If you didn’t keep up with every giant tech company announcement this week, don’t worry, that’s all we did (after client meetings and brainstorming sessions, duh). Google is currently in the midst of Google I/O, a three-day annual developer conference and once again, they totally brought it and are throwing down on the innovation game.
Virtual Reality is coming to your phone, y’all.
Arguably the biggest announcement of the event was Google’s introduction of Daydream, a platform for high-quality mobile virtual reality.
Because it’s built on top of their operating system, it won’t be competing with Oculus Rift or the HTC Vive just yet, but it’s much more comprehensive and powerful than the first step they took with Google Cardboard.
Google will be working with Android developers to design some fancy new phones, supporting apps and VR ready headsets. Because Google is Google, they already released the specs for VR viewers and controllers to speed development along. You’ll see app expansions for VR into YouTube, Google Street View, Google Play, Google Photos, Netflix, Ubisoft and other hip media companies that are not Apple.
Sometimes all you need is a rebrand.
We all are a huge fan of Siri, we tolerate Alexa, but brace yourself for—Google Assistant. So formal, Google. Call us, we will help you with naming.
It seems like a better (and non racist) chatbot version of Google Now, their old virtual assistant platform. Google Assistant is supposed to be conversational and interesting, an actual dialogue between you and Google that highlights the fact that you’re already using most of Google’s other services. This nifty bit of tech will bring them all together. You can ask a question—and multiple follow-up questions—and the service will follow the conversation thread through to the end.
The new Google Assistant is built into two new products: Allo, their new chatbot app (not to be confused with Google Assistant—yes, we talk about it below), and Google Home, a competitor to Amazon’s Echo. Finally, more inanimate objects around the house to shout at.
Need another messaging app? Yeah, us neither.
Allo, a new messaging app that incorporates their new Google Assistant, making the experience a little more user friendly. Now that your messaging app is connected to your Google and thus your life, you can ask the app for your schedule, photos and suggestions on restaurants nearby.
But wait! There is more! Google also launched Duo, a video calling app and a Facetime competitor. It’s got a new feature called Knock Knock, which gives you a live video feed of the other caller before you pick up the phone. Creepy factor is TBD.
Alexa vs. Google Home: Fight to the death.
Obviously a competitor to Amazon’s Echo, Google Home is a voice-recognition speaker with always-on microphones at the ready (yes, they ARE listening). It manages your smart “ecosystem,” playing music, apps, taking care of small tasks and of course snagging some fun facts online whenever you need them.
We think it looks like a giant air freshener, but hey! Who needs aesthetics?
The androids are coming.
Android N is here, long at last—but it doesn’t have a name yet because coming up with something as good as “Marshmallow” has proven difficult. Google is currently crowdsourcing it in hopes that the public is more creative than them. Go this way if you wanna help. Their newest operating system is their fastest yet, boasting upwards of 250 new features and a virtual reality platform inside.
On top of the fun things, Google showed off their wearable game with Android Wear 2.0. It includes a highly-personalizable user experience along with standalone apps that can run on the watch, even if your phone is turned off completely. Plus, it has better messaging, features handwriting recognition and a new keyboard is available. Type away, world, one letter (and finger) at a time.
Again, innovation reigned supreme at Google’s I/O event. There’s not much for us to actually fangirl over yet though, considering we’ll have to wait until the fall for most of these products to rollout.
And let’s be honest, we’re still waiting on them to top their 2012 I/O presentation.