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Mace & Crown | April 25, 2018

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Google I/O Shows New Features for Devices and Developers

Audra Reigle | Technology Editor

May 17-19, developers met in Mountain View, California. for the Google I/O conference. Many new features for Google products and information about Android O was announced during the keynote on May 17.

There were two themes that Android O focused on: fluid experiences and vitals, as described by Dave Burke, Vice President of Engineering for Android. Fluid experiences specifically focused on features that would make Android O more user friendly. The vitals focused on improving battery life as well as security enhancements, OS improvements and developer tools. A beta of Android O is now available, and the release is scheduled for late summer.

Google Home is also going to receive some new updates. The home product is expected to be available in Canada, Australia, France, Germany and Japan this summer. Other new features include proactive assistance, hands free calling and visual responses. Proactive assistance will allow users to get information they need based on their schedule, such as reminders or traffic updates. Hands free calling will allow users to make calls to any U.S. or Canadian mobile phone. Visual responses will send the information you need to the appropriate device.

Google Photos will be getting suggested sharing, shared libraries and photo books. Suggested sharing will allow users to share photos to their friend, and those friends can then add their own photos to share with everyone. Shared libraries will allow multiple users to have access to a single person’s photos so they can save the ones they want. Photo books are also available. A softcover book starts at $9.99, and a hardcover book starts at $19.99. Google Lens is also slated to come to Google Photos later this year.

Google Lens will allow you to look at objects and get more information about them. Specifically in Google Photos, users will be able to identify objects in their photos at a later time when they may not remember. It will also work with screenshots. It will first ship to Google Assistant and Google Photos, and other devices will get it later.

Those with low memory or data on their phones can look forward to Android Go. Android Go will allow users with devices that have 1 GB or less of memory to still have access to apps and games. It will also make data management more visible. YouTube Go will also be available, which will allow users to preview videos before viewing and save videos for later viewing when they don’t have data. All Android devices with 1 GB or less of RAM will have Go configurations, and the first devices are expected to ship in 2018.

The Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ is slated to get Daydream support this summer, and LG’s next flagship phone will have Daydream support when it launches later in the year. Google is also developing standalone VR headsets, which are expected to come to the market later this year.

Google’s I/O conference was designed for developers, but those in attendance were able to get a look at new features coming to Google and Android devices in the coming months. It will be interesting to see what developers do for Android O now that they have access to the tools they need to prepare for its launch.