Google IO 2017: all the news from Google’s big developer conference
Google IO 2017 is underway! The keynote is all wrapped up, but you can catch up on everything that happened over on our Google IO 2017 liveblog. We’ll keep this page updated with more news from the show as it unfolds this week.
Short on time? Then catch up with only the five most important announcements in our quick Google IO Day 1 round up.
The biggest pieces news so far: Google Assistant is coming to iPhone. Siri better watch out as the Google Assistant app on iOS is out today. It works much the same as Google Assistant on Android, just as a standalone application.
However, Google isn’t set only on iPhone, with aims to bring Google Assistant to various home appliances as well as vehicles.
Just as big: Google has announced its Daydream VR platform is coming to standalone headsets, no cable, PC or phone required.
The first partners are HTC and Lenovo, and they’ll build a headset based on a Google reference design built in partnership with Qualcomm. More partners are due down the road, too.
This is a big step forward for virtual reality as everything is contained in the headset. Latency is reduced, and you can take your VR headset wherever you go.
The Daydream VR standalone VR headsets from HTC and Lenovo will be available later this year.
The next Android: We’ve gotten a rundown of Android O features, namely Fluid Experiences and Vitals. The point with these is to make using Android smoother, save your device’s battery life and give you doubly faster boot time, among other decent improvements like picture-in-picture and smart copying.
Android O won’t be a radical change over Android Nougat, but there are improvements to be had. Check out all of them in our Android O hub page. And no, we still don’t know what it will be called. Oreo? Oatmeal?
Google does some Home improvement: Google also announced four new features coming to Google Home. Proactive assistance, hands-free voice calling, Bluetooth support and visual responses through Chromecast or Android TV are coming soon.
Google Photos gets lots of love: A few new features were detailed for Google Photos during the show: suggested sharing (Google tells you who might want your photos shared with them), shared libraries and Photo Books, wherein Google will print a physical coffee book of your photos, sent right to you. Neat!
A Lens for the future: Google also announced new tech called Google Lens, which is computer-vision photo tech that can recognize what you’re looking at and take actions based on what it sees. That could mean removing a fence in the way of your daughter at bat during a baseball game, or identifying a flower you took a photo of. It’s computer vision, come to your photos.
An impressive feature of Google Lens is the ability to parse text out of a photo. So if you take a photo of a Wi-FI SSID and password, Google Lens can take that information and log you into a network.
Google Lens can also translate text; if you point your phone at a menu in Japanese and ask, ‘What is that?’, it a) will recognize what you’re trying to translate and b) translate the text for you. Google Lens will be available later this year.
Some big news for Gmail users: Google is rolling out smart replies to iOS and Android. These AI-suggested replies should make emailing (even more of) a breeze.
Finally, Google announced Android Go, a version of Android that’s less demanding to budget phones in 2018.
Android Go will allow smartphones with anywhere between 512MB to 1GB of RAM use the latest Android software. It’s similar to Google’s Android One initiative, but instead of stock Android to budget phones, Android Go is about budget phones.
While we didn’t see any more new hardware from Google at its 2017 IO event, we did get an idea of where Google’s headed in the next year: even deeper into our lives than ever before.
Turn to Page 2 for pre-Google IO 2017 news and predictions!
Read on for more Google IO 2017 rumors and news:
This year’s conference looks to be just as jam-packed as IO 2016, where we met Google Assistant, , and the Allo and Duo apps, as well as learned details about , the Daydream VR platform, and Android Instant Apps.
While the “festival” is, as usual, geared towards developers, it’s also relevant for anyone interested in Android, Chrome, smart home devices, new applications, virtual reality and, among other moonshots, self-driving cars. You know, the little things.
Google IO 2017 schedule
Google is also doing something different this year and hosting an hour-long Developer Keynote at 1pm PT on May 17, shortly after the main keynote wraps up. This will give developers a chance to gain deeper insight into the new products and platforms announced at IO.
A few sessions to highlight from the current schedule are:
: 2pm – 3pm PT May 17. In what will likely be the most well-attended and widely watched session of IO, What’s New in Android will dive into topics such as the Android O Developer Preview SDK, Support Libraries and what Google says will be “other new and exciting developments.” Expect plenty of details on what Android O can offer both developers and users.
: 1:30pm – 2:30pm PT on May 18. In what will likely be a key theme of the show, this session will go over Instant Apps for developers, including how to build them. While this may be a bit too technical for regular users, it’s a sign Google will devote plenty of time – and probably officially roll out – Instant Apps at IO. Here’s more on .
Google promises more talks are on the way, so we’ll keep this page updated with anything that sounds interesting between now and May 17. To get ready for the main event, read on for all the news and rumors we’ve heard so far about Google IO 2017!
Say hello to Android O
The star of IO, as is tradition, will be the newest flavor of Android. Following in alphabetic order – is the most recent release – Google will officially welcome Android O next week.
While we don’t know the next version of Android’s official name yet (are we in for another public submission process?), Android Oreo seems to be the front-runner right now.
What will most likely happen is Google will talk about its next mobile OS update at IO, yet hold off launching it till later in the year. Considering Android 7.0 Nougat didn’t publicly release until August 2016, this will probably be the case with Android O.
One of the most exciting features in the early build is ‘Background limits’. This will make apps less taxing on your device’s battery by making limits more transparent to developers. The feature looks to do for your battery life what Data Saver did for wireless bills.
Android O also currently houses picture-in-picture for watching videos while doing other tasks, updates to notifications, including snooze, and animation support for all app icons.
