While Google I/O gets a lot of attention for Android, Chrome, and Search, Google hasn't rested on its laurels for one of its most successful products: Maps. According to the I/O keynote presentation, over 100 improvements to the system are currently in the works, many of which are relying on new AI developments.
Last month, Google redesigned its Safety Center and added further resources to help you stay safe online. It details important privacy controls and offers tons of tips for protecting you and your family as they surf the web. Google promised to roll it out in 65 languages in the coming weeks, and now it's arrived in six European countries.
Pokémon Go developer Niantic Labs has announced a partnership with kid-focused web service company SuperAwesome to create a new platform called Niantic Kids Parent Portal. With it, parents can manage accounts for their kids, "review and approve [their] child’s permissions," and control what information about the child is shared.
The Android Auto team has been known to put safety above all else. Most people agree that's the best strategy, but there have been some scenarios where users have pointed out that certain decisions may be over-reaching, or they might not account for common scenarios. One of the biggest points of contention since the launch of Android Auto has been a feature that effectively locks users out of their phones while connected to Android Auto. In the last couple of days, users are now being presented with the ability to swipe up and unlock their phones to use them normally.
Recently, Samsung's Indian R&D released a new app called Walk Mode. It's advertised as notifying you if there is a danger present as you go about your business using your phone while walking. Safety is quite a noble endeavor for Samsung to be pursuing, and I'd like to say that the company's efforts paid off, but I would be lying.
Some people use the anonymity afforded by the internet to be jerks. Meanwhile, other people share too much personal information or get taken in by fake news. Google is looking to help the next generation be better at using the internet than we are, and it's doing it with the "Be Internet Awesome" campaign. It's a program that includes resources for parents and educators, and some games for kids. Well, they're educational games, but that still counts.
Instagram is making some changes to improve the user experience on its service. Social media in general can bring about some great conversations, but there are always those who like to ruin good things. So, the Facebook-owned company is adding some new tools and controls to help users feel safer and to keep the platform a place for self-expression.
Electronics and cars are a tricky combination. While the advantages of systems like in-dash navigation and text-to-speech SMS reading are obvious, every extra gadget that travels with you while you're driving has the potential to be a dangerous distraction. Google may be looking to solve that problem, at least as it applies to wearable devices like Android Wear watches. A recent patent published by the USPTO indicates that Google has developed (or at least conceptualized) a system for detecting whether a wearable user is actively driving the vehicle or merely a passenger.