The 2015 Google I/O, Google’s 2-day developer conference, featured several significant announcements that will impact users in some pretty exciting ways. Here are ten of the most influential announcements that were made.
1. Android M
Android M is the forthcoming update to Android’s operating system, and with it comes improvements on permissions, battery usage, and fingerprint recognition. The updated operating system features a new opt-in permissions system, allowing users to set app permissions on an individual basis. A new feature called Doze increases battery time by shutting down background processes when the device isn’t being physically handled. Improved fingerprint recognition means that users can use fingerprints to authenticate purchases made in the Play Store or with Google’s new Android Pay, as well as providing authentication in other applications.
2. Android Pay
Although Apple Pay has been out for several months, Google announced its own mobile payment service that will replace Google Wallet. Google announced that Android Pay is already accepted by 700,000 merchants. Android Pay will allow users to make purchases in-app as well as at physical stores.
3. Google Photos
Users can now store photos and videos in Google’s new Photos storage and sharing service. Photos and videos are stored in the cloud and accessible from any device. Google Photos features unlimited storage and some impressive organization and search features that eliminate the need for tags. Users can make videos and collages within the app.
Partnering with GoPro, Google’s goal with Jump is to create a system by which users can create their own virtual reality content. Google itself is developing a 360-degree camera rig with GoPro, but Google’s goal is that users will be able to use any combination of cameras to create VR content. Jump serves to expand upon Google’s Cardboard VR platform
Developed by the team behind Gmail, Inbox is designed to make email organization work more efficiently for its users. Features such as Undo Send and Reminder suggestions based on email content will undoubtedly save time and make users lives a little easier. A new feature that Google announced for Inbox is Trip Bundles, which collects all emails related to a trip into one easy-to-access location.
6. Polymer 1.0
Polymer 1.0 is a new Web App toolkit made available to developers, which allows them to create impressive “app-like experiences” on the web. The toolkit gives developers the tools they need to create web applications faster and supports both desktop and mobile browsers.
7. The Family Store
Google introduced a new section of the Play Store designed specifically for children and parents. The Family Store isolates apps for children 6-8 and 9-12. In addition to the many apps that have already been available for children on the app store, The Family Store will feature many new apps that are designed for children for families to choose from.
8. Google Maps Offline
Google announce offline accessibility of apps like Maps and YouTube. With Maps, users will no longer run the risk of having a drop in connectivity cause the disappearance of the directions they’ve pulled up. Making apps available offline is Google’s strategy for making app accessibility available in countries where the internet isn’t always readily available.
9. Android Wear
Google makes usability of their Android Wear more prominent by introducing features such as “Always On,” which allows users to select an app still stay open on the screen so that users can get information at a glance. Google also introduced gestures, such as flicking of the wrist, that aids in hands-free navigation.
10. Project Brillo
Brillo is Google’s new operating system designed specifically for the Internet of Things and will run on connected devices that have low memory and small processors. Google also announced a common language by which these connected devices will communicate with one another called Weave. Brillo will allow Google to get Android onto many more devices.