The 6 Best Things to Come Out of Google I/O
Attending an event like Google I/O, the tech giant’s annual developers conference, can be massively overwhelming considering the deluge of major announcements and new product launches. Luckily, we didn’t have to. But even for those who watch from afar, keeping up on all of the excitement can be a difficult task.
That’s where we’d like to step in.
Down below you’ll find the entire two-plus hour keynote from the event, which was chock full of exciting news out of the Google camp. But for those of you who don’t have that kind of time to commit, here’s a look at the six best things to come out of the event.
Look out, Alexa! Google is diving headfirst into the in-home personal assistant space, and they’re making no qualms about who it is they hope to take down. The company unveiled a new home assistant called Google Home (pictured below) that is a small, always-listening speaker that can integrate with myriad services—a la the Amazon Echo with its Alexa service.
Similar to Amazon’s offering, Google Home will rely on the search company’s Assistant technology to respond to questions and complete certain commands. As reported on The Verge, the device is built on the Chromecast standard, which will enable users to push media to other Chromecast-enabled devices (including speakers and screens), change temperature or lighting through Nest devices, and integrate with services like Spotify. The API hasn’t been opened to developers yet, so Home will have some catching up to do with regards to how many third-party devices and platforms the Echo is able to integrate with.
Speaking of the Google Assistant that’ll power the Home device, the technology itself will receive some serious upgrades. Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the I/O keynote by demonstrating the technology’s improved abilities. He was able to search for kid-friendly movies playing nearby and purchase tickets all without leaving the app, and without having to speak in a certain tone that only a computerized assistant might be able to understand—cough cough Siri cough and cough Alexa cough cough.
Google is getting serious (FINALLY!!!) about virtual reality. During the keynote, the company debuted its new mobile virtual reality platform, which it is calling Daydream. Built on top of the Android N platform—meaning it won’t compete as a standalone VR platform against the likes of Oculus or HTC’s Vive—Daydream essentially is a VR-based version of Android. There’s a home screen with apps, similar to how the Samsung Gear VR is set up. And Google already has VR version of apps like YouTube, the Play Store, Play Movies, and Google Photos. More are in the works to from companies like The New York Times, Netflix, HBO, Electronic Arts, and more.