Today kicks off the Google I/O conference where they announce to developers upcoming software and products. This year’s conference was a major event because they announced a huge number of items. Based upon what they announced, Google wants to basically get into every aspect of your digital life. In essence, they are trying to tie just about anything into their Android operating system which is used by the majority of smartphones on the market.
New Version Of Android Coming
The main purpose of the Google I/O conference is to highlight the next version of Android, dubbed Android L at this point. This looks to be a major redesign of the interface that also introduces a whole ton of new features that tie into other announcements at the conference. In terms of appearance, it is going to have a more flat design to try and bring together smartphones and tablets into a more unified experience. Graphics support and performance are both being improved which is pretty much expected in just about any update. In addition to these, Google is introducing better ways for developers to try and improve battery life and also introducing a new battery saver mode to help extend running times.
There are no official products announced at this time that will be using the new Android L operating system but the first products should reach market sometime this fall. It should also be noted that this OS is going to be used for a wider variety of applications than just smartphones and tablets.
First Android Wear Devices Coming Soon
In addition to showing off the features, they also announced two of the first watches to be available. The LG G Watch is available for pre-order right now from Google’s Play Store for $229. Samsung;s Gear Live should be available for order soon at $200. Sadly, the Moto360 device that was shown off before won’ be arriving till later in the summer with no pre-order announced.
Android Apps Coming to Chrome
Chromebooks and Chromeboxes have made major inroads into the low cost computing market but they have some serious limitations in terms of the software. In fact, I even stated that I would rather get an Android tablet over a Chromebook. This may change though with Google announcing that they are going to work on getting more Android apps to run under the ChromeOS used by the devices (not necessarily the browser though). Of course not all applications will be able to run as touch interfaces don’t always translate to a mouse and keyboard. It is nice to see the effort though as it will greatly expand what Chromebooks will be able to do.
Google Gets Into Fitness Tracking
There are a huge number of options out there for fitness trackers as just about every company seems to be producing one now. Google is jumping into the market not with a product but with its Google Fit platform. This will be integrated into the L version of Android to allow easy synchronization of data with a wide variety of fitness trackers on the market. There was no a mention if that data would be stored by Google along with all the other data their services collect but I’m sure they will be using it for their data integration.
Yet Another Attempt to Enter The TV Market
Google In Your Automobile
Not to be outdone by Apple with its CarPlay integration for iOS, Google today announced Android Auto. Essentially, it offers pretty much the same level of features and integration that Apple already demonstrated but linking to an Android based smartphone rather than an Apple one. So you will be able to access music, navigation, contacts, reminders, etc. They worked with 28 different auto makers as part of the Open Automotive Alliance. Car companies involved include Abarth, Acura, Alka Romeo, Audi, Bentley, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat, Ford, Honda, Hyundai, Infinity, Jeep, Kia, Maserati, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissa, Open, RAM, Renault, Seat, Skoda, Subaru, Suzuki and Volvo. The features are tied to the L version of Android which has not been released so there is no details on specifics as to when consumers may be able purchase cars with the feature.
Why Is Google Trying to Do Everything?
As you can see from all these announcements, Google is basically trying to get themselves setup in just about any aspect of one’s digital experience. Now this integration should make it easier to tie your digital devices together as well as transfer information. The key to Google though us the information. They built their dominance by being able to collect and analyze search data to better target consumers for ads where they make all their money. With the push out into all these other areas, they are essentially trying to expand the amount of digital information they collect and collate to improve their ability to monetize that data.
Many people may not think much about this but just consider the implications. The what and how your do things from driving, fitness, eating, watching, listening, etc they can collect from these various aspects. They can then use this information to generate better profiles of individuals. That information is then collated and sold off to other companies or used for their own purposes.