Google I/O is happening and there are all kinds of goodies being previewed for you phone and tablet. Honestly, some of them are just a step forward, normally in the right direction, as oppose to something new and exciting. Here is a run down of the main stories:
If you took Google Now (On Tap) and branched it over a majority of the Google tools and added a relaxed voice activation then you would have this step forward. Whilst it might not seem a huge deal initially it may very well change how you interact with your phone. Most of us use “Ok Google” to experiment or to show off, however it might just become a staple in our daily lives if the this is as flexible as it seems. One can only hope they add voice recognition one day.
Next we have a new smart messaging app for Android and iOS, Allo. Importantly the app is based on your phone number and learns from your habits. We have seen some quick replies in Gmail recently, however Allo wants to install a more personal approach to help convey emotion to the recipient. Whispering and shouting are factors here that Allo will understand and Allo will adjust the text size according. I am not sure if Allo would recognise sarcasm or frustration and if it would be a helpful feature if it does, time will tell.
Google Assistant mentioned above will be built into Allo. This will allow you to add elements for discussion in your messages and then develop the details in the message. For example, if you are discussing going for dinner you can add restaurant information and then book it Allo’s message chain. Allo also supports gaming and developers will be able to submit games based on the Allo platform.
Duo, a new video calling app, and a companion to the Allo chat application. In Duo, which will be available for both Android and iOS you can see a video feed of the person who’s calling you before you pick up, letting you see if it’s someone you know or not. Duo monitors video quality every second, adjusting seamlessly when needed. The app will also switches easily between Wi-Fi and mobile networks. I don’t think we are saying goodbye to Hangouts just yet…
Chrome on the mobile will be getting Incognito Mode. This allows end-to-end encryption, time-deleted messages and the ability to hide the sender and receiver details. As soon as you close the Incognito mode, everything that you did will disappear, like it never happened.
There is some new hardware, Google Home, a new intelligent speaker that can respond to your questions. Home allows you to interact with Google’s new Assistant, intelligent interface, even picking up conversations with Assistant that you started on another device. And it won’t have trouble hearing you, thanks to the far-field voice recognition technology. What this boils down to is Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker with input and ouput. You can listen to music and other entertainment streaming directly from the cloud. Google Cast is supported, and can join with other Google Cast speakers for multi-room music playback. Additionally you can perform a search, create tasks, and even set alarms. Home can control the smart devices already in your home, like the Nest thermostat and deal with third party services such as Uber.