Sunday, May 22, 2016

Top 8 Announcements From Google I/O 2016



For last 4 years, Google I/O is one of the most important yearly events for me. I always watch it with admiration of a child.

Google I/O 2012 was really great and the keynote was astonishing. Google Glass presentation alone was enough to blow my mind.

Google I/O 2016 started May 18 and lasted up to May 20 and I think it was much better than the last two. Google announced many new things and some of these I really can call innovative (such as Clear All button in recent apps screen, thank you Google).

So let's review some of the new announcements.

Virtual Reality Comes To Your Phone


On the keynote, Google presented brand new virtual reality platform called Daydream. It's built on top of Android N and allows you to go virtual with just your phone. 

The main idea is that virtual reality should be accessible for anyone, anywhere. And Google Cardboard showed us that it can be.

And now Google taking it seriously. They presented specs for phones that they call Daydream-ready and Google says that some of them will be available this fall from such manufacturers as Samsung, HTC, LG, and Huawei.

Also, there are reference designs for headsets, that will bring us a variety of headsets from those manufacturers.

Apps for Daydream are already shipping from companies like The NewYork Times, Netflix, HBO. But what is a virtual reality without games that will bring you into the action and cause adrenaline surge? Ubisoft and Electronic Arts are already developing for Daydream too!

Google itself made VR versions of their apps. Such as YouTube, StreetView, Play Movies, and Google Photos. Also, there is VR version of Google Play Store so, you don't even need to install apps before going virtual you can do it on the fly.




Assistant

In the beginning of the keynote, Sundar Pichai announced Google Assistant. It's more intelligent version of the software that handled requests to Google Now.

It has similar to Google Now functionality but it's aimed at conversation and context of requests. You can ask it a chain of questions or request and it'll behave depending on the context of your conversation with it. 

For example, during the keynote, Sundar Pichai asked Assistant about movies that were playing tonight, and after a short conversation, Sundar ended up with 4 tickets to Jungle Book. By the way, he mentioned that he have already seen it and it's great, so great that it worth to watch several times.

I think, that it's great how Google and other companies bring fundamental researches to the users. Assistant brings years of Googles research in the field of natural language to your phone, watch, car, desktop, and even home.

Google Home

Google Home is a layer between the devices for home and the user.

Generally, it's the computer that is always at your service and it integrates into a broad range of other services. You can change temperature or lighting in your home with something like Nest, play your favorite songs from Spotify, play a movie on your TV, or just make requests like you would do with Assistant on your phone.

When Google will provide API for Google Home number of its applications will only grow. And we will have "an ambient experience that extends across devices" as Sundar said.

Communication


Throughout the keynote, Google presented two apps for communicating with those who matters.

One of them is Allo

It strongly reminds me Telegram. Allo provides emojis, custom stickers, and message encryption. Also, there is the ability to draw on photos before sending them and to set the font size of your message. 

And has two options of signing up with your phone number, or with your Google account. Also, it's mobile-only that I personally think is the disadvantage.

The reason, why it reminds me Telegram is that there is built-in Google Assistant that works just as Telegram bots. You can write directly to @google and ask questions or make reservations, scheduling etc. or you can call to it in your conversation with someone else, so the other person would see its answers. In my opinion, it's generalization of Telegram chat bots.

Also, Assistant can suggest you quick answers to your friends' messages. It even can determine what pictured in the photo that your friend sent and generate an answer based on that. In Google, they call it "suggestion chips".


And the host Eric Kay is a really funny guy. It'd be great to have a conversation with him using one of the new Googles messaging apps. :) 

Video chats become more natural with Duo

Duo is a video chatting app that will compete with Apples' FaceTime. Splitting up messaging and video chatting is a great decision that Apple made a long time ago. It keeps both apps clear and simple and doesn't mess up the user experience. 

There is the feature called "Knock Knock" that shows you the preview of the person that calls you before you even answer. In my opinion, it makes this video chatting more natural because in real life you really see the person before starting a conversation.

 Here is the self-explanatory video

Android is constantly growing

The reason why I chose Android development over all other software development fields is because Android is growing really fast. You will never be bored if you are an Android developer, every year there's something new. You can build apps for mobile, tablets, desktop, cars, watches almost everything that touches us in our everyday life. 

New in Android N

What was presented in I/O is primarily features that were in the developer preview. Such things as new emojis, split-screen mode, and quick settings. Also, there were presented new features including new notifications and picture-in-picture multitasking mode for android TV.

For developers, there are Java 8 support and the bunch of new APIs.

N provides new graphic API called Vulkan which is low-level, low-overhead, cross-platform API for high-performance, 3D graphic and I think it's really great for Daydream.

N is in beta until later this summer, and you can try it today. 

Also, Google encourages you to come up with the name for the new version of Android. I suggested Nobannic which is reversed Cinnabon.

Android Wear 2.0

Google announced the biggest update of Android Wear since 2014. 

It makes your wearable devices more autonomous and less dependent on your smartphone that means, that it's not anymore required to bring your smartphone anywhere you go. Taking into account that many people using watches for sports activities it's a great update.  

Also, there are features like automatic exercise recognition, that will help you to track your sports goals without direct action to do so.

And now you can show information from any app on any watch face that makes them more customizable.

Ambient browsing experience

For me, it seems like some kind of magic. I don't really understand how it works yet but it's relly nice feature.

I talk about Instant Apps. This was announced during the keynote as well and it really enhances the way mobile users browse the web.

The main idea is that you don't need to install an application to open it on your phone. Now Android loads required parts of an application when you need it. 

Imagine, your friend sends you the URL to Star Wars movie page on IMDB and you have no IMDB app installed and instead of opening it in a browser it will open this page as if you have this app. 

Really nice feature.

Summary

It's very few of what was presented on Google I/O 2016. You can watch all recordings on I/O 2016 page.

I will post about I/O for several weeks because there were really many new things, especially for developers.

So, see you next week, peace.

P.S. Leave your comment in the section bellow and let me know what You've liked the most from I/O 2016.

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