One of the more exciting revelations at the opening keynote of Google I/O 2016 is "Assistant," Google's upcoming expansion of its search tools. Explaining exactly what Assistant is and isn't is a bit tricky, because it both integrates a lot of existing Google technology and spills over into other upcoming services, like Google Home and Allo. Essentially, it's a new way to interact with Google Search, with the intention being that you "speak" with it in a more human fashion. Read More
Hangouts is Google's unified messaging app, but there's something completely new on the way. At I/O 2016, Google just announced Allo. It's a messaging client that's connected to your phone number rather than an email (like WhatsApp). Google has included various smart prediction features, Google Assistant, and of course, stickers (yay). Read More
Fans of Android Wear have plenty to be excited about. A major update was just announced during the Google I/O 2016 keynote with many of the features users have been looking forward to. The headlining additions to the platform focus largely on more advanced watchfaces, improvements for messaging, and expanded integration and more automatic use of the Google Fit platform. A Preview program is also being launched for Wear, so developers will be able to work on new apps for the platform before official rollouts begin.
If you want a quick overview of what's new, watch our Wear 2.0 hands-on video. Read More
Sometimes content is just best accessed in its native app. But just as often, we have no need for that app beyond a single specific instance. To deal with this inefficiency, Google is introducing Android Instant Apps. For content that is deep-linked into participating apps, the app will seamlessly download and install to let you use it in that very moment.
The key to this working out, said Google's Ellie Powers, is having participating apps be built with modules. Read More
The third iteration of the Android N dev preview is starting to hit devices, so it's time to turn that test unit back on. Google announced a few new goodies during the I/O keynote today, and they'll be available to play with in the latest N build. Read More
The past year has been good for Android. As Google likes to do during each of its annual developer conferences, it happily boasted about a few numbers. Engineering Vice President Dave Burke appeared happy to give the news.
Companies launched over 600 phones in the past year. During this time, Android users installed apps over 65 billion times. Read More
While maybe not the biggest change in Android N, Google announced a few interface changes to app switching that were particularly well-received during the I/O keynote. A couple of them had already popped up in the Developer Previews, but the keynote serves as confirmation that they will make it to the final builds. A change that is new to all of us is that there will be a reduction in the number of apps shown in the recent apps UI. Anything that hasn't been used "in a while" will be hidden from the user.
This, Google says, is because their user research showed that over 99% of users never accessed an app further back than 7 in the recent apps UI. Read More
Google handed out the first Cardboard viewers at I/O two years ago, which was a nice casual take on VR. With Android N, Google will start taking VR seriously. Daydream is the name for Google's new VR platform, which will include specifications for phones that properly support VR, headset reference designs, and a revamped VR interface/store. Read More
A new version of Android is on the way, but Google isn't announcing a name at Google I/O. All throughout the keynote, the next release continues to go by Android N.
That's set to change in the fall when the update starts appearing on new devices. But before then, Google needs to come up with a name. Read More
Everyone's favorite online Photo management tool, Google Photos, is pretty popular. At the company's annual developer conference, I/O, Google just announced that Photos has over 200 million monthly active users, with over 2 trillion labels automatically applied to a variety of different photos. CEO Sundar Pichai said a lot of these were labelling selfies, which is mind-boggling when you think just how many selfies must be taken every day.
These usage statistics are pretty cool, especially for a product which only launched at last year's I/O. I personally use Google Photos for all my photo management, and can attest to how well thought out I find the entire product. Read More