At a Glance: Some of Google's new features seem ... familiar

Fernando Stephens
May 18, 2017

It's a way for Google to help make Android-based smartphones even more ubiquitous around the world.

Google is making the announcement in California on Wednesday at its annual conference for app developers.

Google also announced Android Go, targeting lower-end devices with no more than 1GB of memory. Google Play Protect can scan apps to make sure they are all safe and don't pose a threat.

The first item on Google's list is the "Picture-in-picture" feature (pictured down below), and most of you probably know what's this about. "It's not that we won't type and touch our devices, it's that we will add new ways to interact with devices and services", Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, told NBC News. "Microsoft is now leading in many of these new areas, but Google is close behind".

They're expected to show off Google Assistant's expanded powers and reach.

Google is also redesigning many of its own apps to use less memory, storage space, and mobile data, including Chrome, Gboard, and a new version of YouTube called YouTube Go. We have all of the latest news about the I/O Developer Conference today and the news about Assistant now being released for iOS. It also supports a range of smart home products, from Nest and Philips Hue, to WeMo.

For example, users can ask to see their schedule or the weather and it will appear on a connected TV.

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Finally, the Assistant inside Google Home will start to offer you Visual Responses.

Android Go is basically a "skinny" version of Android "O," the next operating system from Google. Here, Google's using Lens to parse photos - once you invoke it in the Google Assistant, you can point it at a sign in a foreign language to get an instant translation, or at a marquee above an auditorium to get links to the venue's ticket platform. Either way, you'll soon ("coming months") be able to say, "OK, Google, call mom" and your Home will.

Google is adding Bluetooth streaming as well, something we're surprised took this long to be there.

So, if you say, "OK Google, call mom", it will call your mom. Some apps which run continuously in the background can consume lots of system resources and battery life so Android O will introduce limits to be placed upon apps so they don't continue to drain battery if an app goes wrong.

This one - codenamed O - hasn't yet been bestowed with the traditional sweet moniker Google gives each version.

There's also a dedicated version of the Play Store where developers can create optimised versions of their apps.

Google is calling it "Building for Billions".

Other reports by BadHub

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