What is Google I/O? From the words of Google, Google I/O is for developers – the creative coders who are building what’s next. Or simply put, Every year Google announces their latest technology products and software innovations through Google I/O. For the year 2015, Google I/O happened on May 28-29, San Francisco, CA.
Why should you care about it, anyway? In this year’s I/O, Google introduced a number of new softwares and the Google Cardboard (Google’s own VR). Among all the softwares, were some interesting and welcome features for Android users. The next version of Android, Android M will be shipped with the newly introduced features that were demoed during the I/O.
Android M: The next version of Android will be Android M. And there’s not much changes visually, because of the recently introduced major changes like Material Design. In Android M, Google is focusing on stabilizing and tweaking Android Lollipop. Although, there are some considerable new inclusions as well.
1. App Permissions: Remember that annoying window which asks you to accept whatever an app needs to access in your phone every time you try to install it? Well, it has finally been removed. It means, when you install an app in Android M. it will ask for the permission only when required. For ex., if your app needs Microphone to be used, it will ask a question, allow app to use your Microphone?
2. Doze Mode: We just love that extra few minutes of battery, don’t we? Android M introduces a new feature called “Doze”. Using this feature, your phone will be automatically put in a deep sleep mode when it’s idle for a particular amount of time. So, your apps will be eating less battery, allowing your battery to last longer in standby. Google brags this feature alomst doubled the battery of Nexus 9 standby, let’s wait and see if it’s for real.
3. Now on Tap: Google now is a very intelligentand useful voice assitant, with Android M, it gets even better. A feature known as “Now on tap” is introduced in Android M, which will integrate Google now into all the apps and screens. For an instance, if you’re listening to a song and you want to know the artist name, you could just tap and ask Google now, impressive, isn’t it?
4. USB – C: Apple has always been an early adopter, and it makes others follow. Android M will be getting USB – Type C, connectors for charging. It has considerably faster charging than the normal USB port, also, you don’t have to struggle inserting your charging pin anymore, just put it anyway you want.
5. Copy and Paste: We all know, how annoying the copy and paste feature in Android is. It’s going to get some changes, for good. We expect it to get simpler and better in Android M.
6. Finger Print: Apple introduced the finger print scanner in iPhones 2 years ago. And finally, Google is trying to make an impact or more of an attempt. Android M gets the finger print support. So, all the devices will be having the finger print support from the software side, let the manufacturers decide to make use of it.
7. Google Photos: We have to write a detailed article about Google Photos. So, let me just put it simply, Google Photos is similar to Apple Photos, but it’s intelligent and free!!! Meaning, you could store unlimited photos and videos on Google Photos app. Also, you could search the photos far more easily. Say, if you want to search for a picture that you took on a beach, just type “beach” and you get all the pictures that are related to beach or water.
So, take more pictures and forget about storage, believe me, it works. All your photos and videos get uploaded automatically. And you can use them wherever you want. Just like, Apple iCloud (Never too late to get something good for free, isn’t it?)
Along with Android M, Google I/O also had a few glimpses about some other things like, Google Cardboard, which is Google’s own VR and it gets support for iOS and upto 6 inches screen displays as well.
Android wear gets some new updates, which will make apps load faster, calling Uber gets easier, voice calling feature and some minor tweaks.
Google seems to have dumped the less successful Google Wallet and introduced Android Pay (Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and now, Android Pay, come on people, get a brain!) which will be supporting around 600 retailers worldwide. It’s based on NFC, a slightly better and simply payment system.
And finally, HBO Now will be on Android. Okay, I don’t know how many people in India watches HBO Now using their smartphone, but. whatever.
Our thoughts? For the majority of users Android M is not so exciting, except the Google Photos. And most of the features are existing in iOS from a long time. The finger print scanner, Photos, Copy Paste (The new feature in Android, exists in iOS since iOS 3.0) , Doze mode (iOS is able to get more battery life with similar feautre), Android Pay (Apple introduced Apple Pay a year ago in WWDC 2014), and even the USB-C (2015 Macbook) was introduced by Apple. So, if you look deep, only the Now on tap is the innovation from Google in this I/O 2015.
The new features that have been introduced are no little but something. But, it is not convincing. Google seems to have turned into new Samsung recently, when Samsung has already got hit and trying to reinvent. Plus, come on, Google, we thought you were better than that. Where are all the innovations? Where is that excitement? Where is Google? We’ll wait and see until the next Nexus release.