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In May, Google held its Google I / O 2020 developer conference, the annual event in which the technology giant presents all its news and comments on some projects in development. In this article you will find some of the most outstanding news.
1. Google Assistant
Google presented its new smart virtual assistant, meant to compete directly with Siri, Alexa and Cortana, assistants from Apple, Amazon and Microsoft, respectively. It is a much improved version of your current Google Now assistant but able to learn and get to know the user very well to adapt perfectly to their preferences.
Also, the new assistant understand the context much better conversations, allowing you to converse in natural language with complete fluency. Its main disadvantage, at least for us, is that At the moment it will not be available in Spanish.
The company has also announced that Google Assistant will not replace Google Now, but for the moment its use will be limited to the new Allo smart messaging application and the Google Home artificial intelligence system for the home, which we will talk about below.
In any case, everything indicates that, in the long run, it will be incorporated into the other products of the company.
This week Google has also presented Google Springboard, a version of Google Now for business. The objective is that this assistant helps companies that use its services, such as Drive, Gmail, Calendar or Docs.
2. Google Home
Finally, Google will have its own artificial intelligence system for the home, destined to compete with Apple Home and Echo, from Amazon. The device, similar to Echo, will incorporate the new virtual assistant Google Assistant, which will be activated by hearing the user's voice saying "Ok Google." Thanks to various long-range microphones and a speaker, Google Home will be able to converse with the user and comply with their requests, acting as a control center for the home.
Among other things, we can ask you questions asking for information about news, the weather, the nearest cinemas, etc .; ask you to play a movie or play music; and even that the ambient temperature rises or falls, if we have a Nest smart thermostat at home. If we have a smart lighting system or smart door locks, we can also control them with our voice through Google Home. And, of course, it also works in combination with Google Calendar so we can ask you to remind us of an appointment, to postpone it, etc.
For movie or music playback to work, different devices such as television or speakers will need to support Google Cast.
Its main advantage Regarding Amazon's Echo device, is that Google Home incorporates the search capability of Googland, unbeatable in this field.
At the moment, it will only work with a single Google account, but the company has already said that it hopes to resolve this soon. Google's plans also include working with developers so that Google Home can control more things besides the home, such as reserving a car or table at a restaurant, ordering food at home or sending flowers to someone. All this with the voice.
In his presentation, Google has not revealed the launch date of Google Home, but has said it will be this year. We also do not know in which countries it will be released but, taking into account that Google Assistant does not speak in Spanish for now, it is likely that at least for the moment it will not reach any Spanish-speaking country.
3. Allo and Duo
Allo is a messaging app to chat with our friends and family, similar to WhatsApp, but smart. In addition to all the usual functions, emojis, etc .; when we receive a message, automatically Allo suggests possible answers so we don't have to write. Even if the message received is an image, the application analyzes its content and offers us possible responses. It also incorporates Google Assistant, so we can talk to the application and ask questions.
Among its newer functions are the possibility to enlarge or reduce the size of our answer. That way we can indicate that we are angry without having to write all the time in capital letters or transmit a whisper. And send an image, writing or drawing something with your finger on it.
Also incorporates the functions of Google Assistant, so you can suggest places to dine near the place where we are and reserve a table through services such as OpenTable without leaving the application, or show us the list of the nearest cinemas, etc. The goal is that we no longer have to continually exit the application every time we need to search for information.
When it comes to privacy, Allo will offer an "incognito mode" similar to Chrome. And we can receive notifications discreetly, use end-to-end encryption in our communications or put a time limit on our messages, as well as delete them completely once we are finished.
Parallel to the launch of Allo, Google has presented Duo, a complete video calling application that complements the messaging application. Its main novelty is its "Knock Knock" function that allows us, upon receiving a video call request, to see the person who is calling us before picking up.
The launch of both applications is scheduled for this summer, although it is already possible to register on Google Play so that the company will notify us as soon as the application is available for download. Both applications will be available for Android and iOS.
Google could thus be ahead of Facebook, which has announced that it will soon incorporate its virtual assistant M into its messaging application, but has not yet done so.
Once again, since Google Assistant will not speak Spanish at the moment, it may take Allo longer to reach Spanish-speaking countries, or it may not include all of these features at first.
4. Android N, the next version of Google's mobile OS
Actually that will not be its name, but until now Google has always called each version of Android by a name of a sweet, cake or candy that begins with the corresponding letter in alphabetical order. They started at A with Apple Pie (apple pie), followed by Banana Bread, Cupcake, Donut, etc. The latest version, 6.0, started with M, Marshmallow (cloud) and now it's up to N, but it seems that Google has had some difficulty finding a candy that begins with that letter. So for the moment you have chosen to refer to the version as Android N and have organized a contest among users to find the most suitable name. We will know the result soon.
Among the main novelties of this version is the possibility of using Google Play applications without having to previously install them on our device. It is what is known as "Google Instant Apps". This is especially useful when we have little space on our device, when we only want to do something specific with an application and then we will not need it anymore or to test the application before deciding whether or not we want to install it on our phone. At the moment it will only be available in Preview, as the company has already warned that it will take time to adjust the system to work perfectly.
The new version of Android also improves data and battery consumption, increasing the range of autonomy of mobile devices; and add the possibility to have several applications open and in the foreground in different windows, similar to desktop computers.
The release of the new version is scheduled for fall, around September or October.
