Every tech company worth its salt is running to get involved in the Internet of Things; Ubuntu is in on it, and Microsoft has teamed up with more than one company to plant its IoT flag. Today Google unveiled its new IoT platform, Brillo.
Google is not entirely new to the Internet of Things -- it already has its cloud platform in place and has also acquired Nest. Destined for all manner of connected devices, Brillo is a stripped down and streamlined operating system based on Android. Google has not revealed how its size compares to Huawei's LiteOS, but has said that -- like Android M -- there is a focus on security, and the platform will run on Weave.
All eyes are on Google today, and there are certainly plenty of announcements to take on board. As well as exciting future releases such as Android M, there are also changes to old favorites. Google Play is one stalwart that's in line for an update, and this time around Google has decided to focus on making the store a family-friendly experience.
To allay the fears of concerned parents who are worried about what their kids might stumble across while looking for apps and games, Google is introducing a new Family category. There is a strong focus on making it easier to select content that's suitable for specific age groups and the categorization is available across apps, games, books, movies, and TV shows.
Google revealed Google Photos today, at its Google I/O 2015 developer conference. It is a new standalone app for Android, iOS and the web which aims to make it easy for users to upload all of their photos and videos to the cloud, and manage everything afterwards. And it will be available starting today.
For mobile users, this means that the Google+ app is no longer needed to automate photo and video uploads. However, Google Photos is not just about uploading content to the cloud, but also organizing it. Google says that everything will be (privately) auto-grouped, so that users can easily find, for instance, dog photos.
Ready to further facture the Android market, Google today gave us the first glimpse at what to expect in the follow up to Lollipop -- Android M. We're not yet any the wiser about what the M might stand for (Marshmallow? Marzipan? Mars?) but we do know that Google is placing a focus on security improvements, giving users greater control over app permissions, and prolonging battery life.
Battery performance improvements -- if Google is to be believed -- are seriously impressive. The company claims that its Nexus 9 tablet could benefit from twice the battery life currently enjoyed under Lollipop. What else is there to look forward to? The Developer Preview also boasts a new fingerprint reader API, indicating that biometrics are set to become increasingly important in future handsets.
Google’s annual developer conference kicks off in San Francisco today, starting with a keynote which the search giant traditionally uses to make big announcements. Last year Google showcased Android "L" (which later became Lollipop), Android Auto, Android TV, and Android Wear, as well as a number of updates to Google Services.
So what does the Google I/O 2015 keynote have in store? During past Google I/O conferences Google has unveiled the next version of Android, and there’s every reason to expect we’ll see Android "M" announced this year. It’s possible we’ll see the phoenix-like Glass 2.0 make an appearance too. Google does like to grab headlines after all.
Google revealed lower revenue from its Nexus devices last year, putting some pressure on the low-cost, high performance program’s future. Fortunately, it sounds like Google is planning to give the Nexus smartphone another try in 2015, according to Android Police.
Instead of having a single mobile, Google is planning two Nexus devices this year. One will feature a 5.2-inch display, the other a 5.7-inch display. LG will work on the smaller device, while Huawei will take its first role in the Nexus program with the 5.7-inch model.
Countless Android users are still waiting for Lollipop to roll out to their handsets, but already there is talk of the successor -- Android M. Coming up at the end of this month, Google I/O is a developer conference hosted by the search giant in San Francisco and today the full schedule for the event appeared online.
An event on May 28 with the title Android for Work update is of particular interest as there is a strong hint that details of Android M will be revealed. Although it seems that Google may have let something slip a little early -- the session that refers to the next version of Android has since vanished from the schedule, but the description is interesting nonetheless.
Google I/O 2014 started yesterday and, thanks to a lengthy first-day keynote, the search giant has already made plenty of headlines one after another. And for good reason, as it unveiled new software, new hardware (albeit none of it was Nexus-branded) and a number of sweeping changes to its portfolio. Say what you will, but Google sure had plenty of interesting things to show without even announcing a new Nexus tablet (as we were used to in the past two years).
The amount of information from the conference is overwhelming, so here is the tl;dr version.
Ever since Google released its two operating systems -- the one for computers and the one for phones and tablets -- users have talked of a merger of the two. So far that hasn't happened, and at Google I/O today it still didn't. But things got a bit cozier.
The company unveiled closer integration between the two platforms, bringing phone notifications to your computer. Is your phone ringing? Your Chromebook will popup a notice telling you who it is. Got a text message? That too will appear on your notebook. In fact, Chromebooks will even notify you of low battery life on your mobile device, letting you know it's time to charge it.
As expected, one of the big new announcements at Google’s I/O conference was Android Auto which takes Google’s mobile operating system into vehicles.
Android Auto runs on your smartphone but the apps and features are mirrored and can be controlled through a touchscreen in the vehicle. The car-specific interface is a simplified version of the forthcoming (and unnamed) Android L release, with larger less distracting 'touch targets'.
There were a lot of big unveilings at Google I/O -- an overhaul of Google+, updated maps, an on-demand music streaming service, and much more. But perhaps one of the most intriguing revelations was Hangouts.
This name may well seem familiar, but it now refers to a unified messaging system that caters for iOS, Android and Chrome users. There are apps and extensions available for each of these platforms, and the idea is to bring all Google related communication into one place.
This comes as little surprise, with rumors and leaks being rampant, but Google today unveils a new version of its popular Maps application at its I/O conference. A sign-up page had briefly been available earlier in the day, allowing users a glimpse at the new features. Then of course, there is a listing for "Google Maps: Into the Future" right on the conference site. Now we receive confirmation.
The new update brings a number of features that do, in fact, bring the service "into the future". The updates are for both mobile (tablet and smartphone) and browser -- some for each.
The Google I/O keynote has revealed some major changes to Google+. Highlights include a new multi-column stream aimed not only at providing a cleaner design but also at offering greater depth to the user experience.
The columns are customizable so that you can organize them to show the things that are most important to you. Tiles of information can be flipped to show alternative details and thanks to clever landmark recognition technology you can click on a picture to find more information about the location.
One thing that surrounds Google I/O is rumors -- almost as much as an Apple event. We have heard of an X phone from Motorola, we have seen a possible Nexus 5 from LG, and the latest is a Google branded version of the new Samsung Galaxy S4. So which one is the winner in this strange sweepstakes?
The latest rumor turns out to be the most accurate, as Google unveils its own flavor of the Samsung Galaxy S4. The Android maker is taking the new darling of the smartphone market and making it a Nexus phone, just not in name.
Google is holding its Google I/O day 1 keynote at 9am PT and you can watch it right here on BetaNews.
We will of course be bringing you stories covering all the big announcements as they happen.
Rumors of what to expect include a revamped Google Maps, Android 4.3, a new music service set to rival Spotify, and even a Google branded Galaxy S4. Let’s see which of those comes true.