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Google I/O 2016: Day 2, Google Play Awards and a revelation [UPDATE]

JAX Editorial Team

Another year, another Google developer conference. I/O 2016 stretches across three days (May 18-20) and is live streamed . Join us as we reveal and discuss this tech giant’s newest projects.

Update May 20

Why Google chose to hold its conference outside

A lot of people were taken aback by Google’s decision to hold this year’s conference outside —one could say that the Shoreline Amphitheater is located (almost) in the search giant’s backyard. There were mixed feelings about Google’s idea to let the developers brave the the weather despite offering a “survival kit” which contains sunscreen, a water bottle and sunglasses, plus something which looks like a headband.

Still, Google’s decision to hold I/O 2016 outside makes sense since the tech giant was able to showcase one of Alphabet’s Project Loon Internet balloons. It would have been borderline impossible to fit a giant balloon into a room, don’t you agree?

Day 2

The second day was all about Daydream VR: devices that are set up to create Daydream compatible apps, a system for using a second phone as a controller instead of Daydream controllers (which are not available yet) and a new virtual reality launcher in Android N. Google also announced new partnerships with game engine creators, developers and movie makers.

The biggest news was that Google Play is (finally!) coming to Chrome OS. In a few months, Chromebooks, -bases and -boxes will be able to launch the Google Play Store and download Android apps.

The tech giant also acknowledged the best apps and games. Here are the winners:

Who else can keep you updated better than the CEO himself, Sundar Pichai? Here is his summary of #io16.

 

This article was originally published on May 18

Day 1

Google met (and exceeded) people’s expectations once again. The first day of conference went smoothly —and by that, we mean that a plethora of new apps were announced, fresh platforms were introduced to the public and updates were revealed.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai covered basically all the new products and updates in just 120 minutes: he talked about Assistant, Allo, Google Home, Android N, Android Instant Apps, Assistant, Wear 2.0 and that’s not all. Here are our favourite moments from Google I/O 2016 Day 1:

Google Assistant

Pichai showed off a next-gen Google Assistant which looks more like a chat app. The AI can now answer questions without any context and is undoubtedly chattier and smarter. Google’s answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana can narrow down results and can even book movie tickets.

The new Assistant comes in two “expressions”: Allo, a brand new chat app and Google Home, an audio-only speaker.

Google Home

Speaking of Google Home — this tiny speaker has always-listening microphones which allow the gadget to answer questions and execute commands. This small cylinder has been created to be used with several devices in several rooms, so you don’t have to worry that the wrong device will answer back. Google Home can change lighting or temperature via Nest devices, push media to Chromecast-compatible screens and speakers and integrate with some services (like Spotify).

Allo and Duo

Allo seems to be more of a hybrid —people will recognize elements from Whatsapp, Snapchat, Google Assistant, even Microsoft Paint as they open this new smart chat app. Plus, it has an incognito mode: users can send messages with E2E encryption and set an expiry date on the text.

Google also showed off Duo, a video messaging app which focuses on a feature called “Knockknock.” When somebody calls you on Duo, you have the chance to see them before you decide to answer —it’s really like looking through the peephole. Can you say FaceTime?

Android on steroids

Android N

It doesn’t have a name yet, but that doesn’t make Android N any less impressive. According to Google, Android N will have better graphics (Vulkan API) and runtime and the software update will feature new emoji. The biggest addition is the VR support. Android N will be out of beta later this summer.

To solve the name issue, Google decided to challenge people to go online and name this new build, which must start with an ‘N’. Since Android has named all of its software after sweets, the tech giant is inviting people to come up with tasty ideas. Nutella seems to be on everybody’s lips for now.

Daydream

Daydream is Google’s latest VR headset and platform, but it’s more than an answer to Oculus Rift or HTC Vive —Daydream is a boosted version of the Cardboard with a nice addition, namely a motion controller. However, it will only work with specific ‘Daydream ready’ phones such as the ones produced by Samsung, HTC, LG, ASUS and more.

Android Wear 2.0

Android Wear 2.0 can display any type of information from any app. Users can control apps from the watches without touching their phones. The software update will consist of updates such as new messaging options, watch faces, as well as standalone apps. Google also showed off a small, swipeable QWERTY keyboard.

Android Instant Apps

Apps can now be used instantly —a.k.a without downloading them. In the demo showed during the I/O conference, when you click on a BuzzFeed link, Google Play takes some parts of the BuzzFeed app and plays a video. The tech giants said it will take developers “less than a day of work” to modularize their apps for Instant Apps.

That’s all for now.

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