Google I/O 2015 highlights

Google I/O 2015

Did you miss Google’s annual conference for developers? The executive summary is that there will be new releases, new versions and a hand-full of updates to various Google stuff. More specifically, this is what you can expect:

Project Brillo

Derived from Android, Brillo is an “underlying operating system for the Internet of Things” meant to create a standard for home automation. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy, and other Android functionalities in order to let smart devices, like door locks, light bulbs, and thermostats talk to each other.

Android Pay

Built to succeed where Google Wallet failed (and beat Apple Pay), Android Pay will let users make purchases in apps or tap an NFC sensor to make payments. Fingerprint sensors can be used to authenticate payments. Initially 700,000 stores will accept it.

Android M

The next version of Android software for smartphones, tablets, watches and TVs will include new services, change apps interactions and focus on battery life, security and privacy. Android M will most likely be released in September 2015.

Granular App Permissions

Currently, access to features like microphone or location data is granted before an app is installed, but with Android M, apps will ask for permissions when these features are needed.

Chrome Custom Tabs

Apps will no longer need to use their own in-app browser in order to display content, or even present a popup asking the user which browser to use. Android’s app links will let the apps open content directly with Chrome loaded on top of them, to ensure a completely integrated experience.

Doze and USB-C

Doze is a new feature introduced to save battery life. Android M will use motion detection to put apps into deep sleep when the device isn’t in use for longer periods of time. It will still respond to high-priority messages and use alarms, lasting up to two times longer in standby. USB Type-C will also be supported on Android. That means, Android devices will charge faster thanks to the new USB connection.

Google Photos

The new version of the photo app will back up an unlimited number of photos and videos for free (photos up to 16MP, video up to 1080p), organize them as a timeline, and group them together by locations or people. According to Google, the app has the same privacy and security as any other Google service. “We don’t share your information with others unless you explicitly choose to share it with them”. New laws being proposed in the UK would however require companies like Google to turn over this cache of photos to the government by simple request. And according to Edward Snowden, the U.S. government and its data collection programs are already happening with companies like Google.

Offline content

Chrome will be able to save pages for offline use, and Google Maps will be able to run a bunch of features offline. In the past, Google Maps offered a short cut that allowed you to save portions of a map offline, then turn on GPS or use drop pins to pre-plan routes. The updates are designed to make the products work better in parts of the world with poor/expensive connectivity.

 

If you want to know more, you can watch the highlight video from the conference here.