Monday, June 1, 2015

So, what happened at Google IO last week?

Every year Google's IO conference has a flurry of announcements. Here's my take on this year's big ones.

Google Inbox is now broadly available. I used it for a few days when it became available by invitation last fall. I don't think I used it long enough, because I went back to the standard email interface after a week or so. If you want to try it, it's available.

The next version of Android, "M", will be available later this year - pre-release available now on Nexus 5, 6, 9, in case you're tired of Lollipop. M is focused on reliability and stability and it looks like they'll be incorporating popular features that carriers have been adding to try to get to a more "standard" platform across carriers. there are some security enhancements as well (authorizing the use of the camera, for instance, on a case-by-case basis.) They’ll also be incorporating a new power-saving "Doze" mode and USB-C support.

Brillo/Weave - a low level Internet of Things operating system and cross-platform language system.

Soli is a very small radar sensor that allows you to use finger movements to do high-precision interactions with your phone/tablet/PC - or even your smartwatch - allowing you to interact without having to deal with a tiny screen.

Google Now is being baked in to lots of apps - to better serve information just when you need it.

Google Maps will be enhanced to support offline maps and navigation later this year.

Google Cardboard virtual reality headset was announced for iOS devices - more on this later.

Project Jacquard is a technology that embeds touch in fabric. They've announced a partnership with Levi to explore this technology.

Advanced Technology and Projects group (ATAP) is responsible for a bunch of these. The idea is to ramp up short-term projects that can either result in the-next-big-thing or be trashed very quickly. ATAP is responsible for Project Ara, Project Jacquard and Soli (among others.) 

Are you planning to upgrade your Nexus phone to the M preview? If so, I'd be interested in your impressions.

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