Interesting takeaways from Google I/O 2016

by | Jun 3, 2016 | QA, Info, News, Trends in Software Testing, Events, UX, Virtual Reality | 1 comment

Two weeks ago, it was time yet again for Google I/O, Google’s annual conference for developers. The tech world was eagerly looking forward to see what new developments would be announced. In this blog post, I’d like to take you back to Mountain View, California and discuss a few interesting takeaways from this important event, organised by one of the world’s largest tech giants.

Google, once started as a Internet search engine, over time developed into one of the most innovative tech companies in the world. Gmail, Android, Google Maps, Chromecast – just a few of Google’s well-known products that not only influenced but also shaped modern-day technology. In line with Facebook’s F8, Apple’s WWDC or Microsoft’s Build, at I/O, Google too happily shares their biggest developments and processes with the ever so important community of developers. At Testbirds, we aim to stay on top of all these important developments within the tech industry. Something that inspired us to bring Testing 4.0 to you. So, let’s dive straight into what Google will bring us in the near future.

Google Home

Google Home
Source: Google Home

We see that a lot more connected devices are making their way into our homes, especially with the emerging Internet of Things. Whether it’s a baby monitor, tooth brush, or refrigerator, we also see this happening with the different testing projects that we’re conducting for our clients. At I/O, Google Home was presented, a smart connected hub for your home. Via voice commands and with Google Assistant, Google Home is able to interact with all kinds of smart devices and provides your with answers to your questions and requests. That way, you could for example (voice) control the lights, temperature and the radio within your home, but also ask for the weather, current events and more. All from one device.

Android N
In addition to some of the announcements that Google already made during a special Android developer preview event in March, there weren’t too many surprising things that were presented during I/O. So, what changes can we see with regards to the upcoming mobile OS? First, the JIT compiler works much faster, up to 75%, and it also reduces the space that is needed for app installs. Furthermore, multi-tasking is improved with app management (automatically shutting down open apps that aren’t actively used), split screen capabilities, and possibly the most interesting development: Daydream. And by the way, if you want to have your say in what the N should stand for, you can go right ahead.

Daydream
Daydream is Google’s virtual reality platform and is meant to make mobile virtual reality more accessible. Daydream is built on top of Android N with a special setting called VR Mode. This will serve as the basis for new VR apps and VR devices. Google created reference designs for developers and also announced a special section within its Google Play Store. New Daydream-ready devices are expected later this year.

Android on Chrome OS
Chrome OS is Google’s operating system, that’s being used for dedicated netbooks, such as the Chromebook Pixel. Google now announced that it will now be possible to install Android apps on Chrome OS. It was also mentioned that Chrome OS now is the second most popular OS in the USA, for the first time outselling Apple’s Mac OS in terms of shipments. An interesting development and I’m curious to see where this will be going.

Android Instant Apps

Android Instant Apps
Source: CNET

Another major announcement that was done during I/O, was Android Instant Apps. With these, users are able to use apps without having to install them directly onto their device. Instead, when you receive a link to content that’s stored within an app, Instant Apps makes sure that only the required pieces of the app are downloaded and displayed. When you’re done with the content and move out of the app, the downloaded pieces are removed from your device. This is an interesting approach to apps, removing the hassle and troubles of searching and installing an app.

Project Tango

Project Tango
Source: Google

Project Tango is not fully developed yet, but this presentation is very impressive and is one I definitely wanted to share with you. As written on their website: Project Tango combines 3D motion tracking with depth sensing to give your mobile device the ability to know where it is and how it moves through space. By making use of special sensors, the device can very precisely calculate where it’s positioned in relation to its surroundings. The capabilities of the device are thus extended far beyond the screen. This technology greatly enhances and optimises the possibilities with augmented and virtual reality.

Project Soli

Project Soli
Source: The Verge

Another Google project that I’m really excited about is Project Soli. This project utilises radar technology in order to detect the smallest of motions. This makes it possible to use micro gestures with your fingers to initiate virtual actions. Sounds vague, but check out the clip below to learn more about this innovative technology. If this will be implemented in our everyday devices, it changes user experience immensely and the way we interact with technology.

These are only a few of the things that Google announced and presented during I/O. And then I haven’t even mentioned Allo, Duo, Android Wear, Project Ara and many other innovations that they’re working on. Which announcements did you find interesting? Share your favorites with us below or via social.

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Testbirds specialises in the testing of software such as apps, websites and Internet of Things applications by using innovative technologies and solutions. Under the slogan, “Testing Reality”, the company offers various testing methods to its clients looking to optimise the user-friendliness and functionality of their digital products. With over 250,000 registered testers located in 193 countries, Testbirds is one of the world’s leading crowdtesting providers. In addition, the IT service provider utilises cloud based technologies to support customers in the optimisation of their digital products. The combination of the two testing methods delivers a unique and extensive portfolio that takes the quality of software to the next level. Testbirds was founded in 2011 by Philipp Benkler, Georg Hansbauer and Markus Steinhauser. Today, the company has over 100 employees. Other than its headquarters in Munich, there are now offices in Amsterdam, London and Stockholm, franchises in Hungary and Russia and sales partners in Italy.

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