Google’s I/O 2015 conference is all set to start on May 28 and the official schedule is now available on the I/O 2015 site. Of course, the biggest and most awaited announcement from the Google I/O conference is the new Android OS. Last year’s conference showed Android L, and this year we wait for Android M.
Android M will give its users more control over their privacy, reports Bloomberg. The report quotes people who have an inside knowledge of the matter and notes that these privacy controls will allow users what permissions to grant to a particular app, which could include access to photos, contacts, location.
Google’s new privacy controls would then place it at par with Apple’s iOS which allows users to decide what apps get permission to location, photos, contacts, microphone, Bluetooth sharing, Calendar, Reminders, etc.
Currently the problem with Android is that when a user is downloading an app, it will prompt them about the permissions that the app needs. A user must either accept all these permissions or else they have to cancel installation of the app.
Customisations of Android like CyanogenMod, MiUi 6 which ships on Xiaomi smartphones, allow users to decide permissions for apps which is outside of the Android specifications. On MiUi 6, the Security option allows users to grant/deny permissions for sensitive information like Location, Photos, Contacts for each app after installation.
Similarly CyanogenMod lets users turn off permissions for app after they have been installed. Interestingly Android 4.3 had a hidden feature called App Ops that allowed users to toggle permission for each app. Sadly Google removed this feature from Android 4.4.2 build of the OS.
The demands for more privacy control in Android have around for sometime. Based on the latest the reports, it looks like Google will finally deliver on these.
Other interesting sessions in the Google I/O conference are centred around Android TV, Android Wear, etc.
1. With Android Wear, one session is titled Your App and always-on screen. The session talks about how Android Wear’s new always-on feature “transforms the watch into whatever app” a user is on from map to shopping list to fitness. The session will help developers design and build for always-on screens.
2. The Android for Work session, which appears to have been removed, in another one that highlights the new capabilities of Android M. As the post on ArsTechnica points out, this will ensure dual-mode, a work and a personal one for Android users and aims to bring Android devices to more workplaces. How Android M caters to the enterprise world remains to be seen.
3. Hands-free apps is another session that talks about how developers could provide users with a new method of access to the apps based on voice alone.
4. Google Cast aka Google’s ChromeCast for streaming mobile content on TVs will also have its own session. The description reads that “the lead designer of Chromecast will talk about what it takes to “cast-ify” your app, and to take advantage of the latest updates to the cast model for multi-screen interactions, shared queues, sound systems, and games, all using the mobile phone as the controller.” We could get a second version of Google Chromecast as well.
5. Android Auto session will also talk about how Google is expanding this particular platform. One session will discuss Android Auto APIs that allow developers to bring existing audio and messaging apps to the car.
6. Earth in Real Time will see Google talk about its latest acquisition Skybox and how it plans to use satellite imaging.
7. And finally there’s a Video-Chat for Web, iOS and Android session, which talks about WebRTC which allows realtime audio, video and data communication and will focus on building cross-platform apps for voice and video chat. WebRTC is a free, open project supported by Google, Mozilla and others which allows browsers and mobile applications to engage in Real-Time Communications (RTC) capabilities via APIs.