That’s a wrap on all things Google. It was a ride with mixed announcements. While the company didn’t have any super-surprising reveals, Google’s product roadmap indicates that Android is only going to become more versatile as it enters sectors such as commerce and the smart home. In case you missed the keynote, here’s a recap of all the highlights you may have missed.
Google is also become more skilled at tying together its disparate services into a single, pleasing user experience, as evinced by the expanded focus on Google Now.
Here’s a quick roundup of the four biggest new announcements Google made Thursday:
Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google, says that the company has been watching what device makers have been adding to Android and is folding a lot of those ideas into the core system. There are six new areas that Google has focused on with M, ranging from new features to improved performance and efficiency.One of the big parts of Android M is a redesigned apps permissions system. Users will be able to approve or deny security permissions, such as camera or location access, on a case by case basis. There are only eight categories of permissions available to apps now, and the apps will ask for them as they need them. That’s different from how Android current works, which asks users to approve all permissions at once when the app is installed. It’s also very similar to how Apple has handle app permissions in iOS for years. Apps will not have to ask for permissions with every update, either.
Everything that pertains to your Google account (connected apps, security, etc.) is now grouped together right in a “Google” section of settings; the standalone app shortcut is history. The confounding Do Not Disturb mode introduced in Android 5.0 is now a lot more straightforward, both in terms of setup and Android M making sure you know what each setting actually does.
The first new feature is “App permissions,” simplifying what data users allow apps to access. In this new model, apps on Android M will no longer ask for a lengthy permissions list upon installation, but instead prompt the user for permission when the app needs to use a feature (i.e. camera or microphone).
Chrome Custom Tabs allows developers to add custom features that overlays on top of apps. For example, the Pinterest app can add custom transition animation to link to the Web, directly within the app. There’s also a new app linking feature that will allow apps to verify links to switch from app to app quickly.
A new “dozing” feature is designed to help save battery life when the device’s motion sensor is stagnant. Alarms and notifications will still push to the phone in this state, however. Meanwhile, Google also said USB Type C is coming to Android devices “soon.”Google says apps will now also learn your sharing behavior to see who you share content with the most based on which app you’re using.
Android M Developer preview is available today for Nexus 5, 6, 9, and Player.
Another year, another attempt by Google to get mobile payments right. Today, at its I/O developer conference, the company unveiled a new app, called Android Pay, that will take the place of Google Wallet on your phone. Google says in its keynote that it will expand Android Pay by partnering with mobile providers to pre-install the feature on new devices. Partners include T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T. To authenticate payments, you can use your fingerprint to verify your identity.
To give Android Pay a shot at success, Google negotiated partnerships with the three major U.S. cellular carriers: AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile. Those carriers will pre-install Android Pay on devices they sell running Android 4.4 “KitKat” or later with NFC built in. On devices running the new Android M operating system — which won’t be very many for some time, based on Android upgrade cycle history — users will also be able to quickly access and authorize Pay using native fingerprint support.
Some new Android Wear updates will include an “Always On” feature to keep apps on the screen so information is always glanceable in a low power black and white mode. Users no longer need to tap the screen to wake up the app.New wrist gestures, such as flicking up and down to scroll, is added to help in case your hands are full. You can also draw emojis on an Android Wear watch now as well… if you’re feeling adventurous with your artistic skills.
At this time, Google says there are approximately 4,000 apps designed for Android Wear.
All things Internet:
Google is fully using its Nest acquisition to step into the Internet of Things market by announcing Project Brillo, its own operating system for IoT devices. Brillo is derived from Android to provide low power, wireless solution that can be easily scalable to all types of Android devices.
It’s also using its own language named Weave to communicate between the Brillo OS, a device and the cloud. Weave is available cross-platform.
Google has launched a new photos app called Google Photos. It aims to improve how you store and organize your huge photo collection. Just as we speculated Here.
Three concepts for Photos are: a secure home for your media, organization and sharing.
You can edit photos in-app as well as create collages, animations and stories. Machine learning makes the app smart, Google says. Over time, Photos learns faces and will organize images based on the people in them — scanning for people, places, or things to organize them. A share option utilizes more than just Plus, as in the past.
Photos looks a lot like Photos in Google +, just without the unneeded social component. The pinch-to-zoom feature acts like Apple’s Photos app and zooming in and out takes you to a more close-up view. It supports up to 16mp photos and 1080p videos.
You don’t have to tag or label photos or create albums. When you want to find a particular shot, just do a simple search to instantly find any photo. Auto-grouping is private by default.
Photos will also bring Assistant, which helps manage your photos. Videos made from photos and video are also created automatically.
You can download Photos here
At its I/O developer event today, Google announced that it is finally bringing offline support for Google Maps.
The new functionality works both for browsing maps and turn-by-turn directions, voice support and all.
It can even pull in local reviews before you go offline, so you can still find information on a restaurant when your data access is low or spotty. The announcement comes after Google release offline support for other products this year, include Chrome and YouTube (in select countries).
The company said offline support will arrive “later this year.”
Announced during last year’s conference, Google announced that the Google Cardboard SDK for Unity will now support iOS. It’s got an improved viewer as well, and is overall easier to assemble.
There’s also a new “Expeditions” VR program that lets teachers control virtual field trip destinations from a tablet and allow students to explore new places from a Google Cardboard VR system. Finally, Google announced “Jump,” a camera rig system that will allow anyone to record VR video. Essentially, it puts a camera – any camera you’d like – in a ring to record in 360 degree. Google also partnered with GoPro to sell a jump-ready camera rig this year. YouTube will support Jump videos, with non-stereoscopic videos available to try this summer.
Let us just end with this: