Google has announced a lot of news, improvements and developments that’s coming to Google’s various popular and dominating platforms. While some developments might be available in the coming weeks, some will only launch in a few months and next year. Let’s take a look.
It’s that time of the year again – Google I/O. Google has made not one, not two, but many announcements today at their developers conference. They have showcased the new developments they have been working on in the past year or so. A lot of improvements and new functionalities have been added to a lot of core platforms that will make your life easier as well as more manageable. We have combined all of the news in a single article so grab a cup of coffee, this may take a little bit of time to read.
ANDROID & O
First and foremost, Google has announced that Android O Beta is going to be available for the public to test out starting today. You can enroll your device on this page. Please not that you must have a compatible device included in the following list: Google Pixel/XL, Pixel C, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P or Asus Nexus Player.
As usual, we should expect to see 3 Betas coming in the next few months.
Android as an Operating System has reached 2 Billion active devices. Yes, you heard that right. 2 Billion active devices are being used every single month.
A lot of new features are coming to Android o this year. Android O will come with Project Treble that will modularise a few core parts of the Android OS helping Manufacturers update their devices to the latest version of Android at a much faster speed. This also means that Security Patches should arrive to phones much quicker than before.
Making a selection in Android O will be much faster and much simpler than before. Selecting a phone number, address, names will automatically select the whole text associated with the address, phone number making it easier for you to act quickly. It will also give you a quick shortcut for example: Selecting an address will give you the same pop-up window giving you options to copy, paste or cut, but in addition it will have Google Maps popping up letting you quickly paste it into Google Maps and direct you to your destination in the matter of seconds.
The Google Play Store will now have a security system shown for everyone under “My apps & games” screen. This will show people the applications scanned on the phone, giving you important information if an application might be risky to update or may contain a virus or other malicious content.
Battery life should be improved thanks to a lot of improvements including limiting applications to use the phone’s resources in the background, while not being used or while the phone’s screen may be turned off.
Autofill API will let you use your stored and saved passwords from the Chrome browser and use it in applications. So, if for example you save your password while signing in to Twitter on chrome, you’ll be seeing your username and password automatically be filled when downloading and installing the Twitter application on your device. This will surely make people have more security as they could be using more complex passwords not having to worry about not remembering them, or keep resetting their passwords every time they get a new device.
Notification badges will now appear on application icons. So if you receive a Facebook notification and you have your Facebook icon on your home screen, you’ll be seeing a badge on top of the facebook icon. This is very similar to the notification badge we’ve seen in IOS and is great to see it finally making it to Android.
Notifications will now be categorised into channels that users will be able to subscribe to. They will be able to be put into a silent mode too, meaning that you will no longer receive notifications from certain applications that you wish not to have pop-up on your screen every time.
Android will support Kotlin programming language. Kotlin is very similar to Java in terms of functions and overall the language itself, however Kotlin is more simple and requires less coding compared to Java. This will surely save a lot of time for developers and help them produce high quality applications faster. Kotlin is now also fully supported in the latest version Android Studio 3.0 as well.
There are of course a ton of “under the hood” changes promising much faster boot up time (twice as fact as before), enhancements, bug fixes, improved app performance.
During the the event we questioned ourselves: Is Android One dead? Answer: It seems like it is.
We so far know that Android Go is the new operating system that will be able to run on low-end devices having less than 1GB RAM (even 512MB!) and featuring low-end chipsets. Android Go will be targeted at developing countries where the higher-end of smartphones aren’t popular due to their high prices. This version of Android will be more compatible running applications on slow wireless connections and will have some goodies pre-installed such as: YouTube Go and other “Go” ending applications. This will allow users to save videos and watch them later. In addition, Android Go will be configured to run the whole operating system the same as the normal Android version would do, but with less requirements and resources needed. Think of Android Go as Android Lite.
The operating system will have the Data Saver activated by default, letting users save as much data as possible. This will also allow people to closely monitor their remaining Data allowances and use the full potential of the internet and other services.
Developers will be able to take advantage of Google’s new guidelines that will enable them to closely follow and publish their applications to the Play Store. Their applications would be ‘featured’ in the Play Store as it would be targeted at the next billion users.
The new Android Go enabled devices are going to arrive to the public in 2018.
There are a lot of improvements coming to Google assistant, but first let’s start it off with the fact that Google Assistant is available on IOS starting today. It can be downloaded here. Due to API restriction, the Assistant will not work the same way as it does on Android. What this means is that when the device’s screen is off, it cannot wake up and be triggered by “OK Google” phrase. It can do basic things though, such as saving reminders, play music via Spotify, set timers and so on.
