What’s new from Google? The best of I/O 2016

At Google’s annual developer conference we got a glimpse of some of the coolest new tech set for release. So what can we expect to see from the tech giant in the coming months? We find out…

23 May 2016


Google Assistant

In a nutshell: Google’s new virtual assistant promises to be even smarter and more responsive to help you find the information you want. 

If you’re a fan of Google Now, Google’s personal assistant for your smartphone, you’ll love this new-and-improved version.

Rather than just using your voice to make commands, you can actually have a two-way conversation with it as it’s smart enough to pick up on context. For instance, it’ll take into account previous searches you made and use it to inform the results it gives you.

Assistant isn’t just for your phone either – it works with Google’s new messaging app Allo and Google Home Speaker (more on these to come). Use it to look up answers to questions, book tickets and order deliveries.

 Google Home

Credit: Associated Press

Google Home

In a nutshell: A voice-activated smart speaker that can control your whole home

Google wants you to use its new voice-enabled smart speaker as the control hub of your smart home – by connecting it to your smart lighting, thermostats and security systems.

As well as syncing it with your smart tech, it has plenty of other cool features. With it you can:

  • Order an Uber or takeaway to your door just by using your voice
  • Keep on top of your schedule by setting alarms and reminders
  • Ask the built-in assistant questions as they come to you no more time spent looking things up online
  • Use it with Chromecast to play videos and music around the home


Allo and Duo

In a nutshell: Not just one, but two new messaging apps from Google

At first glance, Allo seems like a regular messaging app – but with built-in artificial intelligence it can do a whole lot more. With it you can:

  • Turn on Smart Reply to suggest responses for you, rather than typing out your own. Over time, it’ll learn what you say, as well as the type of language and most common phrases you use
  • Use it to scan picture messages and tell you what’s in them
  • Make your replies look bigger or smaller to illustrate shouting and whispering
  • Ask Google Assistant to answer questions while you chat – great if you need to look up film times or directions without leaving the app

Meanwhile Duo is a video chat app set to rival the likes of Hangouts and Skype. It’s secret weapon? The Knock Knock feature which lets you preview the person calling – so you know exactly who’s on the other end of the line before picking up.

Allo and Duo

Credit : Associated Press

Virtual reality

In a nutshell: Google wants to change the way we access VR content with a brand new platform – for truly immersive viewing

While Cardboard gave us a taste for it, Google’s new platform Daydream draws you into a virtual world that’s like Play Store for VR. In it, you can see all your VR apps and content, and browse for and download more.

Google’s also bringing out special VR versions of YouTube, Google Photos and Street View, as well as opening up the platform to outside apps.

Daydream still works by slotting a smartphone into a VR viewer, but it’s much more advanced to give you a truly immersive experience.


Android N and Android Wear

In a nutshell: Expect major updates to your Android smartphone and wearables this summer. 

Following the preview earlier this year, Google unveiled more features about its latest operating system. Including 72 new emoji – like a rasher of bacon, an avocado and even more animals to choose from. We also learned it’ll start rolling out this summer.

One thing still missing is the name – and now Google’s opened it up to the public to decide. Fancy having a say? You can vote for the new name here.

Find out more about Android N.

Speaking of updates – a new version of Android Wear is coming to compatible devices. With it, you’ll be able to access apps on your watch without needing to be connected to your smartphone.

Other features include Smart Reply which makes responding to messages on the tiny keyboard much easier. You’ll also be able to customise your watch face with widgets displaying data from any app. Again, Android Wear 2.0 will be available this summer.

See our full range of Android Wear watches.