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Google IO 2016 Highlights

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Google IO 2016 Highlights

It is that time of the year again when Google unveils to its developers and users the new and amazing things it can play with that they have been working on since last years IO conference. Seeing that Android N was announced a few months back, I expected them not to dwell too long on that. This year, it was more about services and platforms. If you watch the Silicon Valley TV show, you’d know that platforms are in this year. Oh, also, smarter AI. So, on with the show.

Google Assistant

Google has made its machine learning even better and now you can basically converse with your phone, through their new chat apps and it anticipates your needs, suggesting things to you without you querying it. You can essentially now chat with your phone as you would a friend (if you are the alone, friendless type). This is the platform that underlies most of Google’s announcements at this IO.

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Google Home

Just like Amazon Echo, Home is Google’s answer to home automation and assistance. This baby is basically a speaker with always-listening, far-field microphones that listens to you every whim. It’ll play your music, answer your questions,, and control some of your home automation gadgets. It is said that it will excel at playing music than the Amazon Echo. You can network it with other Google Home speakers where you can talk to any speaker and tell it to play music on other speakers. You can use Google Play music with it or maybe other services, like Spotify. It is devices like this that make you think about an impending robot uprising.

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Google Allo and Google Duo

Google must really want to have higher penetration into the messaging space because it plans to release not only one but two new messaging platforms. They are mobile only for now but will be available on both Android and iOS. Allo is your regular run of the mill messenger, with emojis and stickers and a cool ability to write on pics. A cool new feature allows you to use the Google Assistant to call on outside information in-app and also generate auto-responses for you. Another nice new feature is WhisperShout which lets you resize the font on your individual message, allowing you to make it a whisper or a SHOUT. It is also touting end to end encryption for you spycraft folks out there.

Google’s second new messenger, Duo, is essentially FaceTime for Android. A cool feature called “Knock Knock” (cue the “Who’s there” jokes) where the person you video call can see a little video preview of you before they pick up. So, if the person that calls you is pissed for whatever reason, maybe you shouldn’t pick up.

Where this all leaves Google Hangouts is the million naira question.

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Android N

Will not dwell on this since it was announced a few months back but will highlight some of the few changes. Android N comes loaded with the Vulkan API which allows devs to access the GPU directly, ensuring you have smoother gaming experience on your phone and this also leads to a smoother phone experience. So this is sort of like Project Butter 2.0. Also, N has a JIT (Just In Time) compiler which will give you 75% app installation time. Also, N is much more secure. You already know about multi review and picure in picture in a previous post. This year, Android is doing something fun by letting people vote on the next dessert name, which you can do by going here. I think my fave one so far is this,even though it isn’t a dessert. Nigerians, lets make it a reality.

Expect a full release later on in the summer

Android Wear 2.0

For those that bothered getting an Android watch, the latest version now allows standalone apps where you do not need your phone anymore to install and run an app.

Android Instant Apps

Run Android apps on your phone without installing the app. natively. And it is not a mobile site version of your app, no, it’s the native app. Mind blown! What’s cool is that you don’t have to be on Android N to use this feature, it is supported all the way back to Jellybean.

Writer with TechSuplex. Dream Merchant (We sell you dreams). Work in Progress. Twitter: @itsAydee

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