What took place at this year’s Google I/O conference?

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Every year major tech companies hold developer conferences to show off exciting new innovations.  One of the biggest annual conferences of the year is Google I/O.  This year’s iteration of Google I/O was held a short distance from Google’s Mountain View campus at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.  While Google is most well-known for its position as a search engine giant, it also is a major player in many other areas of technology.
For Google I/O 2017 the main themes were: building on mobile devices, going beyond mobile to include Virtual Reality (VR), growth and earning revenue from development and Google specific platforms such as Android, YouTube and others.
In the mobile section, Google’s biggest product is Android OS, where it was accounted at Google I/O that Android has now amassed over two-billion active devices worldwide; this surpasses the number of active Apple devices. Every Android release is named after a dessert and while the latest version, Android O, has not been assigned a name several interesting new features are coming soon to the mobile OS.  One of these new features is called Picture in Picture (PiP) and allows users to take video calls while still using their phone normally.  The other new features of Android O centered on how notifications and related information is presented to the user.  Now, ongoing notifications will be smaller and take up less room, while notification dots which act similarly on iOS will easily allow you to tell when you have a new email, missed text or other types of notifications.  Two of the other major new features included the unveiling of Project Treble and Google Assistant.  With Project Treble, Google has removed a lot of the previous hindrances to devices being updated quickly with the latest version of Android.
Now smaller updates will be pushed out by the manufacturer while Google will automatically update phone software to the next version of Android.  Google assistant will launch shortly on iOS and is looking to directly compete with Siri.  The main goal of Google assistant is to make it easier for iOS users to interact with Google products such as Gmail and YouTube using their voices.
While day one of the conference was focused almost solely on the Android OS, day two of the conference showcased Google’s other ambitious projects ranging from new offerings in VR to home automation.  Google Daydream is Google’s VR headset technology and now Google, along with HTC and Lenovo, are going to release standalone headsets using Daydream. This means the headset will not require users to connect to smartphones or prohibitively expensive computers. Also noteworthy in the VR department is that Google’s Chrome web browser will allow VR content to be played.  Another of Google’s VR focused endeavors is Project Tango where users will be able to wear VR headsets while inside public shopping areas.  Beyond making it easy to find where you want to go it will allow you to quickly check prices and see if the items you are looking for are available in any other stores.  Google also continued to revamp its efforts with Google Home, a direct competitor to Amazon Echo, by offering the ability to stream music from many popular music services including Spotify and Soundcloud.
Google I/O is always an interesting event. While some projects showcased are just interesting demos that will unfortunately never make it to the consumer market, most of what is shown is an exciting sneak preview of the technology that will soon become commonplace in our everyday lives.
For more information about the event visit: https://events.google.com/io/

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