Everything You Need To Know From Today’s Google I/O Keynote

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Everything You Need To Know From Today’s Google I/O Keynote


It's Keynote Day!

Today was Keynote day at Google’s 2015 I/O Conference, and you know what that means: announcements, announcements, announcements.

Who has time to follow all that? We’ve crammed everything down into bite-sized morsels so you can walk away knowing everything there is to know about I/O 2015.


HBO Now on Android

HBO’s standalone, no cable-required streaming service was exclusive to Apple… temporarily. It’ll come to Android and Google Play this summer.


Google Play Hits Huge Numbers

Google Play now has 1B active users, with 50B app installs in the past 12 months.


The "Family Star"

Apps can now get a “family friendly” designation called The Family Star. These apps will also be available in a special family section, with categories for different age groups.


Android M is coming!

The next version of Android, shipped as a developer preview today. It has 6 flagship new features…


#1: App Permissions

App Permissions (like camera or GPS access) are now requested the first time they’re used, rather than in one big blast at install. Permissions can also be toggled on a one-by-one basis after install.


#2: Chrome Custom Tabs

Developers now have a full featured, skinnable version of Chrome they can embed in their app


#3: App Links

App devs can now lock down Android intents. If you click a link that should open in Twitter, for example, Twitter can keep third-party apps from hijacking that intent


#4: Android Pay

Remember the NFC, touch-to-pay part of Google Wallet? It’s that, but rebranded and built into the OS by default. Unlock your device, hold it up to an NFC reader (in Whole Foods, McDonalds, or many other retailers), and bam — you’ve paid. Your credit card is not shared with the store. Android Pay works with any NFC-enabled Android device.


#5: Fingerprint Reader Support

While Android phones with fingerprint readers already exist, such things were always built by the device makers — not Google. Android now supports fingerprint readers at an OS level, allowing for things like making purchases in the Play store with your thumb or unlocking your device. It also works as a payment authentication method within third-party applications.


#6: Doze

When you haven’t moved your device in a while, apps can be pushed into low-power “doze” modes. Google says this can extend your device’s standby life by up to 2x.


The little things…

Other, smaller features include:
– An improved copy/paste workflow
– Greatly improved volume controls with indepedent settings for ringer/alarm/music volume.

(To be honest, while Google downplayed it, that new volume controller is probably the thing I’m most excited for in Android M)



And as an added bonus: USB C support is coming to Android soon.



Oh! I forgot to mention. This whale came out briefly right before the keynote started, swimming across the wall-to-wall panoramic projection display. People. Went. Bananas. Really. It was probably the loudest applause of the day. It was kind of weird.

One guy yelled “WHAAAAALE!”


Android Wear

Android Wear is getting an overhaul. The gist: wrist flicking gestures for fast (if goofy) navigation, emoji recognition, an always on display, and a rearranged (and improved!) UI flow.


Google goes after the Internet of Things

Google announced two new projects focusing on the Internet of Things: Brillo and Weave. Brillo is a Android-based operating system for IoT devices; Weave is a standard for IoT devices to communicate with each other. Gadget makers can use both Brillo and Weave, or just one of the two. Both will roll out to developers in late 2015.


Speech Recognition

Google has improved the speech recognition error rate from 23% in 2013 to 8% in 2015.


Now On Tap

Google Now can now use the current, on screen information as context to provide you info. If you’re looking at a text about a certain restaurant, holding the home button will bring up details about that restaurant or movie. If you’re listening to a song by, say, Skrillex, saying “Okay Google, What’s his real name?” will auto-scrape that “his” refers to Skrillex. Mind blowing.


Google Photos

Google is breaking its photo hosting stuff out of Google Plus. Google Photos is a free, unlimited storage service. It’ll host photos up to 16MP, and videos up to 1080p. It’s available for Android, iOS, and the web.


Offline Maps

Google Maps is getting deep offline support. Once you’ve saved a map for an area, you’ll be able to search for businesses within that area, read reviews, and even do turn-by-turn navigation without an internet connection.


Google Cardboard V2

Google released V2 of their super-economical VR viewer. It now supports phones with screens up to 6″ Meanwhile, the incredibly neat magnet-button from V1 has been replaced with a more universal button.


Cardboard In The Classroom

Google will begin shipping teachers “Expedition” kits, complete with everything they take their class on Cardboard fieldtrips. All of the Cardboard viewers in the class are synchronized and controlled by a teacher’s tablet, allowing students to view and explore in virtual reality together. This is straight up Magic Schoolbus stuff.



A counterpart to Cardboard, Google is working on making it easier to film immersive 360° VR video. They’re opening up the plans for a 360° camera rig, and launching server-side software that stitches the video together in a way that allows a limited degree of movement. Move your head while watching the video, and things will re-align accordingly in VR — but you can only move a few inches, since it’s not a truly simulated environment


GoPro JUMP Rig

Google isn’t selling a VR camera rig of their own, but GoPro is building one based on the JUMP specifications