May 18, 2016 8:02:59 pm
Google I/O, the Mountain View-based search giant’s annual developer conference, will start in a few hours from now. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will deliver the keynote this year and the company will host several sessions pertaining to various Google products and services. For Google, I/O is the path to build excitement around its next Android version and also entice developers to build new apps for its ecosystems.
Google I/O keynote starts at 10.30 PM IST and could show us future of Google and its services. Google I/O could officially give a name to its Android N mobile operating system while also paving way for Android and Chrome OS to merge. Google could also show us Glass 2 and finally make a move beyond Cardboard with its own Android VR.
How to Watch
Start Time: San Francisco: 10AM / New Delhi 10.30PM
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Live Stream: The keynote will be live streamed via Google’s own website.
Live Blog: Follow us along for latest updates and comments from Google’s annual developer conference.
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Key things to watch out for
Android N: Google’s I/0 2016 may not be dominated by Android N announcement, but it will definitely get its own limelight. Google has already made Android N available to developers and also expanded it beyond Nexus devices recently.
Android N finally brings split-screen multitasking and improves on the Doze announcement last year. The new mobile OS also offers new quick settings and new set of emoji. There are reports suggesting Google could announce a new form of 3D Touch and most importantly Android N could get an official name. Is it going to be Nutella our Nougat? We can keep guessing.
Android releases have always been announced around October, the time Google debuts new range of Nexus devices. The same could apply here too or maybe not.
Chrome OS: Finally, Google I/O shifts gears from Android to Chrome OS. Google could finally merge Chrome OS and Android and show more of the future at I/O. For beginners, Google would bring all the million Android apps to Chrome OS officially.
For Google CEO, Chrome is very much like his own baby and thus a priority too. With declining mobile ad revenues, this could be Google’s effort to get everyone excited.
Android VR: It is finally happening, Google could make a bold move in virtual reality. According Gizmodo co-founder Peter Rojas, search giant Google will unveil a new device that will be an intermediary to Samsung’s Gear VR and Oculus Rift. It seems Google won’t release a very powerful VR hardware, but will definitely be better than Gear VR.
Google recently listed Android VR as an option on its own developer console before pulling it down. Google already has Cardboard headsets which gives access to VR content by simply connecting a suitable smartphone. Google also has plenty of VR friendly apps and with Android VR, it would be an effort to take over the domain which is currently dominated by Facebook owned Oculus.
Google Home: Google will reportedly introduce its own range of voice-activated home devices at I/O 2016. According to New York Times, the new devices will compete against Amazon’s very successful Echo range of devices with Alexa voice-assistant.
Google Home will be a virtual agent that will answer simple questions and execute basic tasks like Google Now voice assistant on phone. Google Home is reportedly launching in fall in the US market, says New York Times.
Android Wear: Google has been trying to make smartwatches a thing for sometime now and even with backing for most Android OEMs, the smartwatch concept is yet to take off. At I/O 2016, Google could make Android Wear more than just augmentation of notifications.
Android Auto: Google is fighting a battle with Apple to take over everyone’s dashboard. With Google strongly lobbying for the commercialisation of self-driving cars, we might get a dope on what search giant has in store. Probably an announcement that details tie-up with larger car manufacturers.
Project Tango: At CES 2016, Lenovo announced the availability of Project Tango for later this year. That ‘later this year’ could be today and Chinese company has already announced that it will be priced under $550. Project Tango is essentially a Google hardware that would allow anybody to map their environment in 3D.
Artificial intelligence: An area where Google already holds a strong presence will be a matter of interest for event attendees. Google wants to develop software that acts and behaves more like humans and company could detail progress in the field today.
AI is behind many of Google’s services and AP reports there could be a announcement around its voice-recognition services that understand and comprehend better.
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