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Google IO 2016 brings new plans to light: Assistant, Allo, Duo, Android N and Firebase

Google IO 16Today marked the annual tech event, Google IO. The company announced their plans for the coming 12 months, including Androids new Daydream virtual reality platform.

Google IO 2016 and the Dawn of Coming Tech

Hype has been building over Google’s potential releases for the next year. As expected, we got a peak at their VR platform Daybreak, as well as Google Home. We also caught a peek at Google Assistant, a conversational two-way dialogue meant to improve the usability of Google across the board.

Google Assistant

Attempting to further integrate all Google product use in a way that makes it a singular application, Google Assistant aims to increase intuitive app use. Think of what we are seeing from Viv AI. Google Assistant is similar, allowing you to do everything from automatically track flight delays to book restaurants quickly, and in a more adapted way than before.

You can use the assistant program for more than just mobile use. As has always been their goal, Google is bringing it outside of the computer and into the world at large. Google Home is their integration into smart home technology. You can turn on and off lights, activate security systems, control music and other media, and more. All with voice activated controls that can be placed in any room using certain compatible products.

Google Allo and Duo

Next there are Allo and Duo. Allo is messaging applications that let you ask for more details, make plans, or access information from within a messaging thread. Say you are texting with a group of friends, and you all want to see a movie. You can ask for movie showtimes nearby within the same thread, so it is all at your fingertips.

More annoying is the chat suggestion feature. It will attempt to understand the context of your conversation using its new, smarter AI. Then it will suggest acceptable responses you might give, emojis that could fit, and other items to place within the message.

The idea is that you can streamline conversations since you won’t have to type out a generic response. But I personally think this is taking lazy communication just a step too far. Besides, just auto-correct is inconvenient enough for some to spawn an entire website dedicated to mistakes. Do we really need to make it more of a feature?

Duo is a video messaging app that is supposed to make video calling more reliable, regardless of the network speed being experienced on either side. It is supposed to run smoother, and be easier to answer. A bonus for anyone who has ever struggled through the ever worsening experience of using Skype’s video calls across international lines.

Knock Knock is a companion feature to Duo. It lets you create a small video of yourself saying hello that displays before the call is answered. Unnecessary, but kind of cute. I can see it being big with the younger crowd in particular.

Android N

Since Android N was announced (name pending; I am hoping for Nutella), they showed off Daydream. Google has been a bit slow on the whole VR front. Cardboard was interesting, but it hasn’t seen a real update since its release two years ago. And with consumer grade virtual reality headsets popping up all over the market, they needed to hurry up and get on board.

Daydream is both hardware and software. It shows off the increasing mobile graphics displayed on Android, and does have some impressively smooth remote operation and movement tracking. The Google IO 2016 event focused a lot on this new tech.

On the downside, it doesn’t look like it is doing much more than other VR products are. Certainly it isn’t as top of the line as you would expect from Google. Almost like an afterthought – which it probably is, given how many pies they have their fingers in. You can’t always be cutting edge.


Finally, there is Firebase, probably the biggest news for developers. Google IO 2016 spent some time going over their developers incentives and how they are improving their platform for easier app creation, promotion, and all with greater earning potential. It is cross-platform, and thorough enough that developers are definitely going to be excited.

It has now been expanded to be a unified app platform. They allow of Android, iOS and web apps now, and with more tools to make the process more intuitive. Plus they have analytics, storage, messaging and more. For the first time Firebase will be a kind of one stop shop for developers looking to not only make apps, but build a loyal following.

You can see more about Firebase’s expansion at the official blog.

All in all, this was a pretty big set of announcements for Google, in particular their Google assistant program. I know I am already looking forward to next year’s Google IO. By then maybe they will be announcing some new Google Car news. You know you can’t wait for that.

Sources: Google Blog

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