5. Chrome OS improvements
The main announcement in this section has not been a surprise because the news leaked as a rumor before the congress, but it has not lost its importance for that. The news is that Android applications will finally reach the Chrome operating system and, therefore, Google laptops: Chromebooks. As in Android, the applications can be downloaded from Google Play and will be installed and run on computers like any other program, that is, they will not run in emulator mode, but as native applications.
The company has already published a list of devices with Chrome OS that will be compatible with Android applications.
This fabulous upgrade could significantly boost Chromebook sales around the world.
6. Daydream, a virtual reality platform
Google has presented Daydream, a virtual reality platform for Android. It is a new platform for developers, together with a set of engineering standards, aimed at facilitate the development of virtual reality applications for mobile devices with Android OS.
Google has already pushed mobile-phone-based virtual reality with its Cadboard cardboard glasses. You can see the assembly of the glasses in this video:
Obviously, Google's alternative is much more rudimentary than other virtual reality systems like the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR, but it is also much cheaper.
Now, With Daydream Google will make available to developers a platform designed to facilitate the development of applications and games for mobiles that use virtual reality, in addition to a standard virtual reality viewer and a command similar to wii with which users can control their movements during the game and navigate the interface.
Google has also announced that Daydream-compatible smart mobile phones of the brands HTC and Samsung will soon be released; and that later other brands will be added.
Developers will be able to start developing virtual reality applications immediately with Android N and Google will enable a specific section on Google Play for these types of applications and games. The search giant also commented in the presentation that they will bring to Daydream, services such as Google Play Movies, Google Photos or Streetview; and that They have already remodeled YouTube to be perfectly compatible with virtual reality.
Google has also developed JUMP VR, a camera with which anyone can record virtual reality videos, with 360-degree images; and, later, upload them to YouTube.
This is an example:
Daydream is scheduled to go live in Fall 2020.
7. Android Wear 2.0
Is the new version of Android for wearable devices (wearables), such as smart watches. Until now, it was necessary to always carry the mobile phone with you because that was where the applications were and the watch simply gave us access to some of its functions. However, in the new version of Android Wear OS 2.0 it is now possible to install the applications on the watch, so we can use the applications we have even if we have left the phone at home or in the car. In addition, the devices will have direct access to the cloud.
Also includes a on-screen keyboard and the possibility to write by scribbling with your finger on the clock screen. These options are in addition to the one you already had for voice commands. Also, will show us possible automatic responses.
At the moment, the new version of the OS is still in beta, but according to some media, it could see the light in October.
8. Ara Project
ATAP, the Google group tasked with developing its modular phone as part of Project Ara, has announced that the phone will be released later this year, albeit only in beta. The final version for consumers is expected to be released in spring 2017.
The main advantage of this phone is that it will accommodate any specific needs of people. For example, during the presentation at Google I / O a glucose sensor was incorporated. Thanks to its modular system, we will be able to incorporate very diverse options of specific modules into the telephone and thus enjoy functionalities that otherwise would never have been included in regular telephones..
9. Jacquard Project, in collaboration with LEVIS
From the same developers of the modular phone, that is, ATAP, comes a LEVIS brand denim jacket with sensors incorporated directly into the fabric.
The huntress is designed for people who use the bike as urban transport. Using a GPS or music player while riding your bike around town is uncomfortable and can be really dangerous. With this jacket, users can perform these functions simply by gesturing, touching an area of the sleeve or sliding a finger over it.
Like Project Ara's modular phone, the smart jacket will be released later this year in beta and it could go on sale to the public in 2020.
10. Soli Project
It is another of ATAP's projects that could revolutionize the way we handle our wearable devices or wearables. Until now, each company has adopted its own system. In the case of the Apple Watch, for example, the Apple smartwatch interface is designed for users to control and interact with the device through touch. In the case of Google and its Android Wear system, until now it was mainly handled by voice commands And, starting with the next version, Android Wear 2.0 also incorporates new touch functions.
These two options are the most common, but could there be another way. That is what ATAP is trying to develop with the Soli project. The idea is that the device can capture the gestures we make with our hands and understand what we are trying to communicate with them. To do this, it uses a radar sensor similar to that of video game consoles, but which ATAP has managed to reduce to a very small size.
According to the announcement made at Google I / O 2020, ATAP will release the API throughout this year so developers can do what they want with technology. Thanks to this, the next generation of smartwatches and other wearable devices could incorporate truly advanced gesture detection functions.
11. Awareness API
It is a new API for app developers and mobile device manufacturers which basically provides them with access to information about the environment in which the user is and the activity they are performing, through a series of signals captured by the device. Specifically, seven signals: exercise (walking, driving, resting ...), radio frequency beacons or tags, headphones, location, place (at home, at work, in a bar ...), weather and meteorological report.
Thanks to this new API, developers will be able to create applications capable of capturing the context in which the user is and make suggestions based on it. For example, if we are walking and we connect the headphones of the phone, it could suggest a playlist of music to exercise, while if we are at home in rest and we connect the headphones it could suggest a list of calmer music. Likewise, if the weather application detects that we are going to leave the house and knows that it is going to rain in a while, it could suggest that we take an umbrella. And so with countless things.
In addition, Google ensures that the introduction of this API will save battery on devices by making more efficient use of resources.
The API is not yet available, but developers interested in using it can register now to be the first to access it as soon as it is ready.
12. Project Loon
At this year's congress there was no major announcement about this Google project, aimed at bringing the Internet to the most remote areas of the world, but there were we could see one of the balloons with which it intends to do so.
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