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What You Need to Know from Google I/O 16

Google IO 16 What you need to know

If you are a business type that wants to make $1 million or more at your next job, then Google I/O 16, is an event you should follow.

Since when is a techie event critical learning for business types?  Because it updates you on how far many of the technologies have come and, if Google is doing it, you can be sure there are a number of great competitors that may be doing it better.

At this year’s Google I/O 16 there were some great innovations that were showcased from a new home virtual assistant to the new realities of Virtual Reality.

As Machine Learning becomes more of an everyday application Google presented how they are applying Machine Learning to Google’s core products.

Here is a quick summary of some of the key learnings:

Google Home

Google is definitely playing catch up with Amazon’s Echo and is launching its own virtual assistant for your home later this year.  This voice activated device is also meant to be placed in your home and allows for access to Google without your phone or desktop.  Google likens this to a controller for the home that is capable of communicating with in home gadgets like smart home items including light bulbs and Nest thermostats.  We’ll be watching to see how fast they catch up to Amazon Echo and if Google is able to leapfrog past Echo’s capabilities.

Google Assistant

You may have already seen a “beginner” form of Google Assistant on your Android phone but at Google I/O 16 Google talked about how it is upping the capabilities with the later this year introduction of Google Assistant. GA will understand natural language better than its previous voice search and will put queries into context so that users can say less and learn more.  The Google Assistant will also offer suggestions based on your queries like if you want to find a restaurant it may also suggest some other nearby.  The messaging app Allo will incorporate the Google Assistant.

Google Allo

If you combine a text messaging app with a virtual assistant then you will have Allo.  Launching this summer for Android and IOS, Allo will make intelligent observations about your conversations and then provide relevant information.   Imagine inviting a friend out to dinner and they write back for a suggestion for steak restaurants near the Empire State Building? Allo will automatically supply you with a list to choose from.

Google Daydream

Not to be left out, Google is moving headfirst into Virtual Reality with its Android platform. At Google I/O 16 they announced Daydream, a mobile platform for Android designed to enable companies to creat high-quality virtual reality experiences. Google has already started working with Samsung, HTC and LG to add sensors and screens that can make their devices more useable for virtual reality. An upcoming version of Android, to be released later this year, will be optimized to run virtual reality content.  In the future your “Daydream” to be deep sea fishing for Tuna may become a virtual reality using a headset like Gear VR, the smartphone based VR headset from Samsung.

Android N

The next version of Android is without a name. Google is just calling it “N” for now. Want your 15 minutes of fame?  Google Google is inviting the public to submit names beginning with N.

Android Wear Updates

Still itching to have everyone wearing Google, at Google I/O 16 Google announced that they have issued an update to its wearable tech software to bring more functionality to Android driven smartwatches.   The big takeaway was the ability for apps to run independently of the smartphone their associated with.

At the event, Google’s Director of Android Wear, David Singleton, sent messages and launched apps even though his phone was turned off. The watches till need Wi-Fi or cellular access to the internet but still pretty cool.  Some other additions include automatic exercise recognition as well as recognition for replying to text messages

We have provided an excerpt of some of the presentation in a video with the transcript of the audio following:

 

Sundar Pichai, CEO Google: Welcome. Welcome to Google I/O.

 

We are pushing ourselves really hard so that Google is evolving and staying a step ahead of our users. This is why we are evolving search to be much more assistive. Today we are announcing the Google Assistant.

 

We think of the Assistant in a very specific way. We think of it as a conversational assistant. We want users to have an ongoing two-way dialogue with Google.

 

You can ask Google, who directed The Revenant?

 

Google Assistant: The Revenant was directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu.

 

Sundar: You can follow that up with the question, show me his awards. Notice that I didn’t say the name, which I’m glad because I find that name very, very hard to pronounce. Google could pick that conversation up and return the right answer.

 

We’ve been thinking hard about how to bring this vision of Google Assistant into your home. To give you a preview, I’m going to invite Mario from the Chromecast team.

 

Mario Queiroz, VP Product Management Google: Today we want to give you an early preview of how we’re bringing the Google Assistant to the home. This is why we’re creating Google Home, a device which will be available later this year.

 

Google Home lets you enjoy music and entertainment throughout your entire house, manage everyday tasks more easily, and as Google what you want to know.

 

With Google Home, we set out to create and design a beautiful product that’s warm and inviting and fits naturally in many areas of the home. We think it’ll be a beautiful addition to any room in your house. We’re even more excited about what it’s going to do for you. Google Home will be available later this year.

 

Sundar: Another core use case on users phones is communications, but given our advancements in machine learning, we wanted to approach this core use case with a new perspective. Erik Kay is going to join to talk to you more about it.

 

Erik Kay, Director Engineering, Google: Communications is all about sharing life’s moments, so today we’re giving you a look at what we’ve been up to with two new communication apps that show what’s possible when we bring Google technology to this essential human activity.

 

The first is a new messaging app called Allo. Allo is a smart messaging app. It learns over time to make conversations easier, more expressive, and more productive. We designed Allo to help you express yourself and keep the conversation going.

 

Let’s look at whisper/shout. Rather than tapping the send button, he slides it down to whisper and slides it up again to shout. Down to whisper and up again to shout.

 

Another way Allo helps you express yourself is by letting you type less. When Joy asks, “Dinner later?” That Ahmed offered two smart replies suggestions. “I’m busy” and “I’m in.” The more you use Allo the better the suggestions will become.

 

Now I want to show you something really cool. Allo even offers smart replies when people send photos to you. The intelligence behind smart rely also gives you a taste at how assistive technology can make your message experience simpler and more productive.

