Highlights and thoughts on the #IO16 Keynote
With stratospheric expectations, +Sundar Pichai
and his fellow Googlers bestowed upon the world what they've been up to and where they're taking us. Here are some of the highlights:Google Assistant
Everyone is getting their own personal Google, in the form of the Google assistant. As Sundar describes:The assistant is conversational—an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done...The assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google’s help no matter where you are or what the context.
The Google assistant manifests itself in two products that were announced, Google Home and Allo.Google Home
Watch out Amazon Echo, Google Home is voice-activated and gives users the power of the Google assistant throughout their homes. You can take advantage of Google's premium voice recognition system to have a conversation with the Google assistant to organize your life, get things done, and control your home. This will become increasingly important as our homes become smarter and more connected.Allo
I'd describe Allo as a smart messaging app. The interface looks like something akin to Facebook's Messenger, but very Googley. Smart replies (a la +Inbox by Gmail
) are integrated into the app, which make intelligent suggestions that are within the context of the conversation and can even understand and react to photos. The real exciting feature is the integration of the Google assistant chatbot. You can have a one on one conversation with Google assistant to help you with your personal affairs or you can enjoy it with friends. What else is cool is that you can even play games with the chatbot. There is also an incognito mode which allows for end-to-end encryption and messages that you can set to expire.Duo
Duo is an end-to-end encrypted video calling app that is designed to be able to work even using a network with limited connectivity and adjust on the fly between WiFi and cellular networks. Under the hood, Duo uses optimized webRTC and connects the calls using QUIC over UDP for a much faster initial encrypted connection.Android N
We already knew about multi-window support and revamped notifications, but, the Android team went into more details on N. In addition to performance and battery improvements, they went into detail about Android's hardened security stance, including the constant scanning of apps. There were some cool practical features announced, including a button to clear all open apps from the task manager. Also, the update process will be completely improved with automatic updating that runs in the background and that dreaded Android Optimization dialog that appears when you update your phone will be gone. The Android Beta program went live as well, pushing out the 3rd, more stable preview of N to the latest Nexus devices.
For my next post, I will focus on Google's new VR platform, Daydream, and then a subsequent post on Android Instant Apps.