Google I/O 2016 Highlights
This year, Google hosted its I/O annual developer conference at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View California. It is usually a rather straightforward event when it comes to tech, but there were a few unexpected announcements with regard to some of the company’s new products.
Here are some of the highlights announced by CEO Sundar Pichai:
The Google Assistant
This is Google’s new digital helper, and can be considered a counterpart to Cortana and Siri, but with less personality and greater operation power. Google has applied its decades of machine learning experience to the new digital helper, as well as its previous breakthrough with Now on contextual searches in Tap.
For example: if you ask the assistance for “movies playing tonight?”, it will give you a list of movie listings in cinemas near you. But what is more fascinating is that if you further state that you intend to bring your kids along, Google will modify the results to show only family movies without requiring you to restate the original question.
The Google Assistant is only the tip of the iceberg, as Google intends to put her everywhere, including their new device: a smart home hub cum speaker. This IoT product will allow users to control their thermostat, smart lighting, and Nest device using just their voice, plus you can give commands without your smartwatch or phone nearby.
You can ask Google Home to manage your home, or use the built-in Search module to book tickets or look up information. You can also use it as a wireless speaker with multi-room playback and cloud streaming capabilities, or sync it with your Smart TV to stream content directly to it. And the best part is that you can do all this from a handheld device!
Allo and Duo Google apps
Allo is a smart messaging app that intends to do everything, and is based off the user’s phone number, allowing you to call any person listed in your contacts. The new Google app also comes with a range of expression tools for your enjoyment, including a simple Whisper-Shout mechanic that you can use to manipulate text; ink for adding and editing photos in chat; and Smart Reply for quick response options in chat, among others.
Duo, on the other hand, is a one-to-one video calling app based on your phone number. When calling, it gives you a live video feed of the person calling – instead of a profile picture – and then transitions to call video when you answer the call.
One other announcement worth mentioning is the Android N, a new Vulkan graphics API without a name. It is expected to boost the performance of games with minimal lag, take 50 per cent less memory, and hasten app installs.