While you were sleeping, Google were busy announcing the next big version of Android, as well as some other nifty stuff like free photo storage, virtual reality and more! Here’s all the swag.
Google Photos: Free, Unlimited Photo Storage
This is the big one you can use right now.
Rather than spin off Google+ into a new photo-sharing network as expected, Google overhauled its Photos app and made it into something great.
The whole goal of the app from Google’s perspective is to let you spend more time re-living and sharing your memories rather than simply organising them.
Using Google’s fancy machine learning computers, the new app will automatically group photos by people, places and times. It will also recognise what’s going on in the photos and make them searchable.
Google demonstrated that all you need to do to search for photos of an epic snowstorm you took a while back is enter the term “Snowstorm in Alberta”. It then instantly brings them up.
It also extends on Google’s auto-awesome feature and automatically creates cool montages of your best footage so you don’t have to sit down and sort through stuff yourself.
Photos is free, and it gives you unlimited storage for your stills and videos in the cloud. Google will store high-resolution images up to 16 megapixels, and 1080p video.
Android M, also known as Android 6.0 is the next big thing for the world’s flagship smartphones.
Introduced today at Google I/O, Android M is the result of Google’s obsession with “polish and quality” for a new generation. Bugs have been squashed, software has been smoothed and loads of features have been added to make life easier.
No word on when it actually comes out just yet, or what the “M” stands for (Moon Pie, maybe?), but what we do know is that it’s about to get a lot nicer to use Android.
Now On Tap
Now On Tap is a magnificent idea. Google’s aim with its Now software is to give you the information you need before you know you need it. Now has been deeply integrated into Android Wear, but now Google is weaving it tighter into the Android ecosystem on the phone to make life smarter.
Say you’re listening to Skrillex on Spotify, you can say “Hey Google, what’s his real name?”, and it will figure out what you’re listening to and assemble that into a query to deliver a response.
Same with your email, tap and hold the home button and the movie that’s being mentioned in a message appears in a card to tell you more about it.
Now On Tap can also pull context out of any web page you’re looking at too. Tap on a photo of Hugh Laurie in a web page, and Hugh Laurie information comes up in a Now card.
The most impressive thing about that is context. Google’s Voice Search has understood context for some time, but this expansion of those capabilities into Now is a massive opportunity for smarter phones.
To trigger a contextual search on Voice, you’d have to go for something like this:
“Who is the Prime Minister of Australia?”
Google would then deliver the answer, but remember that the Prime Minister question was the last thing you asked. From there, you could ask “how old is he?”, and Google would still know what you’re talking about. That’s context.
Google will pull context from just about anywhere with the new Now On Tap functionality, and give you bespoke cards to help make life easier for you. That’s pretty incredible.
Google Cardboard started out as a fun little experiment to see if Google could make VR on the cheap.
Right now there are over 1 million Cardboard users around the world, so now it’s launching a new and improved model for inexpensive virtual reality anywhere.
The new version of Cardboard has a button that works on any phone rather than just some; it takes three steps to assemble rather than 12 and it now fits phones up to 6-inches. Which is good considering that Google sells one that big.
VR on YouTube
Google isn’t about to stop at Cardboard 2.0, however. Oh, no.
Google is jumping into the VR arena with both feet this year with something called Jump: a camera rig that it will be sharing with select partners to create new VR content.
These content creators will then upload their creations to a service everyone’s already using: YouTube. That’s right: you’ll be able to watch immersive VR content on any VR headset with YouTube in the next few months.
That’s huge news.
Along with Google’s push into VR comes support from action camera giant, GoPro.
Google has handed the specs of its VR rig to GoPro so that the world’s most insane camera company can build a consumer version of it.
Inbox is out of beta! That means anyone can now install the new take on Gmail without an invite.