Google also announced Project Treble in the days before IO, which will help users get the latest flavor of Android more quickly. In a nutshell, Google’s aim here is to make it easier for manufacturers to push new software to your phone, cutting down on the time and money requirements that were previously necessary. Now, you won’t have to wait months or even years before getting Android O.
One final Android O goodie to note is that Sony worked with Google to bring the former’s codec to Android O devices, which will deliver improved audio quality over Bluetooth.
Google Assistant, everywhere
Sources tell Android Police that Google’s digital helper is making the move to iOS, and though an IO arrival seems most likely, it’s not set in stone. Thankfully, we’ll soon find out for sure.
While Google Assistant on iOS is big news, it may just be one piece of a larger story Google has to tell about Assistant at IO. Rumblings are that Google will devote plenty of stage time to its digital helper, including the potential to announce its arrival on more phones, devices and services.
What’s the word on Android Wear 2?
Android Wear 2 released in February, so while it’s unlikely Google will announce a major update to its revamped wearable operating system at IO, we expect there to be plenty of talk related to the wrist.
We wouldn’t be surprised if more Android Wear 2 apps are announced, and we could even see a brand-new smartwatch. No rumblings of said watch have started yet, but with Motorola the biggest hold out of Android Wear 2 to date, perhaps a spectacular Google IO reveal is in store? Just a thought.
- ZTE Quartz review: The latest Android Wear 2 smartwatch
Google Home invasion
Google introduced its first smart speaker at Google IO 2016 in the form of Google Home (how many times can you write “Google” in a sentence, amiright?), and this year could see an updated version of the device, or new features made available to the original.
Considering Google already has the Project Fi and Google Voice services, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for Google Home to suddenly find its calling chops. Phone calling and messaging is already coming to chief rival Amazon Echo, which puts the pressure on Google to deliver the feature sooner rather than later.
A few points against updated hardware or major new features unveiled at IO are that Google Home added one of its most requested features, , in mid-April and the device just went on sale in the UK. Still, if Google is working to improve Home, chances are we’ll see whatever is in store at IO.
Google Chrome improvement
Another area of interest at Google IO will be Chrome, and this could include everything from new Chromebooks to improved browser features.
The most likely developments we’ll hear about are features such as . As Google and other tech giants look to more closely tie mobile and computing operating systems together, Google will almost certainly discuss how it’s accomplishing this for the benefit of developers – and the audience watching at home.
There are also whispers spreading Google is preparing an ad-blocker to be built into Chrome. It’s almost impossible ad revenue-dependent Google would block every advert on Chrome, so it’s more likely Google will introduce a tool that filters out the biggest offenders. Perhaps we’ll meet this quasi-ad blocker at IO.
- The best Chromebooks you can buy
New Google Pixel phones? Perhaps
Google announced the Pixel and phones in October 2016, but that already the , Pixel 2 XL and even a are in the works.
It’s possible Google could unveil new mobile devices at IO 2017, though we’re putting this in the not-very-likely category.
Android in the car
All was quiet on the Android Auto front… until just days before IO when Google announced it’s teamed up with Volvo and Audi to bring Android to future cars.
Android will serve as an infotainment system in these vehicles, offering Android Auto staples like navigation while also performing tasks like controlling the AC and windows. Google Assistant is also part of the package, meaning car owners can tap Google’s digital helper even when they don’t have their phones.
It will be at least two years until we see this version of Android in new Volvo cars, but until then Google is showing off a preview form at IO. We’ll be sure to see what it’s all about.
Virtual reality, Chromecast and everything else
There’s no doubt Google will announce products, services and/or updates outside of these core categories at IO 2017. Here’s what else we could see this week:
Like Pixel, it may be too early for the 2 headset, but we’ll undoubtedly have news on the VR front from the Big G. This could include a headset price reduction, or updates related to how developers create and publish content for virtual reality.
On the home entertainment front, whispers are circulating that Google Assistant may become available on more third-party devices, expanding its roots beyond the . This would certainly make sense, and an announcement on additional partners could be in the IO cards.
Another possible topic are updates to Android TV, though those will likely be minor if any are announced.
We could also be in for a new Chromecast as it’s been some months since the went on sale. At one time the best selling streaming video device, Google may look to recapture some of that old Chromecast magic with a new and improved disc.
Google is also keen to get Assistant into more devices. The search giant released a developer preview Google Assistant SDK in late April, they create. While many of these gadgets will be of the prototype variety, expect some commercial products to hit the market with Assistant in tow. We’ll likely hear plenty more about this initiative during IO.
Another potential IO agenda item we can speak to with some authority is Google’s messaging platforms.
Google earlier this year announced two new Hangouts offerings geared towards enterprise users – Hangouts Meet and Hangouts Chat – but there was quickly confusion as to whether the consumer version of Hangouts would stick around or, as was suggested, the newer Duo and Allo apps would take the place of average-user chat services.
This is not to mention the revamped Google Voice service Google rolled out in January. And with video app Google Duo adding voice-only calling on April 10, the chat app waters have gotten quite murky.
What is clear is that there are one too many Google-branded messaging platforms, and perhaps the Big G will finally drop what’s not working and focus on making a few great chat offerings. In fact, it already started in late March.
This was in an effort to “focus and prioritize” on the features and apps Google deems most important, and could be just the start of a chat service spring cleaning we’ll see the culmination of at IO.
Another likely announcement is the Allo desktop and/or web app, both of which have been teased by Google execs. Users are especially keen to get Allo on the desktop, and it’s a good bet Google won’t want to disappoint.
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