Thursday, June 26, 2014

Google I/O 10 things you should know

Whenever there is a world-wide sports event happening on any part of the world, I prefer escaping into a meditation trance with a board around my neck, 'Wake me up when the disturbance is passed.' Specially when there is a cricket match involved and entire India suddenly comes to a standstill. I felt a similar tide smashing me on the face with the football world cup. Sports and me are like oil on water, cannot merge not in a million years.

But then there was relief yesterday when Google I/O started. Now that is something I would like to get excited about. To be honest, I never followed any technology conferences so closely before (except dreamforce) because adding a new feature to phone is not something I would like to devote my time to. Yes, smart phones are awesome we get it. I don't really like to get excited when the company changes the font and makes a big announcement for it. Save it for the sheep.

What was exciting about Google I/O last night (remember I was watching it in India) was that the age of wearables is here. No longer will your phone be that passive device that sits in your pocket giving you scare about the sperm count and rings everytime someone decides to get in touch with you. No, your phone is the new device that can enhance any screen connected to any device. That was the summary of Google I/O yesterday. Android is coming to a screen nearest to you,

Here are top ten things they announced incase you missed it.

1. Introducing Android L (seriously hoping it will be named Laddoo)
Android L is updates to Android OS that will be shipped in most of the phones. One thing noticibly visible for Android L is the card based UI is here to stay. The shocking Google Now features that we all so hate to love is going to be the norm going forward. A renewed lockscreen (yes we are waiting for that) that will now contain notifications and a separate heads-up notification that will let urgent notifications on the screen.

2. Contexual Safe place detection
This new feature will determine if you are in a safe place and disable the lock screen pattern. Good one but I wonder how do we determine the safe place, I for one do not want my family to open my phone when I am not around.

3. Enhanced notification and project butter
These will show card based UI which we so love, thanks to Google Now. We have talked about card based UI and its benifits. Project Butter aims at smoothing down Android even more. With the enhancements of butter Apps will load faster than ever.

4. The merging of Chrome OS and Android
The day it all merges is here. With one head running two awesome products, it was about time someone created a super awesome product. They showed a couple of cools ways both these products could merge. Now recent apps on android will also show recent tabs opened on Chrome. When you take your Android phone near a chrome book it will unlock and sign in. And here is a awesome news, Chrome OS will support Android Apps.

5. Android Wear is here
This is a big one as I mentioned earlier. We have dawned on the day when Android will be coming to any screen near you. The video on Android wear by Google is looking pretty awesome. Best part about this is Google Now inbuilt. Yep, Google now is here to stay and it is getting pretty awesome (and creepy)


6. Android Wear companion
There won't be a separate store for Android wear, instead most Apps on Google Play store will have a companion app on Android wear (That should be interesting but space cosuming.)

7. Android Auto
Most of the tech companies are keen on getting a market share in the auto-segment. Salesforce have their own experiments with Toyota Friend in this area. What is significant with Android Auto is that it can give you relevant Google Now cards just when you need it (but sometimes don't want it)

8. Android TV
And yet another brave front by Google to get into the living room. A set-top box powered by Android or was it rebranding the Google TV to Android TV.

9. Chromecast and Google Docs update
Google Docs and Chromecast finally got an essential update that should have been here long back. Google Docs now suppot direct editing of word documents without converting them. Chromecast can now broadcast complete Android phone even if you are not on the same Wifi.

10. And finally Google One
Google has announced inexpensive stock Android devices that will begin with as low as 100$. This will bring latest Android OS and hardware to the market. They are starting with India (yay!!) and will spread to different countries eventually.