Google I/O 2017: What to expect from the developer conference
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Later on Wednesday, Google will kick off this year’s edition of the I/O Developers’ Conference with a keynote at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. And just like every other year, it’ll start off with the keynote address which will give us a better idea of the path Google wants to tread this year, what Google is working on, new products, the smarts that we can expect in apps later this year and, of course, a peek at the next Android operating system.
However, it’ll be tough to follow up on last year’s I/O, where Google unveiled the Google Assistant virtual assistant based on artificial intelligence, the Daydream virtual reality (VR) platform, the Home smart assistant and speaker as well as messaging apps called Allo and Duo.
But that should not stop us from predicting what we may get to see this year—updates for the Daydream platform, the Android Wear smartwatch platform, for Allo, Duo and other Google Apps, and perhaps even how Chrome OS and Instant Apps will evolve.
Here are the big announcements to watch out for.
Google Assistant: A year on, more focussed?
There is pretty much a guarantee that the Assistant will get a lot of attention this time around, considering it is exactly one year now since it was launched. Newer capabilities may be added, which will put it in an even stronger position against the diverse competition including Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Artificial intelligence and contextual understanding will surely be further improved, while there may be additions to its knowledge base as well. We might see newer devices that are powered with Assistant artificial intelligence—maybe even an update for the Home.
Could some security fears be assuaged by Google? While Assistant is also a part of messaging apps such as Allo, it might need to be more specific in what it wants to be—right now, Assistant seems to be everywhere on an Android phone, yet sometimes it feels too stretched and too un-focused to harness its potential. Plus, developers will perhaps need a bit more assurance as to what Google visualizes for the Assistant, to get them more excited about the idea.
Android O: What’s on the menu?
To follow up on last year’s Android Nougat, Google has already released a developer preview for Android O. We don’t yet know what O stands for, but it is almost a certainty that Google will give us a sneak peek at what to expect from the next Android that’ll run on our smartphones. We already know a bit about Android—Google promises better battery life (just like every year), snoozing notifications and redone settings options, to name a few. As it might just turn out that Android O is simply a significant improvement package for Nougat, but would Google be satisfied with just that?
Android in the car: The next frontier
Just ahead of the Google I/O developers conference, Google has shown off a full-fledged Android version that will run in-car infotainment systems. The first companies to sign up are German carmaker Audi (they will upgrade the MMI infotainment system with Android) and Volvo (the next generation of the Sensus Connect system will also be able to run the full version of Android), and we will be able to see it in its full glory as both car makers will give a demo on what they have done with Android in their cars—the demo is expected on the Audi Q8 and Volvo V90. The Android for the car also integrates Google Assistant, which is the artificial intelligence-powered, voice-based virtual assistant. Google is also expected to unveil updates for the Android Auto platform for existing users and new systems that will deploy this add-on—Android Auto is expected to get significant usability tweaks, and wider compatibility.