Google I/O roundup: Google’s ‘Assistant’ Siri competitor, Google Home, Allo & Duo messaging apps & much more
Google kicked off its Google I/O developer conference today with the usual keynote address where executives showed off a number of upcoming hardware, software and developer tool products. It started off with its new voice controlled Siri competitor— Google Assistant— which also ties into its upcoming Amazon Echo-like device for the home called Google Home.
Google I/O is behind us and brought along interesting integration for iOS users, but now WWDC 2015 is right around the corner. This week we’ll discuss some upcoming announcements and expectations including a native Apple Watch SDK and how Apple plans to take on Google Now in iOS 9. There’s also a new
bug feature that made some important changes to the heart rate sensor on Apple Watch. The Happy Hour podcast is available for download on iTunes and through our dedicated RSS feed…
Google just wrapped up the opening keynote for its I/O developer conference taking place this week, and not surprisingly many of the announced products and services are direct competitors to Apple’s. Android Pay gets an official coming out party to compete with Apple Pay, Project Brillo is Google’s answer to HomeKit, and the new Android M gets a focus on quality, much like what Apple has in store for iOS 9 at WWDC in June. The company also announced a new Photos app with unlimited photo and video syncing and iOS support, as well as a number of other iOS app announcements.
Head below for a roundup of everything Google announced today from 9to5Google:
It’s long been known that iOS users are more profitable for developers than Android users, but figures released by Google at the Google I/O conference and crunched by Benedict Evans provide some hard data on just how big that gap is.
Google Android users in total are spending around half as much on apps on more than twice the user base, and hence app ARPU on Android is roughly a quarter of iOS.
The key reason, of course, is that Apple makes only high-end devices that attract people with a decent amount of disposable income, while Android spans everything from cheap-and-cheerful devices offered exclusively in developing countries all the way through to high-end phones like the Galaxy S5 and HTC One (M8).
Evans makes the point that we don’t actually have any data on the app and media spend of owners of premium Android handsets, and that may actually be similar to iOS users – but given that they represent a tiny minority of Android users, it’s a stat that would be interesting but not terribly relevant.
Google I/O starts today, and as per usual, the company is kicking things off with a huge 2-hour press event set to start at 9 AM PT. The event is said to be bringing a multitude of new products and service announcements, rumored to include the “L” version of Android, Android Wear smartwatches, a new line of “Android Silver” smartphones, a second-generation Chromebook Pixel, an “Android TV” set-top box, Project Tango tablets, and Google Glass announcements.
Google Maps coming to iPad this summer, updated with new design, improved rating system, in-app offers, much more
We showed you significant updates to Google Maps which leaked early this morning, and Google just announced updates to Maps at Google I/O.
Google also announced that its Maps API is used by over 1 million active sites and accessed by 1 billion unique visitors weekly.
Maps will now feature a 5 star rating system for locations across all platforms. Users can now swipe across results in a simple, gesture user interface. Zagat reviews are now more prominent with badges and cards simplifying its appearance. These cards now include a new Offers experience with partners including Starbucks.
Google Maps for Mobile also includes improvements to rerouting in transit and explore features. Google Maps for iPad was demoed during the keynote, which we expect to see with the iPhone update this summer.
Google today announced that it is revamping the Google voice search feature available in Chrome on the desktop. While users have always been able to search with their voice through Chrome, Google is attempting to make the service work more like it does through Google Search apps and Google Now on mobile devices.
Chrome will now include “conversational search” with a brand new interface that doesn’t require users to click in order to search with their voice. Like on mobile devices with Google Now, users will now be able to simple say “Google” in order to activate voice search.
Today, we previewed what this conversational experience will look like in Chrome on your desktops and laptops. Soon, you’ll be able to just say, hands-free, “OK Google, will it be sunny in Santa Cruz this weekend?” and get a spoken answer. Then, you’ll be able to continue the conversation and just follow up with “how far is it from here?” if you care about the drive or “how about Monterey?” if you want to check weather somewhere else, and get Google to tell you the answer.
The new interface, as pictured above from Google’s demo of the feature, is much like the voice search interface for Google Now on Android devices.
The new feature will be coming to Macs and PCs through Chrome soon.
Google also briefly showed off some new content coming to Google Now including new cards for Reminders, Music Albums, TV Shows, Books, Public Transit, and Video games rolling out today:
We knew from leaks in the weeks leading up to I/O that Google was planning some gaming related announcements and today the company has officially announced the service in a press release ahead of its Google I/O keynote taking place now. Not only will the service allow Android developers to build in real-time multiplayer, social features, achievements, and leaderboards while storing game saves and settings in the cloud, the SDK for Google Play game services will also be available to iOS and web developers.
Google noted a few titles for Android have already been updated with the feature including World of Goo, Super Stickman Golf 2, Beach Buggy Blitz, Kingdom Rush, Eternity Warriors 2, and Osmos.
Not surprisingly, the cross-platform gaming service will also build in Google+ integration to track high scores, achievements and more:
-Achievements that increase engagement and promote different styles of play.
-Social and public leaderboards that seamlessly use Google+ circles to track high scores across friends and across the world.
-Cloud saves that provide a simple and streamlined storage API to store game saves and settings. Now players never have to replay Level 1 again.
-Real-time multiplayer for easy addition of cooperative or competitive game play on Android devices. Using G+ Circles a game can have up to 4 simultaneous friends or auto-matched players in a game session together with support for additional players coming soon.
Google’s full press release below:
Just a friendly reminder that 9to5Google will be covering Google’s yearly developer conference called Google I/O today. The 3 hour(!!) keynote starts at noon ET today and can be watched via live stream here.
Last month we saw hints that Google Now could be coming to the web, and now it looks like we could see deeper integration than we thought.
François Beaufort points us to Notification Center pop-ups being developed in a recent Chromium build, much like the Gmail notifications offered by its web app.
Read the full story on 9to5Google.com.
Google I/O is happening right now, and execs just showed off a new version of Google+ for tablets that will come to the iPad “very soon.”
Of course, our tablet app isn’t just bigger, like our mobile app isn’t just smaller. It’s designed with the device in mind, and it includes:
-A beautiful stream that styles content based on popularity, type and orientation
-A “lean back” Hangouts experience that’s great for the couch or common room
-Crisper text, fuller photos and easily-tappable actions like +1 and comment
The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.
For those interested in what the folks at Mountain View are announcing this morning, check out 9to5Google. Seth Weintraub is live-blogging from the event now:
Here are a few vids for some of the key announcements: