“Google I/O 2016 brings together developers for an immersive, three-day experience focused on exploring Go.” This is the phrase that Google has chosen to describe this year’s I/O conference. I/O was started in 2008. The “I” and “O” stand for input/output, and “Innovation in the Open”. Featuring highly technical, in-depth sessions focused on building web, mobile, and enterprise applications with Google, this is a conference that many in the industry have been attending the past two days.
The conference also has focuses on open web technologies such as Android,Chrome, Chrome OS, and more. This year, Google has once again provided industry headlines. Android N, Google Daydream, Google Home and the new Allo and Duo apps were the stars of the opening keynote.
Android N has been quite the talk at I/O this year. The revamped version of the Android OS, though still in beta, already focuses on many new updates and features. With a new splitscreen multitasking feature, Android will provide this feature not only on Pixel C tablets but on phones as well. With some other updates to the notifications and settings UI/UX, the new version of Android also features keyboard themes and new emoji. But of course, the one thing that sets it apart from previous android versions is the implementation of virtual reality, through Daydream. Unfortunately for most current Nexus phone holders, this new OS will not be introduced onto these devices.
Daydream is Google’s Android-powered VR platform. Daydream-ready phones, as well as VR viewers and motion controllers, will be available this fall. Daydream — which encompasses both hardware and software — is a more advanced successor to Cardboard. Daydream will work on new Android N phones with specific components like special sensors and screens. Google has announced eight hardware partners that will make Daydream-ready phones, including Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus, and Alcatel.
Google Home is a voice-activated home product that allows you and your family to get answers from search, stream music, and manage everyday tasks. Home is a voice-activated product that brings the Google assistant to any room in your house via a Wi-Fi-connected speaker. Combining with the Nest series of products, the goal is to provide you with the ability to control your smart home devices through voice command; play a song, check your schedule, or turning on and off the lights can be done with the a simple sentence. Despite the possibilities, Home has been a topic that seems to have been in a discussion of controversy for the general public since it’s announcement.
ALLO AND DUO
“Allo is a smart messaging app that makes your conversations easier and more expressive.”
Allo is a messaging app with AI built into it. Allo has Smart Reply built in; it “learns over time” and will show suggestions that are likely versions of your regular personal responses. The app also includes Expressions, which are essentially amped-up versions of emojis and stickers. For example, the Whisper Shout feature allows you to size your text by sliding your finger down up or down.
Duo is the one-to-one video calling app that Google has announced with Allo. Though separate, they have their similarities in the basics: they are based off your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phone book. The Knock Knock feature on Duo allows you to see a live video previous of the caller before you pick up. Once you answer, Duo seamlessly transitions you right into the call. Both Allo and Duo will be available this summer on Android and iOS.