Google I/O just had their keynote conference a day ago in San Francisco, California up in their Mountain View location and there's quite a few exciting announcements that came out of Google I/O in their keynote including the next version of Android Wear, Android N and then some pretty cool stuff that we haven't seen before that was introduced by Google at Google I/O. So let's go ahead and dive right in.
I'm definitely not going to be covering everything announced at Google I/O but I am going to be talking about a lot of the big things that were announced and one of the biggest of them was actually called Google Assistant. It's basically the next iteration of this conceptual and very interactive AI type of system and instead of Google Voice where you ask a question and it gives you a response, Google Assistant is more of a communicative type of way to speak to the software so say you ask a question about a movie and then you ask: “Hey what kind of Emmys or awards did this person win?” and it's almost like a two-way dialogue with you and your device.
A really cool application with Google Assistant is something inside your home. You may be aware of something called the Amazon Echo, something that we've actually reviewed; Beau did a review on PhoneDog. But Google has their own version of a competitor to that and that's called Google Home. Google Home will let you basically everything you can do with Google Assistant in a very tiny package that's meant for your home. It's definitely going to be very interesting to see how that compares to the Amazon Echo. And then let's see what Amazon Echo v2.0 will bring to the table later this year so it's all going to be a very interesting way this is going to unfold later in 2016.
At Google I/O, it's very common to see new types of applications and software from Google and there were two new applications developed by Google for Android and iOS. They are two messaging applications-- one is named Allo. Allo is basically your instant messaging type of iMessage communication application that's meant for Android obviously but it's also going to be available for iOS and it's going to be the first ever linked that will let Android people speak to iOS people without using standard SMS messaging. Allo is not going to be replacing Hangouts but it's going to be a different way of basically communicating. It's going to incorporate Google Assistant. It's going to have some really neat features, kind of like the whispers and shout and all that kind of stuff. But the long story short, Allo is basically a very cool and interactive way to communicate using text.
Now the opposite side of text messaging is going to be video calling. And that is called Duo. Now Duo is basically your direct Facetime competitor and yes, it's going to be available on iOS as well. Duo is going to be a very simple application. It's direct video calling to a person and a really neat feature is if you're calling somebody, that person receiving the video call will actually see a live video stream of you before they answer. A little creepy but kind of cool and it's definitely going to be a very nice thing to have, especially for people who want to communicate from iOS to Android or vice versa.
An update to Android N; no name yet and Google actually wants you to go and choose a name for Android N (obviously it has to start with N) but you can actually submit your submissions on Google's website. Now, Google N is in its beta stage. It was in its alpha stage so now it's actually progressing forward and it's going to be available sometime in the late summer of 2016.
Now some bigger news from Google I/O 2016 is Virtual Reality. Obviously, VR is a very big and increasing market. We have a lot of players in like Samsung and HTC but Google wants to get in the mix with creating something called Daydream and that's really more of a platform for VR but they actually did show some hardware at Google I/O and it looked very sleek. It was basically a white VR headset with a really neat remote. And it's basically the next platform for VR and the neat thing is, Android N is built from the ground up with VR built-in. So again, Daydream is really the groundwork/framework for VR and it's obviously up to the developers, the app developers and content developers to take advantage of the groundwork that Google has built and it's definitely going to be a very interesting thing because later this year and obviously in 2017, VR is really going to take off.
The last thing I want to talk about is Android Wear. Google announced the next iteration version 2.0 of Android Wear. And overall, it doesn't look so much different from the first generation/iteration of Android Wear but they have added a couple of key things including a weird QWERTY keyboard on your watch. It's a little weird and small obviously but it's there and they've also added things like automatic fitness tracking so basically you don't have to go into your fitness applications and tell it “Hey I'm going to run” or “Hey I'm going to do this”. It's going to pick up by the heart rate obviously, the motion, GPS tracking and all that kind of stuff. Another big improvement for Android Wear is that it's going to have standalone applications where it's not going to rely so much on the hardware on your phone and more on the hardware on your wrist.
So Google I/O 2016 had a lot of good things. If you really want a full recap, make sure to actually watch the keynote on Google's YouTube page. It was a very cool keynote, a lot of things were announced obviously and I couldn't fit it all on this video.