to iOS as well as Android later this summer. Interestingly, Allo is a French word for 'hello' and ( may be the world’s) the smartest messenger yet. It will let users chat with one another alongside is deeply integrated with Google Assistant, or Google’s alternative to bots. Allo comes with some interesting features like Whisper Shout and more that lets you add more emotion to your chats. Chats on Allo can also be encrypted and like the incognito mode on Google’s Chrome browser you also get an incognito mode in chat with end-to end encryption. Read more here.
Allo has been accompanied by a new video messaging app called Duo. Yes, if you haven't noticed, it is much like Apple splitting iMessages and FaceTime. Duo comes with an interesting feature called ‘Knock Knock’ that lets you preview what’s happening at the callers end, before you receive the video call. So when a call is ringing, you can actually see what’s happening on the other end before you place the call and it seems surprisingly natural.
At the I/O, we saw more on the Android N. To begin with, Android N will support the Vulkan graphics API for mobile, which helps to optimise the GPU component of your chipset to give a better gaming performance. It will come with Just in Time compiler to ensure a 75 percent boost in app installations and 50 percent reduction in compilation code. Google has gone all out with productivity features such as Recents menu has been updated to view the last seven opened apps, Clear All button, Quick Switch to access your last used app by double tapping the recents screen and so on. Along with productivity, it is also said to be more secure. Android N will come with a native support for VR. Read more here.
Android Instant apps
The new Android Instant apps lets you access apps from anywhere without installing. It will let you run Android apps as seamlessly as loading a webpage. And, it is compatible all the way back to Jelly Bean. Read more here.
Amazon's Echo has been receiving accolades, and so Google decided it should get a competitor. It has introduced Google Home, a small device that works like the Amazon Echo but it is powered by the Google Assistant. The Google Home will be a control centre for your home and your voice will be the remote control. Set alarms, manage to do list, connect smart home, home networking syncing, Nest devices and so on. Further in the future it will be able to control stuff outside your homes – opening garage doors, ordering flowers, etc.
Combining the power of search and machine learning, Google has announced a powerful search assistant that will not only provide relevant search results, but will offer better answers to follow up questions. An update to something the Google Now already does. You can put out a query and get an answer followed by more questions as Google picks up a conversation and keeps returning the correct or relevant answers. The service is already integrated in Google’s new smart messaging app conversational Allo to act as a chat bot picking up words from your conversations and giving suggestions, say maybe a coffee shop or the nearest movie hall where your favourite movie is being played.
Android Wear 2.0
Android Wear also gets its biggest overhaul ever since 2014. With the Wear 2.0, developers can now make data from their app appear on any watch face. The new changes are bringing in a new experience when using the watch. It will ensure that watches rely less on their phones. Wear 2.0 also introduces a full-fledged API for complications. The Complications API allows app developers to pass raw data to watch faces. Interestingly, Google also adds two new input methods namely, a tiny little swipe-style keyboard and a handwriting recognition mode. Find out more.
Xiaomi Mi Box
At the I/O, Google announced its newest Android TV devices, which is none other than the Xiaomi-built Mi Box. Xiaomi announced a new version of its Mi Box running Android TV and supports 4K. And, it will ship to the US. Google also announced other partners. For instance, new TVs from Sony Bravia and RCA will also run Android TV.
Google VR headset
Google has announced what it calls a reference design of its VR device. It definitely looks more polished than the Cardboard.
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