For Android people, Google I/O is both frenetic excitement — all the announcements! — and a huge party. But main takeaways are the products and services that will affect the way developers and consumers interact with Google products every day.
Here are all the major announcements from Google I/O 2017!
Android O beta is live
The Android O public beta, and the second Android O Developer Preview, is now available to download on your Pixel or Nexus device!
Android engineering lead Dave Burke told attendees that Android Wear 2.0 is launching on watches from 24 of the world's top watch manufacturers. And in the living room, this year, Google will be bringing the Assistant to Android TV, with a new launcher UI.
Google announced Fluid Experiences in Android O — demonstrating picture-in-picture mode in O for the first time as part of a more intuitive multitasking setup.
Notification dots make Android's notifications smarter, with the ability to long-press on icons in the launcher to preview details of that app's alerts.
Autofill with Google lets you take the pain out of setting up a new phone or tablet, letting you bring usernames and passwords saved through Chrome on the web, or older phones, into apps you're setting up on a new device. In O, on-device machine learning can automatically select phrases, names, addresses and phone numbers by double-tapping anywhere the item.
A new special version of TensorFlow, called TensorFlow Lite, will help developers work with neural nets to for smarter AI-enabled capabilities.
Google Play Protect — an extension of the Verify Apps — codifies many of the security features that have been in Google Play for the past several years. Google scans 50 billion apps per day to keep harmful stuff out of the Play Store.
And Google is making Kotlin an officially supported language in Android, an existing robust language that developers have been asking for, giving them a much-wanted alternative to Java.
Google announced Android Go, a new platform focusing on optimizing the latest release of Android for low-specced, low-cost devices. There'll be a new set of Google apps using less memory and data, and a version of the Play Store that highlights apps suitable for Go devices.
Data management is front and center in Android Go, with a quick settings button for data allowances. Data saver in Chrome is enabled by default. And YouTube Go lets users download YouTube videos on Wi-Fi to watch later on-the-go.
Google's "Building for Billions" initiative will help developers work to best practices for creating apps targeting emerging markets.
Every Android release from O onwards will have a "Go" version for low-memory devices. The first Android Go devices will ship from 2018.
Daydream, VR and AR
Google announced that LG's next flagship phone, launching later this year, will support Daydream. And Samsung's Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus will add Daydream support this summer with a software update.
A new kind of Daydream VR device is coming — standalone VR headsets with components built specifically for VR. Partners include Qualcomm, which makes the reference headset. The first standalone consumer Daydream headsets will come from HTC and Lenovo, coming later in the year.
In the world of augmented reality, ASUS's Tango-enabled ZenFone AR will be launching summer.
In other Tango news, Google announced its Visual Positioning Service — VPS — which can help you find specific objects in the real world, relying on key visual feature points. For example, you might be able to find a specific kind of screwdriver in a hardware store. And Expeditions will help bring AR to the classroom with interactive educational experiences.
Android passes 2 billion active devices
The enormous growth of Android continues, with the OS passing the 2 billion active device milestone. "It's a privilege to serve users at this scale," Google CEO Sundar Pichai said during the opening minutes of the keynote.
In other milestones, Google revealed that Drive has 800 million users, and Photos has 500 million, with some 1.2 billion photos being uploaded per day
Google Lens announced
Google Lens is a set of vision based computing capabilities that can identify things in the real world using Google's AI and knowledge graph. Lens is effectively Google Goggles on steroids, and it'll be shipping first in Google Assistant and Photos, before arriving in other products.
Sundar Pichai gave a few examples of Lens's capabilities, including identifying specific flowers, finding camera at Wifi username and password by scanning a sticker, and identifying a restaurant in the real world.
Google.ai and TPU Cloud
Google.ai is the company's new AI platform for developers, allowing them to build machine learning applications in the cloud. Google.ai uses neural nets to design neural nets as part of a reinforcement learning approach, and Google is already using it in healthcare and pathology.
Google revealed that 100 million devices now have access to Google Assistant. And Assistant is about to get a whole lot smarter thanks to the capabilities of Google Lens, Assistant will be able to have a conversation with your about what's on your screen. In addition to all that, Google announced that you'll finally be able to directly type to Assistant.
What's more, Google Assistant will finally be coming to iPhone, as widely rumored in recent weeks.
The new Google Assistant SDK allows manufacturers to build Google Assistant into whatever device they want — from cars, TVs, drinks mixers to toys to home appliances, opening up the platform to significant new markets.
And new languages are coming too — French, German, Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese this summer, and Italian, Spanish and Korean by the end of the year.
Actions on Google
Actions on Google will be getting payment support, allowing food orders directly through voice in Google Assistant. The on-stage demo showed ordering from Panera, with alterations to order, pulling address and payment from existing data in the Google account.
This summer, Google Home will be launching in Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan. Proactive assistance will be coming to Google Home — for example, Google Home might light up, prompting you to ask Google what's up, to notify you you'll need to leave earlier to reach your next appointment.
Handsfree calling will be coming to Google Home, with free calls to anywhere in the U.S. and Canada. And thanks to multi-user support, asking Home to "call mom" will call the right person depending on who's asking.
On the entertainment front, new partners including HBO Now were announced, and users on Spotify's free service will be able to use Google's smart speaker in addition to the premium subscribers.
Bluetooth support will be coming to Google Home too, effectively turning it into Bluetooth speaker for iOS and other devices.
And Chromecast will be updated to show visual responses on your TV when you ask for help from Google Home — for example "show me my calendar" might bring up the result on your TV. Through Google Assistant, all the actions supported on other platforms will eventually be available on your TV.
Google Photos is getting new features to make sharing easier. Suggested Sharing can help you find the best pictures of your friends, and share them, using machine learning to recognize people in photos, and offers to share with that person, based on your own sharing patterns.
The new Shared Libraries feature can help to automate sharing of pictures of specific people, things or places. Shared Libraries can notify recipients of new photos, and automatically save photos to personal library — no more worrying about whose phone has which photos. Suggested Sharing and Libraries will be rolling out on iOS, Android and the web in the coming weeks.
Google Photo Books lets you print photos from your library, automatically selecting the best pics from a selection of your choice, based on search. Photo Books are available in the US now: Softcover books will cost for $9.99, with hardcover coming in at $19.99.
Google Lens support will be coming to Google photos too, using the power of Google's knowledge graph to help you learn more about what's in your photos.
Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube told keynote attendees that viewers watched 1 billion hours of content on the video platform in 2016.
360-degree video is coming to YouTube's TV app, including live 360 video. Using the TV remote, you can pan around the video.
Superchat, YouTube's paid promoted message system, is getting more creative. A new superchat API will let Superchats trigger actions in the real world, like turning the lights in a creator's studio.
Google for Jobs
Google for Jobs uses Google's AI to match applicants to jobs. 46% of employers have openings and issues finding talent, Sundar Pichai told attendees, "Google for Jobs is a commitment to use our products to help people find work." The Cloud jobs API was announced back in November, and is being used by FedEx, Carrier, Johnson & Johnson — the latter found 18% more applicants using the API.
Google for Jobs will offer filtering for relevance, new listings, full/part-time jobs, job title, with machine learning clustered in list.
More to come!
There's lots more to come at Google I/O, so stay tuned!
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