Google’s annual IO developers conference has gotten underway and there were plenty of announcements from day one. Google’s digital assistant, Android Wear 2.0, Android N, and Google Daydream were some of the highlights, but there were plenty of announcements made.
One of Google’s major reveals was Google Assistant, its very own digital assistant. As with other personal AI, you can ask it queries as you would in Google’s search engine. This assistant will also help out within a new messaging app called Allo, Google’s competitor for Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. Google Assistant will offer suggestions of what to text based on previous conversations and even schedule plans. Allo will be released in summer on Android and iOS.
If you’re more of a visual conversationalist, Google announced Duo, a one-to-one video calling app. The app boasts a feature called Knock-Knock, which lets you see a stream of the person calling you before you answer. Google says that this will let you see what someone is doing before you answer – so make sure you’re ready for them to answer before they do!
Google’s Assistant also comes to the fore in Google Home, an always-on listening speaker. This plugs into the wall and listens for questions and instructions. It can play your music or connect to the internet to answer any pressing question you might have.
Google shared a little more about what’s coming in Android N. You can expect new emoji, reduced battery consumption, streamlined notifications, and better performance for graphics. Google is currently asking people to help it come up with a name for Android N, so if you get struck by a bolt of inspiration visit the Android.com website.
There was no sign of Android VR, but Google did announce Daydream. This is a new VR platform built on Android N and brings games, apps, movies and the Google Play Store into a VR headset. Daydream-ready devices will be launched later this year from Samsung, HTC, and other manufacturers.
Also coming later this year is Android Wear 2.0, though developers will be able to start previewing it today. It will be able to display any app data on any watch face, will feature improved handwriting recognition, and apps will be able to communicate with one another – so your nutrition app will be able to take data from your fitness app, allowing you to offset calories very easily.
Finally, Google announced Instant Android Apps, which will let you access an app without needing to download it. Google advises that it’s in preview, so it will take some time to get right, but it’s a novel idea.