Every year, Google hosts an annual show to inform the masses and educate developers in the latest innovations from the software giant. Rocketeers were on the scene at Google I/O 2016 and they have plenty to share. Here's a recap of some of the biggest announcements from the conference with a few thoughts from those that attended.
Google has taken personalization to the next level, leveraging their machine learning capabilities giving each user “their own Google”. Google Assistant will tailor results based on users’ interactions within search to ensure the user receives the most relevant information possible.
To take full advantage of Google Assistant, Google announced they will be launching a device called Google Home (above) later this year. Its capabilities include voice control of all Cast devices in a household and is a hands-free extension of Google Assistant.
Android Instant Apps
One of the most interesting announcements made during the keynote continues to sound more and more promising. Instant Apps will allow Android phones to use an app without downloading it. If a page shows up in search results that is deep-linked into an application, the user will be taken to the actual app to view the page. By basically segmenting an app and cutting it into modules, Android devices will only download the data necessary to run the specific functions they need at that moment.
"What's really amazing about Instant Apps is that they are not only for devices that will run Android N, but for devices running Android operating systems as old as Jelly Bean. This means that 95% of Android devices world-wide will be able to use this feature. Brands should be thinking about Instant Apps immediately since virtually every Android user will have access to them very soon." Luke Wallace, Associate Director of Android Engineering.
The latest version of Android, Android N, boasts over 250 new features. Between improved graphics, app and OS updates, security, and even new multi-tasking functionality, its looking like one of the most exciting updates yet. If you’ve been building your apps right, multi-window will mostly work upon launch with very little effort for developers. Also, with the introduction of Multiple Locales, localization is now an even more critical feature for companies to consider.
Google is leaning heavily into VR. They are creating a VR platform for Android device manufacturers to use that includes both hardware and software guidelines. In regards to the actual headset, Google released a reference design for both a new headset and controller (below) that is open for manufacturers to use to design around their specific devices.
To make sure that devices perform as they are expected, Google has set in place baseline standards that a smartphone must meet before being considered “Daydream Ready”. They are also building a marketplace and experience that will allow users to be in VR and not miss out on using your device at the same.
Android Architect, Chris Koeberle, had this to say about Daydream "One of the big problems with the VR ecosystem of apps is that, the only people that have VR equipment are those willing to invest $1000 into it. So, there isn't a demand to write apps since there is a limited market. There isn't a demand for hardware since there is such a limited market for apps. The hope is that, by making this hardware cheap but functional on a level that Cardboard is not, it will drive demand on both fronts."
Google changed the virtual reality landscape forever when they released Cardboard in 2014. By making a technology known by few, available for anyone with a smartphone, Google gave VR a level of accessibility that undoubtedly helped propel the industry to point it is today.
Android Wear 2.0
Android smartwatches will receive quite an overhaul later this year. Wear 2.0 will allow smartwatches to function independently. The apps will run on the watch itself, not on the phone. This means that the smartphone does not need to be nearby, or even turned on! It is not clear whether or not Wear devices will have their own app store, but it seems very possible due to the number of updates coming in the fall.
For more information about Google I/O, what these announcements mean for your brand, and how you can benefit from them, contact us today.