The 2015 chapter of Google I/O has offered quite an optimistic picture on several tech fronts. The event unveiled Google's robust plan for the mobility, smart home and wearable and entertainment technologies of near future.
There have been quite dazzling announcements that might transform the user and developer expectations in an altogether new way. Though most of the announcements in Google I/O 2015 can rather be perceived as gradual leaps in the ongoing development process but they represent an all round optimization and enhancement drove targeted to make user experience better and give developers more ease and firepower. Below is a recap of the top 7 most significant announcements.
Obviously, this new Android OS version is not way ahead of its predecessor, but there have been several big enhancements like saving battery life, optimizing interactions and some developer-friendly tools and services. Let us have a quick look at what it has to offer.
- App Permissions: This new feature would simplify the way we permit an app to use device functionalities. From now, upon installing a new app you will be asked no longer with a long list of permissions. Instead, when the app will actually need a device feature it will offer a prompt.
- Custom tab and linking: This customization feature will empower the developer to add custom features top of the overlay of an app. A new linking feature will also help verifying links when switching from one app to another.
- Dozing feature to save battery life: As soon as the device recognizes the motion sensor of the device is stagnant, it will go to a doze mode, saving battery power. Even in doze mode the device will continue to receive push notifications, messages, calls and alarms.
There have been some significant enhancements in Android wear this year. From offering glanceable information even in low battery to gesture-based scrolling, these features are supposed to make Android wear more user-friendly.
- ‘Always On’ feature: This will help by displaying information in black and white when the battery is running low without requiring the user to tap on the screen to wake up the device.
- Wrist gesture for scrolling: When wearing the Android Watch, your hands may be full or occupied. Don't have a free hand? Use simple wrist gestures like flicking up and down to scroll.
- New apps, new horizon: At the time of writing this blog Google has already unveiled more than 4,000 apps for Android Watch alone offering wider horizon of smart wearable experience to the users.
To rival the Apple Pay, this new virtual payment app from Google comes packed with easy and useful features. Just by tapping on the NFC sensor, the user can now make payment. In the keynote address, Google confirmed partnering with other mobile service providers including T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T for pre installed authentication.
- Android Pay will be aided by the new fingerprint authentication technology in Android M.
- Just by placing the device close to the contactless terminal of the respective merchant, the user can access payment confirmation and transaction page. Thereafter he only has to select ‘Buy with Android Pay’.
Project Brillo can be dubbed as the most ambitious step to make true ‘Internet of Things’ possible for Android users. Brillo is the operating system for connecting and enabling IOT across Android and other home devices. Brillo is basically a low power savvy Android option to connect home devices wirelessly through Android platform.
- Brillo offers a separate programmer friendly language connecting Android device, cloud and Brillo OS.
- Brillo will pave the way for smart home with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi connectivity across devices and gadgets loaded with Android
Finally, Google Photos is going to be the standalone app for your photos and videos. Earlier as it was part of Google+ social network platform; using the photos from here to other social platforms or web space was not possible. But now there are no restraints for using your photos whatever ways you choose.
- You can store unlimited number of photos now.
- You can group photos by location or browse photos by timeline.
- You can utilize Google photos to make videos and collages by the suggestions given by the app.
More Contextual Google Now
For some time, Google has been working to make the user experience smarter by incorporating Google Now features. At I/O 2015, they announced an array of new features that will provide users even more contextual help. By learning the user habit, patterns of use, habits and lifestyle aspects Google Now will provide information and calculative answers that can be useful to the user in a particular time and place.
- The ‘Now on Tap’ feature offers the kind of information you may require in context. For example, while landing on a new city, it will automatically give you booking options in hotels.
- Learning user context and accordingly offering user help will continue to expand in every areas of life and make living intelligent in numerous ways.
Offline App and Browser Support
There is limitation of Internet connectivity in many impoverished and remote parts of the world. To expand the benefit of Android to these areas, Google has decided to launch offline app support and browser support to help. Google has already launched offline YouTube and offline Chrome browser support; now users can access offline Google Maps to help find any location without requiring any Internet connection.
Apart from the above mentioned Google took a step ahead with a new virtual reality camera rig system to take VR snaps or video. A wide range of new developer friendly tools for uses like cloud messaging, automation testing through cloud, AdMob tools for measuring user engagement and short and comprehensive Android training program called Android Nanodegree are also notable.
What is your favorite announcement from Google I/O 2015?