Like every year, Google has held its annual I/O conference and, also like every year, Mobile Jazz was following it closely to stay on top of everything the Menlo Park giant had to reveal to its developers and fans around the world. Here’s a good summary of the highlights of the event.
The natural extension of search, supporting:
- Conversational understanding
- More contextual information in the searches.
It looks like an upgraded version of what Google Now was able to do but with some important differences. One of the best things is that it’s not necessarily built into any phone, with the possibility of being integrated into new platforms such as Web and iOS and embedded devices. Google has already started doing this with Home and Allo, keep reading to find out more about those.
As a direct competitor to Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, it’s hardly unexpected that Google Assistant can respond to conversational requests much like its competitors. Where the difference lies is in the quality and depth of the integrations Google can bring to bear with its long track record of impressive language processing and the breadth of its platforms.
This will look familiar to anyone who has seen Amazon’s Echo, and just like it’s competitor, this is Google’s attempt at placing Google Assistant in the place where it can provide the most help: your home.
It is also built on the Chromecast standard, so you can use it to stream media to your speakers, tv or other devices. By combining multiple Google Home’s you can even ask a device in your living room to start some actions on the device in your bedroom for example. Imagine being able to ask“Turn down the lights and start playing some romantic music in the bedroom”. See where this is going? 😉
The product will be available at the end of the year with a developer API yet to be released, however, it is in the pipeline.
It is still too early to say much about Daydream, but first impressions are that it’s a beefed up version of Google Cardboard but only for new phones. Google hasn’t revealed much about it but, in their own words, it will be “a platform for high-quality mobile virtual reality.” It will be available next fall and there are already several hardware partners including Samsung, HTC, LG, Xiaomi, Huawei, ZTE, Asus, and Alcatel.
A mobile phone will continue to serve as the screen and main power source of the device but a new headset and remote control will be needed in order to enjoy the whole experience. Moreover, Daydream will bring your already favorite media apps like Netflix or Youtube into VR so you can enjoy videos and movies in this new way.
One of the most interesting announcements given in the conference was the introduction of Allo. It is a new messaging app that leverages Google’s enormous machine learning and language recognition capabilities to offer a richer experience.
Allo comes with Smart Reply built in but it extends its powers to image recognition so you can quickly (and correctly) reply to an image sent to you. To make it even better, Google has integrated its assistant into Allo so it can suggest relevant information based on the conversations you’re having within the app but also allowing, for example, to buy tickets or book a restaurant directly form there.
If you prefer, you can also chat directly with your assistant to ask questions you’d normally ask to Google and get the answers you’re looking for directly in the messaging app, how cool is that?!
Duo is a one-to-one video app that will be available this summer. It features end-to-end encryption, automatic quality adjustment based on your internet speed and coolest of all, it introduces “knocknock” so you can peek and see the video of the person who’s calling even before picking up the call.
The app has been optimized for use even under low speed internet conditions so you can have a reliable and enjoyable experience no matter where you are.
This was the most surprising news of the event. Google has come up with this new concept to allow app developers to “modularize” their apps so they only serve you the parts that you need for whatever you clicked on. So, imagine you click on a link and if that link has an associated “instant app” with that URL you will receive a tiny version of that app instead of the website. There will be huge opportunities in the app ecosystem with this feature that makes us really excited about it.
Eighteen months ago Google acquired Firebase and it was just a matter of time until they revealed something like this. Hold on tight to your seats as you read about this “new” way of developing apps. Firebase offers a full set of features – from database and push notifications to analytics and crash reporting (we’re wondering if they took their ideas from our own Bugfender …) – with iOS and Android SDK’s to make it easier than ever to build powerful native apps from scratch.
We at Mobile Jazz can’t wait to be hands on with this new technology and we’ll be learning our way through it very soon.
Android Studio 2.2 (Preview)
Google announced a new version of Android Studio with lots of improvements in terms of performance, 10x faster builds and emulators 3x faster than real devices.
They also announced features to help developers build apps quicker.
- Test recording: You can now record an action when you are testing an application regardless if it’s via an emulator or via a device and later run the test without open your app again in your device. This is all done thanks to the Espresso Library suite that will come built in.
- Layout designer: Simply put, a new tool that helps you build layouts quicker and better.
Google also revealed other minor improvements that shouldn’t be overlooked:
- APK analyzers.
- Expanded android code analysis.
- Enhanced JAC compiles Java 8 supports (Lambdas)
- And many more things.
That’s it for now, there were many other announcements made in the conference, like new features coming into the new Android N but we feel that we’ve covered the most relevant ones with what you’ve just read. If you have comments or suggestions, or even better, wanna talk about your new project ideas and how to make them come true, visit our website and drop us a line.
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