Google I/O Conference

Google’s developer conference is being held at the moment in San Francisco. From media coverage of this event I’ve seen it sounds like it would have been interesting to attend. Unfortunately, the cost of a) getting to San Fran, b) staying in San Fran and then c) going to the conference would have been too much so I’ll have to make do with hearing about some of the exciting discoveries through the media and internet.

Google cardboard

This was launched at last years conference. However it appears that they are putting more effort into this to catch up to Microsoft. They see this as a low cost way of getting the technology out to people. They have also launched Jump – 16 GoPro cameras to capture 360degrees of video to make virtual reality filming easier.

Cardboard now allows phones with larger screens to be used and for the first time will be compatible with Apple phones. Google is going to distribute Cardboard kits, including tablets or smartphones to schools to enable them to use Virtual Reality in the classroom and allow children to experience virtual world tours.

New phones and watches

No announcements were made on new phones or watches, however software changes were announced. One cool feature for the watches are that users will be able to draw emojjis to send via SMS and flicking your wrist will allow you to switch between notifications.

Project Brillo

Project Brillo is a set of technologies that aims to connect more household items to the web. It should hopefully make it easier for developers to build applications for all sorts of devices. Weave, a new system also annouced will help with communication between these devices.

Brillo would be a stripped-down version of Android software so it could run on everyday items such as internet-connected washing machines and door locks. The aim is to have appliances that work more seamlessly for its users and the technology will be available later this year.

Operating System

What would a conference be without an update to the hosts operating system. Google has announced the direction that Android operating system will be taking – they have gone back to basics, focusing on the building blocks of the system. Of important note is battery management and charging – two pain points of regular smart phone users. They are also looking at security, notably finger print scanning.

Self drive cars

It was rumoured that there would be a new announcement on Google’s self drive car – unfortunately it doesn’t appear that one is forth-coming.

Google photos

An interesting announcement was made about the launch of a new cloud based service – Google photos. It is free cloud based storage of photos from the web or a smartphone (Android and Apple) and will give you unlimited space, unlike Dropbox (2GB) or Yahoo’s Flicker (1TB). But what is more interesting is that the photos will be scanned for faces, dates and places and these will be indexed. This will mean that the photos will be able to be easily searched for – the example given was that photos taken at a baseball game could be discovered by typing ‘baseball’ into the app’s search bar. So great for cateloguing and storing all those snaps from your phone – but this will enable Google to draw an even bigger picture of your life by the data it will hold about your life.

Android Pay

Android Pay will replace Google Wallet and will allow users to pay for goods using their NFC enabled smartphones at the checkout. This will work on older phones running Kitkat and above, but will work better on phones with fingerprint scanners. Unfortunately at this time it will only work in the United States.

What were the stand out announcements for you?

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