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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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