1. Google IO 2017: Search giant is developing a stand-alone virtual-reality headset that doesn’t need a companion phone or personal computer

Google IO 2017: Search giant is developing a stand-alone virtual-reality headset that doesn’t need a companion phone or personal computer

Google IO 2017: Search engine giant Google will provide a look at its digital services and gadgets at its Mountain View, California, headquarters as it looks to increase its reach into people's lives even more than it currently does.

By: | New Delhi | Updated: May 18, 2017 9:31 AM
Google I/O 2017 keynote takes place live today, Google I/O, Google I/O live, Google, Google I/O 2017, Google I/O live, Google IO keynote, Google IO keynote live Google IO 2017: The event will happen on Wednesday during Google’s annual conference. (Source: Reuters)

Search engine giant Google will provide a look at its digital services and gadgets at its Mountain View, California, headquarters as it looks to increase its reach into people’s lives even more than it currently does. The event will happen on Wednesday during Google’s annual conference where thousands of computer programmers will be present. What is expected to be showcased are new tweaks in Android software for mobile phones and other devices. And, most interestingly a voice-controlled digital assistant currently available on some smartphones may be put up. Another gadget that can be in the pipeline is internet-connected speaker called Home. These gadgets are expected to compete with many products from Apple and Microsoft too.

Catch the event live here:

Here are the updates:

2:10 AM:  Google is announcing a lot of bells and whistles Wednesday but a good chunk of them are already being done by rivals such as Amazon, Apple, and Facebook. It’s a common theme these days, as tech giants and even their plucky startup rivals are copying each other’s tools and features, sometimes improving on them and sometimes barely catching up.

Google, for example, added features to its internet-connected Home speaker such as hands-free calling. That echoes Amazon’s Echo speaker. Google also unveiled Lens, which lets people point their camera at things to find out more information about them. Samsung is trying to some of that with its new Bixby Vision feature on the Galaxy S8 phones. With inputs from AP.

2:00 AM: Though not a competitor, Google’s slimmed-down phone operating system aimed at cheap Android phones is reminiscent of Facebook’s own “skinny” version, called Facebook Lite. Both are aimed at getting more people to use the company’s services, even if they live in developing countries and use cheap, older phones.

1:45 AM: Google is developing a stand-alone virtual-reality headset one that doesn’t need a companion phone or personal computer. Google says that it’ll be able to optimize all components that way.

1:35 AM: It’s also bringing positional tracking, which recognises movement as people walk around. That’s typically limited to high-end systems such as the Oculus Rift from Facebook. Lower-end systems such as Google Cardboard and Samsung’s Gear VR can detect head orientation but aren’t designed for full movement.

1: 30 AM: HTC and Lenovo will make the first stand-alone VR headsets using Google’s system. The devices won’t be out until later in the year. Prices haven’t been announced. Google is making the announcement in California on Wednesday at its annual conference for app developers.

1:15 AM: Android powers more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, but only a portion of them have the fastest processors and a high amount of memory. Android Go is meant to work on phones used by many people in emerging countries, for example. It’s a way for Google to help make Android-based smartphones even more ubiquitous around the world. It includes rebuilt Google apps and a redesigned Play store for devices with less than 1 gigabyte of memory. These devices will automatically get Android Go instead of the full version. Going forward, Google says every Android release will have a Go version.

1.10 AM: Google wants to bring Android to more people around the world. It has launched a program for cheaper, entry-level devices. Android Go is basically a “skinny” version of Android  “O,” the next operating system from Google.

1: 00 AM: Google is also planning a slimmed down version of Android for low-end phones, primarily used in the developing world. Called Android Go, this software will automatically enable data-saving features and will steer users toward apps designed specifically for the inexpensive hardware. Phones with less than one gigabyte of memory will automatically get Android Go.

12:50 AM: The company is realizing the evolving ways in which people take and share photos, and recognizing that even with a bevy of photo-sharing social media tools like Instagram and Facebook, sometimes people just want to share regular photos.

12:44 AM: Android powers more than 80 percent of the world’s smartphones, but it often takes years for a new version of the software to make it on older models. Google says new tools will encourage sharing of photos that you might have meant to share – but forgot. Google Photos will be able to suggest which photos to share and whom to share them with. The company envisions a world in which amazing photos are no longer left on people’s phones because other pressing things in life got in the way. Facebook has been trying to address this issue as well with its Moments app. Google says you can also choose to share entire photo libraries or portions of them if you wish. For example, a couple could decide to share all photos they take of their kids, or pet iguana.

12:37 AM: The operating system won’t be released to the mass market until later this year. By then, Google will name the system after a dessert or sweet-tasting snack beginning with the letter “O” as part of a years-old tradition.

12:32 AM: The next version of Google’s Android operating system wants to make using your phone easier, faster and more secure. Google provided a peek at the software’s upcoming features Wednesday during its annual conference for computer programmers. So-called “wise” limits will gauge and control how much battery life your apps are using. A feature called Google Play Protect, meanwhile, will scan all your apps for malicious software.

12:15 AM: Revealed! Google says that there are more Android users in India than in the US.

Available from today will be Android O – beta version. Google vows improved battery life and performance. In fact, Apps will be scanned by Google Play Protect and thereby safeguard security threats. Programming language Kotlin added to support Android.

12:10 AM: Dave Burke speaks on Android. Android O now has Picture in Picture mode. After pinning to screen bottom, video can be watched on Netflix or YouTube. Autofill has been extended to apps. Long pressing an app icon allows users to details around notifications.

11:55 PM: Google is providing the latest peek at its digital services and gadgets, initially offering a major focus on its efforts to extend artificial intelligence features into more of its apps and services.

11:45 PM: Google says new tools will encourage sharing of photos that you might have meant to share but forgot. Google Photos will be able to suggest which photos to share and whom to share them with. The company envisions the world in which amazing photos are no longer left on people’s phones because other pressing things in life got in the way. With inputs from AP.

11:20 PM: Google also launches Google Photos which will have a separate tab to see your sharing activities. It will also allow you to send an SMS or email to someone who doesn’t have the app.

11:08 PM: The search giants have also launched Google Home but it won’t be available in India. It is launching in UK, Germany, Japan, etc.

11:02 PM: It has been confirmed that Google Assistant is now available on iPhone. It will support French, Japanese, Brazilian, Germany, and a lot more languages by the end of the year.

10:52 PM: Sundar Pichai said that some of Google’s computer systems are now even better than humans. He reveals the new product Google Lens. “With Google Lens, you can just point your smartphone camera to an object and it will recognise it for what it is, be it a flower or a WiFi password, written on the back of a computer. We are building AI first data centres,” Pichai said.

10:37 PM: Google CEO Sundar Pichai is on stage now. He says 7,000 people are present in the audience today. He added that Seven of our products have 1 billion monthly active users and Android now has 2 billion users.

10:24 PM: Even though the main event is yet to start, live streaming for Google IO has started, as per the Indian Expres. Also, there is some live gaming going on.

10:15 PM: As far as Google O is considered, Google has spoken about how it will improve the battery experience on smartphones.

10:00 PM: One major announcement could be regarding Google Assistant. According to the Indian Express, there are reports that it won’t be limited to just iPhone and will also be integrated into GE home appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, ovens, washers and dryers.

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    May 18, 2017 at 7:46 am
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