Google I/O 2016 has begun and we'll be updating this page throughout the event to keep you informed of all the important announcements. For those who don't know, Google I/O is where major platform developers, engineers and executives gather to discuss all of the Android goodness to look forward to in the year ahead. Here's what's happened so far.
Google I/O 2016: date, location and schedule
The Google I/O developer's conference takes place between May 18 and 20 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California.
I/O'16 coming to neighborhood where it all started 10 yrs ago: Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, May 18-20. More details soon. #io16— sundarpichai (@sundarpichai) January 12, 2016
Google has created an I/O 2016 web page with a stylish countdown clock and which includes the full schedule of what we will see at the show.
Google I/O 2016: What's new?
The Google I/O 2016 keynote is over but there's still much more to come from the event. Head to the sections directly below to see a breakdown of what's been announced so far and what's still to come.
- Android N
- Google Assistant
- Google Home
- Google Allo
- Google Duo
- Virtual reality
- Android Wear
- Chrome OS
- Android Auto
- Self-driving cars
- Internet of Things
- Project Ara
- Nexus 7 (2016)
- New messaging platform
- Project Tango
- Project Fi
It wouldn't be Google I/O without mention of the next Android version. Google discussed a number of improvements to the Android software including a long-awaited split-screen mode and the ability to reply to texts directly from their notification.
Further, Google talked about an upgrade to its battery saving function Doze. Unlike the Marshmallow iteration, your device no longer needs to be stationary for battery saving to come into effect. Instead, your battery can now enter this low power state even while in your pocket or bag.
Google also mentioned the final name of Android N but revealed that it had not yet been decided. Google has now opened this up to the public and you can send your name suggestions via the link here.
Sundar Pichai, Google's CEO, took to the stage to discuss the future of Google products. Pichai claims that advances in machine learning and A.I. are being used to make Google much more assistive.
Google Assistant is a new service which seems like an extension of Google Now. You can ask questions using the OK Google command and follow up these questions after receiving the initial answer. Google has improved its voice recognition and wants Google Assistant to be conversational.
It looks like Google Assistant would give users more, relevant information than Google Now and appears to be able to learn from user behavior.
With the purchase of Nest for US$3.2 billion in 2014, Google signaled that it is at least keen on expanding the Internet of Things market. Google Home is its confirmation.
Google Home is a voice-enabled assistant (similar to Amazon Echo) to help you manage everyday tasks, automate your home and answer questions.
A promo video was showed it in use in the house where you could use it to send messages, turn lights on, change your calendar and diary details and provide answers in a similar fashion to Google Now.
Google Home will launch later this year but pricing and availability details weren't mentioned.
Further advances in machine learning have led to Google's developments in messaging. Allo is Google's new smart messaging app built with three key areas in mind:
Allo makes use of machine learning to create smart replies to messages. It can anticipate your replies to certain messages based on past responses.
Allo can also interpret information from photos. An example was given with a photo of a dog. Allo understood that the photo contained a dog and provided a response which included its breed.
It also identified details of a photo of a bowl of pasta. It created smart replies, such as "Yum clams!" and "I love linguine!"
Allo also allows you to change the font size of your text using a slider.
Google Assistant integration
Allo allows you to interact with Google through the messenger also. Similar to how chatbots work, you can write messages to @google and it will provide content and take actions based on those queries.
Instead of having to leave the chat window and conduct a Google Search, for example, Allo could reserve a spot restaurant simply by interacting with @google. We're excited to see more of this.
Privacy and security
Allo features an incognito mode (that's chatbots and private chats that it is now competing with Telegram on) which features end-to-end encryption and expiring chats which, once deleted, are unretrievable.
Google also talked about Duo, a single, one-to-one video calling app which is said to "perform well even on slow networks". It works on both Android and iOS.
One of its standout features is a function which Google calls 'Knock Knock' which shows you a live video stream of the caller before you even answer the call. Once you do, the video will continue but you will now be part of the conversation. It's said to be both fast and smooth.
Mobile, approachable and for everyone, these were Google's guiding principles for Google Cardboard. But what's the next step? Google recently created its own Virtual Reality division and the results of its work is a new software platform known as Daydream which seeks to unify smartphones, controllers, apps and VR technology.
Android N devices which support this will be known as Daydream-Ready and many major OEMs will have Daydream-Ready phones released later in 2016.
Google has created a VR-optimized controller which contains an internal sensor to determine its relative position. This can be used in conjunction with VR products to, for example, act as a cursor for menus within a VR settings. It has only two buttons and a touchpad.
There are two major events VR events still to come from I/O 2016 and both take place today (May 19). The first is VR for Google at 9 AM PST which will reveal what Google has learned about VR and where we are headed in the future. This event will also be live-streamed on YouTube so it should be a big one. The next event starts at 2 PM is about how VR will affect the movie watching experience.
