So much happens in a short space of time in the tech world. Especially when large companies have their annual developer conferences. Last week was Google’s annual developer conference dubbed I/O 2016. As usual they took the chance to showcase new things they are working on which generally gets the tech industry all excited.
Google as you will be well aware, are big in search. Google Search is the most popular search engine, period. There are other search engines, but they don’t even come close to Google’s massive usage figures. In order to stay top dog, Google are constantly innovating and updating their search engine.
It isn’t all about crawling and indexing web pages, it is much more complex than that. Artificial intelligence plays a significant role, allowing for natural language queries and voice recognition to be used in searches, as well as related searches. Google Assistant is the next logical step and will allow for even more cleverness.
To start with Google Home, which is a new device that responds to voice commands, will feature Google Assistant. You will be able to ask it questions, get reminders, play music in every room and generally pretend you are living in the future. It’s all very Star Trek.
Google also announced a couple of new messaging apps, Allo and Duo. They both feature Google Assistant integration, which will (among other things) allow the apps to auto suggest responses to things, including photos. The key thing here is that it learns as you use it, so the responses become tailored to your own style.
Daydream was also unveiled to much applause. Now Google have already entered into virtual reality with Cardboard for Android. It was a project dreamed up by Googlers in their spare time, which turns your smartphone into a virtual reality headset for very little money. You can think of Daydream as Google officially going full on into VR, which new headsets and controllers in the pipeline. It all looks genuinely exciting, with support from some big names in the games industry, as well as support for YouTube and Google Play.
Now Google Play is the app store for Android and there was a very important announcement regarding it. It had been rumoured that Google Play, which is the largest app store in the world, was going to be made available for Chromebooks. Well, it is a rumour no more and means that Chromebook users will soon have millions of Android apps to choose from. It certainly makes Chromebooks more useful and more of a compelling alternative to Microsoft and Apple platforms.
Another welcome announcement was Android Wear 2.0. That’s Google’s version of Android for smartwatches. Among the many updates that are coming, is the ability to use your smartwatch as a standalone device. Smartwatches are still new and largely unused by the general population, so this may be the help they need to get off the ground.