Google held its 2017 I/O conference yesterday where it showcased its new projects and roadmaps for products like Google Home, Google Assistant, and Android. For tech fans, it’s a great way to find out what the tech giant is up to these days!
There are tons of exciting reports pertaining to new technologies, the future of virtual reality and other upcoming products but these are the top five announcements we liked the most:
1. Android O and Android Go
Google’s released its first public beta for the next big Android update, Android O. Android O brings numerous tweaks that should improve its stability and security – faster boot times, better battery management, more feedback on app security. A variety of O’s new features like “Fluid” multitasking, picture-in-picture, notification dots, smart copy/paste and text auto-fill aim to enhance Android’s user experience, as well.
A lightweight version of Android dubbed Android Go was also introduced. Android Go is aimed at low-priced, low-powered phones with at least 512MB of RAM, commonly sold for developing markets. A separate version of the Play Store with apps is optimized for Android gadgets with low memory and bandwidth. With Android Go, Google is hoping to capture its “next billion” of Android users by tapping developing markets.
2. Google Assistant on the iPhone
Google Assistant is now available on the iPhone as an alternative to Apple’s virtual assistant Siri. It will come as its own app separate from Google Search.
While you can bark orders at Google Assistant with your voice, the iOS version will be limited compared to the Android version due to Apple’s API restrictions. This means it can do basic actions like send texts or play songs but it can’t send emails via Apple Mail, launch apps nor set alarms.
You can download iOS Google Assistant now from the Apple App Store.
3. Google Home does phone calls
Google also announced that it’s adding a new phone call feature to its Google Home smart speaker. (Note: If you can recall, Amazon already added this feature to the Echo.) This welcome feature is rolling out to Google Homes over the coming months.
Google Home only supports outgoing calls for now and calls to the speaker itself are still not possible. The company said it only supports outbound calls for now because of privacy concerns.
4. Google Lens
Google Lens is augmented-reality for Google Assistant. With this technology, you can use your phone’s camera to analyze your surroundings and Assistant will instantly give relevant information and feedback based on where you point it.
For example, you can point your camera at a restaurant and it’ll show you its reviews. Or point it at a concert poster to view relevant info about the featured band. Another cool feature is instant Wi-Fi network logins when you scan wireless network credentials.
— Google (@Google) May 17, 2017
5. Google Photos Suggested Sharing and Photobooks
Google announced a bunch of new features for its Photos service. First, a new feature called Suggested Sharing will suggest that you share your photos with the people it recognizes to be in the picture itself. Additionally, Shared Libraries will make it easier for families and friends to share and access photos from one centralized location.
Google also introduced physical printed photo books that can be created straight from your smartphone. Google Photo books are now available with prices starting at $9.99.