May 17th, 2017

The main keynote at Google I/O has come and gone. In the 2-hours of talking and demonstrations, we saw a bunch of cool new stuff. Everything from Android to Google Photos got attention. You can read all the news on our Google I/O 2017 page, but if you want just the highlights, here are the 10 biggest announcements.

Google Lens

Google Lens is a new feature to go along with Assistant and Google Photos. Think of it like eyes for Google Assistant. You can already ask Assistant questions, but with Lens it will be able to actually see what you’re talking about. You can scan businesses to see ratings and reviews, scan objects for more info, and a bunch more cool stuff. It will be rolling out soon.

Google Photos Suggested Sharing

Suggested Sharing will make it easier for you to share photos with relevant people after a big event or outing. It uses machine learning to identify people in your photos and automatically groups them together so you can easily share them with the person. Google hopes that this will solve the problem of never getting photos taken on other people’s phones.

Google Photos Shared Libraries

Another new Photos feature is Shared Libraries, which makes it easy to share specific groups or sets of pictures with people. For instance, you could set it up so all photos of your kids are automatically shared with your wife or husband. It takes all the work of sharing photos out of your hands. Pretty handy.

Google Home Hands-Free Calling

With hands-free calling, you’ll be able to call anyone by simply asking Google Home. Simply say “Ok Google, call my mom” and Assistant will use your phone to call your mom and play it over the Home speaker. You can talk to Home like a speaker phone. This is great for being able to talk to people while you’re doing other things.

Google Home Visual Responses

Right now, Google Home gives responses in one way: voice. You ask something with your voice and an audible response is recited out of the speaker. “Visual Responses” will change that if you have a connected device. You’ll be able to say “Show me my calendar on the TV” or have directions sent right to your smartphone. This adds a screen to Google Home without actually adding a screen to the device.

Google Home Bluetooth Streaming

Google Home is a speaker, but it doesn’t act like a typical Bluetooth speaker. To play music on Home, you have to cast it to the device. Soon, Google Home will act like a regular Bluetooth speaker. You will be able to connect to it and play music from any app on your phone. No more looking for the cast button or hoping the app supports it.

Keyboard for Google Assistant

One of the limitations of Google Assistant on phones is you can only interact with your voice. Whether you’re in a public place or just don’t feel like speaking, you’ll be able to pull up information up on just about anything by using your phone’s keyboard. This should make it easier to interact with Assistant in certain situations.

Standalone Daydream VR headsets

Google finally announced a standalone VR platform for people who want VR without having to use their phones. It’s going to be part of the overall Daydream family, with devices having their own displays, processing internals, and power sources. Google isn’t introducing a headset to kick things off. They saved that for other OEMs.

The first devices will be made available from HTC and Lenovo. Furthermore, Qualcomm will offer a reference design platform for other OEMs who want to quickly prototype their own standalone headsets. These headsets will feature WorldSense, a space-sensing technology that makes it easy for VR applications to read your surroundings and more accurately track where you are.

Smart Reply for Gmail

Google has announced that Smart Reply will finally be making its way to the Gmail app for Android. Smart Reply is not a new feature by any stretch of the imagination, as it has been available through Inbox by Gmail for some time. It predects how you might respond to an email and gives you the option to enter those responses with a single tap. No more typing out redundant replies.

Android O Beta Program

Google announced that the Android O Beta Program is available now for Pixel and Nexus owners. The Android O developer preview has been available for about 2 months now, but the Beta Program is more for regular consumers. If you have one of the supported devices ( Nexus 5XNexus 6P, Nexus Player, Pixel C, Pixel,  Pixel XL), all you have to do is visit this link and click “enroll device.”


What was your favorite announcement from Google I/O? Do you think this was a good year or a boring year for announcements? What are you most looking forward to getting on your device?

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