All the Big Things That Google Announced at I / O 2015

Google kicked off its I / O conference today with a traditional talk full of new product announcements. Here are some of the most interesting things Google has announced today.

Android M offers fingerprint support, improved resolutions, and more

Like last year , Google has announced a preview of the latest version of Android for developers. The new version of Android M will have new permission controls that will allow you to selectively grant apps permission to use your camera, microphone, etc. It will also support fingerprint sensors that will allow you to sign in to apps or pay for purchases with your fingerprint. … You can read more about what the future holds in our Android M roundup here .

Google Now on Tap offers smart suggestions everywhere

Google search and voice commands are already quite popular . However, Google today announced Now on Tap. This feature will provide Google Now style answer cards to any app you are currently using . Just hold the Home button on your device and you can get a list of cards based on the context of the currently running app, with the information you might need.

For example, Google showed an email asking if the recipient wanted to see Tomorrowland. Now on Tap featured a Tomorrowland info card, trailer, and links to IMDb and Flixster. In another example, Google demonstrated that the Now on Tap feature appears in a text message to remind the recipient to pick up the dry cleaning. Now Tap has suggested creating a reminder to pick up from the dry cleaner. Developers can tap into the system to deeply link to various applications, so the implications for how useful this might be are nearly limitless.

Google Photos moves away from Google+ and controls all of your photos and videos

Google has a strange relationship with photos and videos. Even though you own Picasa and offer many great features on Google+ Photos , their usage is not always increasing due to the fact that they are hidden away on Google+. Today, the company is fixing this by turning photographs into its own product. It can automatically organize your photos, sort them by location, time, or even the faces that appear in the images. You can automatically back up all the photos you take, and all your favorite Auto Awesome features have been included in the new service.

HBO goes to Android

When it came to the iTunes App Store, HBO Now made a splash. With this service, you can access the library of HBO shows for $ 15 a month, no cable subscription required. Now it’s Google. The app will soon be available on the Play Store. The app will allow you to access all of the same content that HBO Now brings you on other platforms on any Android device.

Google Maps can search and navigate offline

You can save map data in Google Maps for offline use for some time . However, this ability has always been literal: you can look at the cards and that’s it. Google announced today that they are finally bringing the big guns. Now, if you’ve preloaded map data for a specific area, you can search for locations in that region, get directions, and start turn-by-turn navigation. Offline data even includes restaurant opening hours, reviews, and more. Now “offline maps” finally means a real map experience, completely without an internet connection.

YouTube also joins an offline party without a musical key

Back in November last year, Google announced YouTube Music Key , which was an extension to Play Music All Access . One of the key features was that you could download music videos for offline playback. However, the company is now embedding this feature in regular YouTube videos, no paid subscription is required. Users can download videos for offline playback up to 48 hours.

Android Wear gets gestures, a launcher, and more

Android Wear is still in its infancy, but it keeps getting better and better. While today’s announcement for Android Wear was n’t technically new , it’s still interesting: Android watches now have gestures that allow you to navigate between cards by flicking your wrist. They’ll have always-on power-saving modes that let you keep things like your to-do list on your wrist without draining your battery. There will also be an app launcher so you can launch apps without voice commands.

Family mode for kids has been added to Google Play

For parents, keeping kids out of the less tasty parts of content stores can be an almost impossible task. Google today announced several changes to the Play Store to make life easier for parents. There will now be a kid-friendly version of Apps, Games and Movies and TV that filters adult content. You can also explore content based on characters like Dora the Explorer or SpongeBob.

Brillo will be the OS on which all your smart home devices will run

After Google bought Nest , the company that made one of the best smart thermostats , it was expected that the company would move further in home automation. The company today announced Brillo, a stripped-down version of Android that will run on smart devices in your home, and a communications network that apps can use to connect to those devices. This means that, for example, recipe apps in the future can automatically turn on the Brillo oven up to a certain temperature.

Bonus round: some more announcements

Naturally, Google cannot fit all of its ads into one report. After (and in some cases during ) the presentation, Google announced a few more things. Here are the highlights:

  • Gmail’s awesome alternative interface, Inbox, is now available to everyone . The app has also been updated with travel packages, improved reminder suggestions, and more.
  • Chromecast gets a ton of new features, including autoplay, video queuing so you can set up multiple videos in a row, and the ability to use your phone as a second screen for your TV .

We’ll be updating more as Google inevitably announces everything .

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