Google Assistant is now supported on over 100 million Android devices all over the world. This will surely grow rapidly by the end of this year and we wouldn’t be surprised if this would cross over the 500 million mark by next year.
Google Assistant can now be used with text too. According to Google, they have implemented this feature as we have moments, or we may be at places when talking to our phones is simply not comfortable. We agree with this as we often find ourselves thinking on a bus journey remembering about making a note to remind ourselves later, but would feel uncomfortable speaking to our devices in front of others.
Google Assistant will be able to speak on new languages including: French, German, Portuguese and Japanese this summer. Italian, Spanish and Korean will also be added to this list by the end of this year.
Other new features to Assistant include better conversation handling, shopping, paying and ordering things via the application without ever needing to enter any pins, remembering about credit card numbers etc. Once you enter you card details into Google, Assistant will remember all of that information and ask you and confirm before making a purchase.
Last but not least, Google has also made an AI platform available for developers to work with. This will enable developers and companies to integrate Google Assistant into their own Speakers and other smart products.
YouTube is gaining 360 degree video compatibilities for TV and improved remote control through your TV remote.
YouTube will also have an improved look and functionality for Super Chat. Donations made during a live stream will now stand out more and the donators comments will now be featured in a better looking way. Donations should not go unnoticed anymore.
The Gmail application on both IOS and Android will now feature a Smart Reply feature. This works very much like the one that we have already seen in Allo. When you receive an email, you will be given 3 smart reply boxes on the bottom of the email. When you click on one of the responses, you’ll instantly be taken into editing mode where you can write more if you want and send it.
The Google Photos app has been getting a lot of love lately from Google and ever since it was released. In the coming weeks, it will be receiving an update that will let you share photos automatically with your loved ones and friends. The feature is going to be called: Suggested Sharing.
For example: If Joe wants to share his images of his children with his wife, but wishes not to share other, work related images, Google will automatically share the images with his wife that have the children in it. This will work by facial and other recognition and will not require any complex setup.
Photo Books will cost between $9.99 and $19.99. It will have soft and hard cover books offering you to get your most memorable images in a hard copy. It’s available in the US starting today and the new feature is going to be rolling out within the next 2 weeks. More countries should be available in the near future for similar prices.
Google Lens is a new application that will work very similarly to Samsung’s Bixby camera features, or Google’s own Googles application. It can scan receipts, landmarks, photos, people, translate words just by opening up the application.
Google Lens will basically be able to not only see, scan images, video and your camera, but also to give you details about the things that it sees. This great feature will also allow you to scan your friend’s WiFi password located on the back of their broadband, and connect to their WiFi instantly without requiring you to go into settings and manually enter the complex passwords.
Google lens will be available in Google Assistant and perhaps a standalone application. It is not known when it’s going to be released.
Google has announced that the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ will gain support for Daydream by this summer. No exact date has been given unfortunately.
They have also said that the new upcoming LG V30 will be Daydream ready by default, meaning that the device will be the first to feature an OLED display from LG. We expect seeing a QHD OLED screen at least.
Google has also revealed that they have partnered up with HTC, Qualcomm and Lenovo to make a standalone VR, Daydream ready headset. What’s known is that the headset will be featuring a Qualcomm chipset making it one of the most powerful VR devices.
Google has also said that they solved a number of issues related to navigating indoors while wearing the headset. The new technology is going to be using visual reference points, very similar to GPS in terms of functionality. It’s going to be called VPS.
Google didn’t go into detail explaining how the device would be powered. Since they have talked a lot about their new and improved Cloud, we wouldn’t be surprised if it would be powered by the powerful Cloud only requiring the user to have a good and reliable connection.
Improved sensors inside the headset may not require additional items to track movements and other activities indoors, helping people not to hit walls or fall off in a bed.
The real deal of AR is getting closer to be available for the mass public. Step-by-step, we are getting closer to be able to do things that we would have never imagined we could do with our smartphones.
VPS- Visual Positioning Service is a point mapping technology that recognises items, walls, doors and other things on your way while creating a computer visual image letting you get directions and show information in AR. VPS will guide you through a series of journeys when looking for a certain Picture at a Gallery or while wandering around at a Museum.
AR is also widely used in Education, letting children experience and learn about things that wasn’t possible before. AR opens up a whole new world, making children learn in a more effective and productive way.
You can also watch the whole Google I/O 2017 Keynote livestream on YouTube.
We are curious, what are you most excited to see from Google in the future? Let us know in the comments below!