The annual Google I/O developer event has gotten hugely popular over the years as Google has increasingly used it to announce major products and OS updates. Getting a ticket to Google I/O is not a sure thing, but you can throw your hat into the ring starting right now. Just make sure you've got enough cash to cover the newly inflated ticket prices.
Google I/O is but months away, so it's right about time to start organizing the trip. There's one problem: tickets. As with previous years, getting tickets is a random affair, with Google making no preference about who attends, developer or not. As such, the application period entry is from February 22 10AM PST until February 27 at 5PM PST.
I/O this year is at the Shoreline Amphitheater - the same venue as last year - in Mountain View, on May 17-19. In 2016, Google gave out sunscreen and sunblock to attendees, although I've heard numerous people grumble about it being too hot, too sunny, and not enough water supplied.
If you can remember, Google displayed a Paper Planes interactive map at the Google I/O keynote before the actual presentation began. Users in the audience could catch and throw paper planes, with the planes themselves flying all across the world. If you need a refresher, this is what it looked like at I/O.
Google I/O 2016 came to a close on Friday, and it marked our sixth year in attendance to Google's annual developer bash. A great many topics were covered from divisions all over Google, with lots of announcements big and small, both consumer and developer-facing. Our first I/O recap covered the front half of the show, while Mark takes a look at some of the announcements from Google's ATAP division as well as shares some thoughts on the show and news overall this year.
Looking to get your head around the majority of the announcements at Google I/O? We've got a video for that. Our summary of all the announcements from the keynote and day one of the show will catch you up with the major happenings at I/O 2016, with our very own Mark Burstiner.
It's alright if you've already forgotten about Project Soli - with all of the crazy futuristic stuff that the Google Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) team works on, it's easy to get confused. Essentially, Soli is a system that adapts radar-style techniques into tiny hardware in order to enable the tracking of hands and fingers (or anything else, really) which in turn allows software to recognize hand gestures with precision and accuracy that beats anything on the consumer market today. It's pretty cool - watch this video from last year's Google I/O for a crash course.
There were plenty of features announced at Google I/O yesterday regarding Android and some of those new things are meant for Android Auto - Google's car dashboard system. The most exciting of them is the fact that you will no longer need an Auto-enabled vehicle to be able to benefit from the simplified car-friendly interface while you're driving. You can also learn more about the features in our video, below.
In the next few months, Android Auto will get several interesting additions. First is Waze compatibility with the app running on your dashboard and keeping you in the loop of hazards ahead and potential delays and problems. Second is OK Google hotwording which will activate voice commands when you say "OK Google" instead of requiring you to press a button to start listening.
You might have noticed that there aren't a lot of Android TV boxes around. Aside from the original Nexus Player, the much-recommended NVIDIA SHIELD, and the generally regrettable Razer Forge TV, only a few somewhat random cable boxes and some Sony televisions are using Google's living room version of its mobile OS. But there's a surprise entry announced at Google I/O 2016: Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi. Its "Mi Box" Android TV device ticks all of the hardware boxes, but what's even more surprising is that it's coming to the United States.
I had a quick sit-down with leads on the Android TV and Google Cast team today, and while it's not exactly a huge deal, one of Android TV's oddly lacking features came up: app star ratings and reviews. They don't exist on Android TV.
Well, unsurprisingly, the Android TV team is very much aware of this. Sascha Prüter, Program Manager of Android TV, confirmed that Google is working on the feature, and that challenges on implementation in the area of user experience have been the hold-up. Admittedly, that does seem like a good reason - how are Android TV users, especially those not in the habit of using their phone as a remote, going to input text in an app review?