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Developers and press gathered today at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, for the annual ritual known as Google I/O.
Are you ready for a Google overdose? Here’s everything the company announced during its most important event of the year:
Google launched its latest Android N developer preview today — the first one to receive “beta-quality” status. Developers can start testing their apps for this release by downloading the new preview here. The factory images should arrive shortly for the following supported devices: Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, Nexus 6P, Nexus 9, Nexus 9 LTE, Nexus Player, General Mobile 4G, and Pixel C.
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Remember the rumor suggesting Google may use an online poll to name Android N? Well, it turns the rumor was half-correct: It’s more of a suggestion box than a poll. Google wants to hear your what you’ve got at android.com/n.
Dave Burke, vice president of engineering for Android, said Google reserves the right to choose the final name. And he begged the crowd not to name it “Namey McNameface.”
Google introduced a revamped personal digital assistant today called, aptly, the Google Assistant. It’s based on existing technology, including Google Now.
The assistant will power Google’s upcoming Amazon Echo competitor, Google Home, as well as its new mobile messaging app, Allo. It’s voice-activated and available across devices, but the interface is packaged like a chatbot — similar to, say, Facebook Messenger’s M.
Powered by Google Assistant, Google’s Home looks sort of like the company’s OnHub router, introduced earlier this year. But unlike OnHub, there are no buttons, said Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management at Google. The system works with different types of mobile devices and even other kinds of speakers and television screens, Queiroz said. Various configurations will be available.
Google Home will also work with the most popular home networking systems, as well as Google’s own Nest devices, Queiroz said. But more generally, it can answer any question, thanks to the underlying Assistant technology. It’s basically an Amazon Echo.
More uses for Google’s Assistant: The company unveiled a brand new messaging service today called Allo.
Google says the service “brings the richness of Google right in the chat” while also helping you get in touch with anyone in your phone’s contact list. The goal is to make your communications more expressive based on your personality. The new app will be available later this summer.
A companion to the new Allo messaging app, Duo is Google’s new FaceTime challenger.
Duo calls are end-to-end encrypted, Google engineering manager Erik Kay said. But the feature that makes it stand out most from other mobile-friendly video calling services — including Skype, Facebook Messenger, and Facebook’s WhatsApp, not to mention Google’s own Hangouts — is something called Knock Knock.
Daydream is Google’s plan to move beyond the Cardboard headset it introduced two years ago. It’s a new platform designed to offer better virtual reality experiences on mobile devices.
Look for a headset, a controller, and a handful of smartphones designed to work with Daydream.
NetEase is one of the first major game companies to commit to supporting Google’s new virtual reality initiative. The Chinese publisher and developer announced that it is making a game for Daydream, the new mobile VR platform. The title is Twilight Pioneers, an action role-playing game with a fantasy setting.
Later, Epic Games announced that it is launching support for its Unreal Engine 4 game-design suites for Google Daydream.
On day two of I/O, Google announced the release of tools for building applications and games for Google’s new Daydream mobile-focused virtual reality platform. A native development kit (NDK) based in C++ for Daydream is being exposed to provide “direct low-level access to all the features of our hardware and software platform,” Google Daydream product manager Nathan Martz said.
Google is finally bringing the Google Play store, including its more than 1.5 million Android apps, to Chrome OS. Google Play will first arrive with Chrome OS version 53 on the dev channel in early June, starting with three Chromebooks: the Asus Chromebook Flip, the Acer Chromebook R11, and of course Google’s Pixel 2. Over the coming months, the feature will come to more devices on the beta channel and eventually the stable channel.
Last year, the Moto 360 left us wanting more. Today, our prayers appeared to be answered with Android Wear 2.0 — which Google is calling “the most significant update to Android Wear” since the platform launched over two years ago.
The pitch is simple: Instant apps just launch, no installation required. Tapping a URL will soon prompt Android to open an “Instant” app even if the user doesn’t have that app installed.
Google today announced that it’s collaborating with more companies to build more cameras that work with its Jump computer vision system for assembling three-dimensional virtual reality video.
Google is making its Android Pay mobile payment service more widely accessible. The company today not only extended its APIs, it also created new data feeds aimed at making it easier for developers to integrate payment processing into their apps.
Google rolled out new Google Play store features for developers today. Ellie Powers, Google Play’s lead product manager, showed off improvements to how beta programs work, benchmarks, a new pre-launch report, and a slew of minor improvements.
Google Play has over 1 billion monthly active users now, which the company argues makes it “the world’s largest app distribution platform.” Last year, Google Play users installed apps 65 billion times. That number is up from 50 billion in 2014, or a 30 percent increase.
Android Studio 2.2 preview is the latest version of Android’s integrated development environment (IDE). You can download the new version for Windows, Mac, and Linux now directly from the Canary page. If you are already using Android Studio, you can check for Canary updates in the navigation menu.
Google announced big updates to Firebase, its service for helping developers build apps for Android, iOS, and the Web. At the same time, the company also simplified Firebase’s pricing in an effort to woo more developers.
Google has started building its own custom application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chip called tensor processing units (TPUs), Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said today.
The name is inspired by Google’s TensorFlow open-source deep learning framework. But the technology is one of a kind — something that makes sense only at Google scale.
Google’s photo app appears to be a hit: CEO Sundar Pichai said today that the Photos service now has 200 million active users every month.
Google says it has sold 25 million Chromecasts, the company’s cheap streaming dongles that let you send music, photos, and videos from your phone to a TV or an external speaker.
We last heard about Chromecast in September, when Google announced it had sold 20 million units and unveiled its first major updates to the product line: Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio.
Google is launching new tools that will make it easier for developers to have their apps do things with spreadsheets inside Google Sheets and presentations in Google Slides. Slides now has its own dedicated application programming interface (API), and there is a second, more powerful Sheets API. This will not affect the existing Sheets API.
Universal App Campaigns for iOS are now available in beta and will roll out to all developers “in the near future.” Additionally, Google has made it easier to target “high-value users.”
Google also revealed that over the past year, it has more than doubled the volume of app installs driven by ads. Specifically, the company has delivered over 2 billion app downloads to developers.
Google today introduced the latest generation of Android TV partnerships. The connected television platform will be integrated into Sony’s and Sharp’s next product lines, specifically the 2016 Bravia and Sharp Net Player, continuing a long relationship between the companies. In addition, Google has struck a partnership with RCA, which will produce its first Android TV, and Xiaomi, which will make its 4K set-top box.
Google is announcing a new tool for developers to use if they’d like their applications to integrate with Google Classroom, a cloud service for handling assignments, coursework, and grades.
Updated 2:42 p.m. PT May 19 with news from day two of Google I/O.
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