 

The Google Assistant, built right into Allo, takes it every farther. I’m pleased to introduce one of our leads, Rebecca, to tell you more about the assistant in Allo.

 

Rebecca Michael, Product Marketing Manager, Google: Since you heard earlier, the Google Assistant is an ongoing dialogue between you and Google that helps you get things done in you world.

 

I’m going to show you how the Assistant can help in Ahmed and Joy’s conversation. The Assistant intelligently recognizes that they could use some tips for Italian restaurants nearby, and you can see it’s proactive suggestion at the bottom of the screen there. In Allo, Ahmed and Joy could choose and reserve a restaurant right there in the chat in a natural and seamless way.

 

You can also have a one-on-one chat with Google. Ahmed’s a big Real Madrid fan and he wants to know how they got on in their last match. He asks the assistant, did my team win. Looks like they did. We can keep going like this and find more news about the team just by tapping on the suggestions there. That was the Assistant in Allo.

 

Erik: Allo is all about messaging, but let me talk to a minute about video calling. I’d like to introduce you to Duo, a simple one-to-one video calling app for everyone. Duo is the video companion to Allo. It’s fast and performs well even on slow networks. It works on both Android and iOS.

 

Here’s a feature that makes Allo really special. Knock Knock shows you a live video stream of the caller before you’ve even picked up. As you can see, and Elena apparently too is popping there, I haven’t even picked up yet, but Ava’s right there, smiling and making funny faces. I can tell she’s really eager to talk so let’s answer it.

 

Ava: Hi Dad!

 

Erik: Hi Ava, hi Elena.

 

Elena: Hi Dad!

 

Bye!

 

Erik: (laughs) Oops.

 

Both Allo and Duo will be available this summer on Android and iOS.

 

To talk to a bit about Android, I’d like to invite to the stage our resident rock star, Dave Burke.

 

David Burke, VP Engineering, Android, Google: Android is the most popular OS in the world, so let’s talk about what’s new in the platform. Let’s jump straight in and talk about some of the biggest changes in N around performance, security, and productivity.

 

With N, we’re making our biggest leap forward with the introduction of Vulkan. Vulkan is a modern 3D graphics API, designed to give game developers direct control of the GPU to produce incredible graphics and compute performance.

 

Second, we’ve added a new just in time or JIT compiler, and JIT compilation means that app installs are much faster, 75% faster in N. Now users can get up and running in your apps much more quickly.

 

With N, we’re continuing to strengthen our defenses in three key ways. First, N introduces file-based encryption. Second, we learned the importance last year of hardening the security of the media framework. Third, N automatically keeps your phone up-to-date with the latest version of the system software without you have to do anything. That pesky Android is upgrading dialogue is finally gone.

 

A third area of focus for us, is our continued effort to improve productivity. We decided to simplify but automatically removing apps in the list that you haven’t used in a while. Also, based on popular demand, we finally added a clear all button at the top.

 

Notifications is another area we’ve worked on to improve productivity in Android. We’ve added a new direct reply feature, which lets you quickly reply to a message like so. Android is the first mobile platform to support the new Unicode 9.0 emoji standard. Unicode 9.0 also brings 72 new emoji glyphs. Now you can let your friends know, for example, when you’re dancing like the left shark while juggling and eating avocado toast in order to win first prize in the selfie contest.

 

We’re still putting the final touches on the end release and we expect to launch it later this summer. There’s one more area in N that we’ve been working hard on. That we haven’t talked about yet and to tell you more about what it is, let you invite up Clay Bavor.

 

Clay Bavor, VP Virtual Reality, Google: Thank you, Dave. I’m Clay Bavor and I lead the virtual reality team at Google. Just to get right to it, virtual reality is coming to Android N.

 

What we’ve built won’t be available until this fall, but we’d like to introduce you to it today. We call it Daydream. Daydream is our platform for high quality mobile virtual reality and in it are all of the ingredients you need to create incredible, immersive VR experiences. We’ve introduced what we call VR Mode as part of Android N. We’ve worked at all levels of the Android stack to optimize it for VR.

 

This is obvious, but a VR headset, it’s something that you wear. It has to have great optics, has to be comfortable, but the controller, how you interact with VR, it’s just as important. Let’s have a look.

 

That’s it for VR in Android. To tell you about wearable in Android, I’d like to turn it over to David Singleton.

 

David Singleton, Director Android Wear, Google: Today, I’m sharing a preview of our biggest platform update yet. Android Wear 2.0. We know that most important role of your watch is helping you stay connected to what matters. That’s why we’re evolving the platform to build even better experiences for the watch face, messaging, and fitness.

 

With Android Wear 2.0, apps can be standalone. That means the apps on your watch can have direct network access to the cloud and that means a fast and richer on-watch experience for both Android and iPhone users.

 

Starting today, developers can download a preview of Android Wear 2.0 and everyone will be able to enjoy these exciting new watch experiences in the fall.

 

Ellie Powers, Group Product Manager, Google Play, Google: Hey everybody, I’m Ellie from the Android team. We’ll be showing you a sneak peak of a new project. We’re evolving Android apps to run instantly, without installation. We call this Android Instant Apps.

 

B&H Photo and Video has a beautiful Android app, but I don’t have it on my phone because I don’t shop for cameras every day. With one tap, the app opens up right to the bag I want to buy. I can also swipe here and see more details about the bag.

 

You should know that Instant Apps is going to be compatible all the way back to Jellybean. With that, I’ll hand it back to Sundar.

 

Sundar: Things previously thought to be impossible may in fact be possible. We look forward to building this future together with all of you. Thank you for joining us at Google I/O.

 

 

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