May is going by fast and another Google I/O is now in the books. It has been a busy week for all of us working at Droid Turf given all the coverage but now it’s time for us to reflect on what we learned about, what’s coming and some things we wish Google had spent a little more addressing. Here is our full recap for everything you need to know about.
Google is known for their best-in-class software, and this year we learned a little bit about everything from AI, search, Google services, and even updates to existing Google products. The developer conference was held in Mountain View, California at the outdoor Shoreline Amphitheatre complex just outside Google’s campus. Many, including myself, look forward to this week all year, as is when we get a better look at the what projects Google has been working on over the last year and the direction the tech giant is going in. This year was no exception.
Last year, Google took a rare approach by launching hardware of their own. However, the company made it clear that its core mission has remained the same, to provide simple and intuitive ways to organize information and provide it when, where the user needs it. Sure Google is still working on other things, but its primary goal is really to bring these new contextually aware technologies to their different apps and products. Now more than ever, the company is diving in “AI first,” with deep learning and machine learning technologies to better our lives through search. Google was quick to address some the growing popularity of its range of cross-platform services including YouTube, Maps, Drive, and Photos during its opening keynote.
YouTube has come a long way over its history, and just recently, reached a major milestone. Google announced that over 1 billion hours of YouTube are being watched every single day and by 1 billion viewers each month located all throughout the world. Google has also noted a significant movement from desktop computer to mobile. A few months ago, Android surpassed Windows as the most used operating system in the world for accessing the web. And YouTube, according to Google, can now be broken down into 60% mobile usage, and only 40% desktop usage.
The company also announced achievements for Maps, Drive and Photos. Each and every day, people navigate 1 billion km using Google Maps for directions. People are also using Google Drive to store their content now more than ever. According to statistics, the service now has 800 million 30-day active users with over 300 billion objects being uploaded each week. Two years ago, the tech giant released Google Photos, an app for storing high-resolution images in the cloud. Today, the service contains over 500 million 30-day active users and over 1.2 billion photos uploaded each day. So all in all, not only have Google’s platforms been adopted on such large scales, but they are being used very heavily.
During the company’s keynote, CEO Sundar Pichai as well Dave Burke announced a few other milestones in regard to some of Google’s platforms such as Android, Google Assistant, and Chromecast. As of just this week, Android surpassed 2 billion active devices worldwide, an achievement no other has come close to reaching. The Google Assistant, the company’s AI and deep learning virtual assistant, is being used on over 100 million devices after being launched a single year ago. With iPhones having gained support now, and Android Go on the way, Google looks to bring the assistant to more devices and additional platforms with time. Google also touched on Chromecast, which has seen sales of over 50 million since the point of release.
Some of Google’s Android platforms have also seen momentum. Android Auto has grown ten fold since this time last year, and is now available in over 300 car models including one’s from Audi and Volvo, the most recent additions. Android Things has thousands of developers working in the space from over 60 countries. Chromebooks now make up 60% of K-12 laptops found in U.S. schools. Google’s Play Store succeeded 82 billion apps downloaded in the last year alone, which comes out to be approximately 11 apps per person for every sole living in this world. And Android TV now has over 3,000 apps and experiences 1 million activations every two months.
Over the course of May 17 – May 19, Google gave us a look at what’s coming in the next year. The Android O developer preview got an update and is now available on the Android Beta Program for consumers to try out and report feedback from their compatible Pixel or Nexus device. The public release is slated for late this summer, and will include major new features such as picture-in-picture, notification dots, autofill, smart text selection, TensorFlow Lite, Google Play Protect, faster boot times, Play Console Dashboards, new emoji, and support for the Kotlin programming language.
Google Photos is to get new features such as suggested sharing and shared libraries later this year. Google Lens, a new technology that provides information shown through context and vision, will come to services such as the Google Assistant and Google Photos later this year. Google also announced Photo Books, which are available today on web, and allow people to create personalized softcover or hardcover books with the photos in their own library. The Google Assistant will soon gain photo context, transactions and more third-party development through Actions on Google and the Google Assistant SDK. Android Go is coming in a few months and is designed to bring affordable yet powerful and up to date phones that consume little data to emerging and developing countries.
Google For Jobs will land in the next few weeks and will appear in Google search results to help people find jobs meant for them, and encourage employees to find the right employees. YouTube will soon support 360-degree live broadcasting, even on the big screen using Chromecast and Android TV, which are also said to receive platform overalls soon. Google Home is gaining to ability to do lots more with new Proactive Assistance, Hands-Free Calling, and Visual Responses that use one’s TV to display information at a glance. And Daydream 2.0, a brand new platform will soon roll out with more features and apps, which will work with an upcoming headset that will have a built-in screen and require no additional need for a computer or mobile phone.
All in all, there wasn’t much Google didn’t talk about or at the least make reference to briefly during the three-day long conference. Android Wear was definable one of those things, but do we really need 3.0 update so soon? Another few point Google decided not to address were Allo, Duo and the recent Hangouts split. It would have been nice to get some clarification on where Google stands with these services, but just because they didn’t choose I/O to talk about it, doesn’t rule out the possibility of them being addressed in the near future. Keep in mind that there is expected to be another event later this year, where Google could announce new hardware such as the trio of Pixel 2 smartphones we’re hoping for and that new Daydream View headset made with the help of HTC. Perhaps that will be the time we hear about the rumored Google Home Wi-Fi hybrid I’m hoping for!
I think it’s safe to say that Google did a great job with this event, as they do just about every year. Unlike some slackers who throw a bunch of stuff together last-minute, Google’s continues hard work paid off well here. On a personal note, I’m definitely looking forward to all the new stuff Google announced that’s said to arrive in the next few months, because there is quite a large bit of it. There really is something for everyone and we look forward to testing all of it out.
Throughout the event, you may have noticed some familiar faces, in videos, the crowd and in other places as well. Google did a great thing by showing off some of the great things people have built using their software and development tools. For example, we saw dozens of ways people have been using the Google Assistant in a video towards the beginning of the keynote address. We saw how YouTube has helped people connect and from tight relationships. Some popular YouTubers were spotted in videos, and one even attended Google’s backyard for a little fun to demonstrate the power of Google’s revamped Super Chats.
Google’s CEO told a heartfelt story about a young developer out of Chicago and showed his journey with machine learning to illustrate that ideas can become reality if you put your mind to them. Google also brought up several app developers to the stage during its Play Awards ceremony to congratulate them on their success and thank them for all their support. These are just some examples that illustrate how Google gives back and helps move our world forward. It really symbolizes who Google is and their mission to accept and want to unite everyone to make our world a better place, together as one.
*To read some of our top stories, hit any of the titles below to be redirected to the full article page.
- Watch the official replay of Google’s I/O 2017 Developer Conference right here
- Here are all the official images and videos from Google’s I/O 2017 Developer Conference
- Google introduces Android O Beta Program with Developer Preview 2 at I/O 2017
- New features for Google Photos debuted at Google I/O 2017
- Google Assistant gains photo context, mobile payments, and third-party development
- Google announces ‘Android Go’ for the next billion users
- Google for Jobs announced at Google I/O 2017
- Google shows off some of the major new features in Android O
- Here’s what is new in YouTube and Android TV
- Google Home gets Proactive Assistance, Hands-Free Calling, and Visual Responses at Google IO 2017
- Google announces the winners to this year’s Google Play Awards at I/O 2017!
- What is Google Lens and will it be useful?‘
- Google’s VR and AR developments were discussed at I/O 2017
- Google I/O 2017 + Weekly News Recap: Here are all the major headlines from the week 5/15 – 5/19
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