Google I/O 2016
So far every year for the past few years without fail Google has hosted its annual Google I/O event, and this year the company is back with the 2017 version. Just like Microsoft’s BUILD conferences or Apple’s WWDC, Google I/O is mostly about software and services, where Google will introduce new software and potentially launch new services for its customers to check out, and we expect that this year will be no different. So below is a list of everything that you might be able to expect from the event which will be taking place from the 17th-19th of May, 2017.
Right off the bat we guess the biggest and most obvious thing we can expect Google to talk about at Google I/O would be Android O. This is Google’s latest update on its Android operating system and as it stands, a version number and its name (apart from the designated “O”) has yet to be revealed.
A handful of features of Android O have trickled out ever since its developer preview was released, but we expect a more formal introduction at the event.
Android Auto is Google’s attempt at trying to bring a version of Android into cars and its infotainment systems. We’ve seen Google introduce various new features and updates to the platform, such as integrating Waze in Android Auto, so perhaps we’ll learn more about the future of the platform at the event.
This topic is a little tricky. Android Wear 2.0 was announced last year at Google I/O 2016, but due to several delays, the update was only just released to Android Wear smartwatches a couple of months ago. With the update being this fresh in everyone’s mind, we’re not sure if Google will even touch on Android Wear 3.0 so soon.
One of the bigger changes that Google has done to its Chrome OS platform is giving it the ability to run Android apps. There have been talks about Google possibly merging Chrome OS and Android into a unified platform, but that has since been denied, with Google’s Hiroshi Lockheimer stating that both platforms are successful in their own regard and that merging them together doesn’t make sense. Earlier this year Google also hinted at the possibility that Chrome OS could be arriving in other form factors so maybe at I/O we’ll be able to get a taste of what’s to come.
Google Home was launched last year and we expect that Google is probably working on a successor. Following Amazon’s launch of smaller and more compact Echo speakers, and also the Echo Show which comes with a touchscreen display, we wouldn’t be surprised if Google had a newer, smaller, and maybe touch-sensitive version of Home in the works as well.
While voice assistants have existed on Android for the longest time ever, the launch of Google Assistant and seeing it integrated into various Google apps and services suggests that Google has bigger plans for the platform. Right now Google Assistant has made its way out of the Pixel phones and onto non-Pixel handsets, so we expect that Google will share more plans for the future of the software.
Google’s interest in virtual reality and augmented reality aren’t new. Last year when the Pixel handsets launched, they were Google’s first Daydream-ready handsets and we wouldn’t be surprised if Google were to announce more partners that would be launching Daydream-ready devices. Let’s not forget Google’s recent acquisition of VR developers Owlchemy Labs, where hopefully the company will share some of their plans with what they plan to do with the acquisition in terms of hardware or software.
The Google Glass is Google’s answer to augmented reality and while the project was previously scrapped and rebooted, we haven’t really heard much about it since. Could Google have something to show us this year? Although with Google shutting down Glass-related social media accounts, it certainly doesn’t seem that way, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed.
Google unveiled Project Tango a couple of years ago, although it was only last year that a phone with the actual technology was launched in the form of the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Following that we saw ASUS launch a similar handset in the form of the ASUS ZenFone AR, and last we heard a new Lenovo Project Tango phone could also be in the works for 2017 which could be shown off at I/O 2017.
While Google’s self-driving car efforts have been spun-off into a separate company in the form of Waymo, it is possible that Google could share what they’ve learnt so far from their efforts, maybe share some statistics and what the plans are moving forward, or maybe they’ll even give I/O attendees a demonstration of the self-driving cars in action.
So this is what we think you could expect from Google I/O 2017. Some of them are pretty much a given, like Android O, but some are based on what we’ve seen Google talk about in the past, as well as some speculation and even hope of what to expect. This means that there is no guarantee that what is mentioned here will be announced at the event, but either way we will be covering the event so remember to check back with us from the 17th-19th of May for the details.