Google I/O may be over, but it left us with a lot to look forward to later this year. Google made many big announcements at its annual developer conference, including the new Android 12 beta that was launched on some of the best Android phones including the Google Pixel 5. Wear OS is also getting a massive overhaul thanks to the effort of both Samsung and Google, among updated to smart home, AI, and plenty more. That said, we want to know what your favorite announcement was from Google I/O 2021.
Android 12 beta is here
After several months of digging through developer previews, Google has finally released the beta for Android 12, bringing us one step closer to a stable release. With the beta, we finally get a look at the new system-wide theming that we've been getting hints of, as well as updated widgets, bolder visuals, and a more efficient OS.
Google also announced new privacy features for the platform that should make it easier to control the data collected by your phone's sensors.
- Google announces Android 12 beta with a ton of design and privacy changes
- Android 12 beta on Xiaomi, OnePlus, OPPO, and Vivo: Everything you need to know
- Google will finally bring seamless app updates to alternative app stores with Android 12
Wear OS is back in a big way
Samsung and Google have announced a partnership that aims to make Wear OS a true competitor to Apple's WatchOS. The companies claim that the new version is faster and more efficient, and developers will have plenty of tools to optimize their apps for the platform.
The announcement also introduced YouTube Music and Fitbit on Wear OS, and Spotify has committed to improving its own app with offline capabilities.
- Wear OS is now being co-developed with Samsung to attract developers, bring more customization
- Google Play will make it easier to pay for multiple items, allow Wear OS app installs from your smartphone
- YouTube Music and upgraded Spotify app to support offline playback on Google's Wear OS platform
AI is getting smarter
Several new updates were focused on AI capabilities, particularly with Google Assistant. The new LaMDA software is aimed at helping Google Assistant understand natural speech better for more free-flowing conversations. Developers are also able to take more Assistant capabilities in Android 12 widgets and in smart displays to help build better games for devices like the Nest Hub (2nd Gen).
- Google Assistant is going to get a lot more conversational with LaMDA
- Google Assistant is adding widgets to phones and full-screens smart display apps
- Google's new AI tool wants to diagnose your skin conditions
Can I have some privacy, please?
In addition to the new privacy features in Android 12 like the Privacy Dashboard, Google also announced additional updates for other applications. For example, Google Photos is getting a new Locked Folder to hide away your sensitive images so that they won't show up in your camera roll or smart displays. Google Maps is also getting helpful prompts to remind you when your location history is on.
On the security side, Google extending its password management system to help automate updating old or compromised passwords.
- Google will soon let you lock away your private images, delete the last 15 minutes of search history
- Google just made its password manager way more useful on Chrome and Android
What were your thoughts about Google I/O?
Of course, Google announced a ton of things over the course of the three-day conference. You can check out all of our Google I/O coverage here, and we've also rounded up some of biggest announcements that you may have missed, but comment below to let us know what your favorite announcements were.
Get Android 12 first
The Google Pixel 5 is one of the best value flagship smartphones. It has exceptional cameras, fast updates and is usually the first to gain the latest features arriving on Android. If you're an early adopter, this phone will be the best choice to try Android 12 before most people.
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Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.
Samsung coming to teach Google how it's done
Android 12 and its Material You themes. Nothing else comes close for me and I want a Pixel and will get the Pixel 5 in about 3 months as I'm too impatient to wait for the Pixel 6 as the 5 will still be worth getting, for the software, updates and a great camera that does all the work thanks to Google's fantastic computational photography which suits me best as I'm a point and shoot guy so the Pixel camera is perfect for me as I find manual controls too complicated.
Wow, that's so fascinating
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