Android Wear 2.0 is the biggest Android Wear update yet, according to Google, and will make smartwatches more functional and independent than ever before.
Among the improvements is the ability to smart reply from your watch (of course), the introduction of a new dedicated keyboard and handwriting recognition powered by Google's machine learning.
Google Fit is also receiving an upgrade so that it can detect more varied workouts (like specific weight training exercises) and it will automatically know when you've started running or cycling.
Possibly the most exciting news regarding Android Wear 2.0 is that all of the new features, from messaging to making calls, can be achieved while your phone is switched off. Apps now have the ability to function without being tethered to a smartphone via Wi-Fi or cell network. Expect more from Android Wear 2.0 in the coming days.
Chrome OS might steal the spotlight at Google I/O 2016 because recent speculation has increasingly suggested that it is to be unified with Android. This would bring the laptop and mobile experience together like never before.
Google representatives have denied the rumors, but the two systems have been talking over each other for a while now. With the hardware lines between devices becoming ever blurrier – the Pixel C is certainly more 'netbook' than earlier Google tablets – Google is likely to make this move sometime soon. Hopefully, it is more successful than Windows' attempts at mobile and desktop unification.
There is an event that takes place on May 19 at 11 AM called 'Fast and resilient web apps' that could give us clues into Google's next steps in web browsing. The event will showcase the "best practices and critical tools of APIs available in the browser that will enable you to deliver a great user experience".
Google is running a little behind on providing attractive solutions in the automobile sector, but Google I/O 2016 could change that. Android Auto is on the rise and we will likely see manufacturers announce new car models compatible with Google's system.
There is also the expectation that more third-party applications will become compatible with the system. In 2015, Waze (which is part of Alphabet, the holding company of Google) executives stated that the intelligent navigation system could be inserted into the Android Auto. Google I/O is the perfect place to promote this.
The autonomous car is another project Google is working on. Last year was turbulent, with Google’s prototype getting involved in an accident with injuries for the first time: although that accident, and all subsequent incidents, have been found to be a result of human error, with drivers finding the Google cars' intentions difficult to predict.
At Google I/O, we should see a presentation on figures for the tests and what’s next for the prototype. The location that Google has chosen for this year's I/O also lends itself to a demonstration of a fleet of self-driving vehicles.
The first Android Auto event will start on May 18 at 6 PM PST. This event will showcase how Android Auto could open up new opportunities for developers to reach customers during their driving time. Since the focus is on self-driving cars we could expect future drivers to have free time in the car.
We’ve been hearing about Project Ara, Google’s modular smartphone, since 2013 but it’s still yet to be released. In 2015, the company hoped to launch a test version of it in Puerto Rico, but this was met with delays and the launch was eventually canceled.
The official Project Ara Twitter page confirmed that the device will go on sale (in some guise) in 2016, somewhere in the US, but specifics are still unknown. Google I/O 2016 should provide more concrete details.
Google’s 7-inch tablet, the Nexus 7, was first launched in 2012 in co-operation with Asus. It was last updated in 2013, and rumors suggest it will make a comeback in 2016 with a tablet manufactured by Google’s new friend, Huawei.
The expectation is that the Nexus 7 (2016) will have a metal body and lower price than the Pixel C but maintain the 7-inch screen. Interesting.
If there's one area in which Google can't stand up against the competition, it’s messaging applications. 2016 will be a good year for the company to reverse this situation.
Some rumors suggest that the Mountain View giant plans to launch a new messenger application. The big difference would be the use of artificial intelligence, employing chatbots to send replies and suggest answers within the app. We shall see.
Google certainly has plans to turn around the SMS platform, and we will likely hear more about this at I/O.
Augmented reality may be the next big thing, taking the best of virtual reality and amplifying it, but it's still relatively early days. The technology uses motion-tracking and depth sensing to build a 3D world onto physical surroundings. At CES in January, Lenovo announced that it will be bringing a Project Tango smartphone to the consumer market this summer. We can expect to hear more on this at I/O.
The first Project Tango event will take place on May 18 at 1 PM PST and will show you how to build a Project Tango game with a guide to development. The second Project Tango event will take place on May 18 at 4 PM PST and will give you the basics of concepts of area learning.
There are two Project Tango events on May 19. The first starts at 11 PM PST and will be a panel that discusses how Project Tango will shape our lives in the future. The other event will begin at 3 PM and will over how the project will launch in the first consumer phone.
Google's cross-carrier network, Project Fi, automatically switches carriers, providing more reliable access to mobile data. It also evaluates open Wi-Fi connections and uses those if they meet certain criteria. Currently, Project Fi is only available for Nexus owners, but I/O might mark the occasion when the service sees an expansion to include other devices.
Can't wait for the excitement and style Google I/O? Check out the free Google I/O styled smartwatch app in the Google Play store by clicking on the link below.I/O 2016 Watch Face
That's all we have for now, but what would you like to see at Google I/O 2016? Let us know in the comments.