You can say that there is a lot to process from this year’s I/O developer conference, ranging from stuff that only developers can appreciate to new features that quite possibly will blow Android mobile users’ minds when they experience them in their smartphones and tablet devices. Without further ado, let us navigate through the coolest developments.
First off is Android P. Google appears to be positioning the upcoming latest version of the world’s most popular mobile operating system as a major refresh. While the company says the home and back buttons will stay, switching to and from mobile apps will now involve easy swiping and other gesture focused functionalities. You can get the beta here.
Awesome stuff to watch out for include support for images in notifications, a predictive approach to highlighting text, and the addition of more short cuts all over the interface, plus the ability to edit screenshots immediately after getting them.
Then there is Google Assistant. Not only did Google showcase new Assistant features earlier this week (support for completing custom routine commands, new voices, ability to make phone calls), the tech giant also demoed Duplex, an artificial intelligence voice technology that sounds really, really human. Used with the Google Assistant, it can set up appointments, and even book reservations over phone calls. And yup, it is kinda scary how good it is.
Other new features include a more seamless interaction with big appliances, an adjustment to Google Home smart speakers that no longer requires wake words for follow up questions, and a tool for teaching kids some manners.
Up next is Google Lens. The feature is already clever as it is -- detecting objects (even reading letters and words) and landmarks in the real world -- but the service has now been made to team up with Google Maps in order to give users heads up directions when navigating a specific location, kinda like marrying Street View with augmented reality.
Speaking of Google Maps and augmented reality, the former’s walking navigation feature has been updated to make better use of the smartphone’s camera and arrows, so that users will know which direction they are supposed to go. Google Maps is now also made more social -- a new tab called For You offers information about locations and events in the neighborhood or immediate area, filtered of course based on the user’s preferences. Lastly, Maps now allows users to text another person their estimated time of arrival (ETA).
As for augmented reality, Google is introducing new features to its ARCore platform, including Cloud Anchors, which facilitates the easy sharing of augmented reality info across multiple handsets, even from an Android smartphone to an iPhone. Oh, and there is also Light Board, a game where people launch missiles between two bases.
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