Recalling what we saw at Google I/O 2016

Google I/O 2017 is set to kick off in less than 3 hours. Here's a quick discussion on what we saw at the last event.

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Google I/O is an annual developer meet when Google announces new app launches, major software upgrades, software support for their devices and third-party OEMs. At Google I/O 2016, we saw a few major upgrades to Android as a whole – for smartphones, Android Auto, Android for other devices and more.

Here’s a quick recap on what we saw last year.

Key stats on last year’s Google I/O event

As much as 7000 developers and bloggers attended the Google I/O event in live. The show was extended to over 538 developer groups across 100 countries and the Google I/O 2016 event’s live streaming clocked over 1 million views in real-time from China.

Creative, rich cards in Google searches and improved knowledge graph

Google announced the launch of extensive rich, contextual cards across a range of Google platforms – Google Search, Android and more. Rich cards with contextual information allow users to stay looped to their search query’s topic with additional information related to that topic.

A quick search for Christiano Ronaldo would plug in key stats about his games, YouTube videos on his famous tricks and his life events along your search results.

Real-time translations on Google Translate had been hugely popular too among the users and it clocked over 140 million searches daily across 100 languages. This has been possible hugely due to Google’s investment in a range of AI learning mechanisms.

Google announced the launch of Google Assistant

Google announced the launch of Google Assistant at Google I/O 2016. Google Assistant is Google’s in-house bot that powers all information plugged to Google’s knowledge graph. This is the basis of Google Search going forward and will act as a layer for conversational communication on many levels.

Google Assistant is now available on Google’s Allo and on Google Home launcher. This conversational chatbot is a culmination of over 10 years of Google’s learning in AI and never misses out on your follow-up questions. Give it a go on Google Allo. Get Allo below.

Google Allo and Duo launch

Google’s already packed with lots of communication apps, but the company does not look like it’s going to stop there. With Wave and Buzz are retired, Hangouts was Google’s sole messaging app. But, it was immediately supported by two new ones – Allo and Duo.

Google Allo and Google Duo

Allo is a chat app that is hugely build on Google Assistant and will constantly learn from your messages with friends. It will learn from your previous conversations and plug in suitable information on your messages as and when needed. Get Google Allo here.

Duo was launched with the sole aim of achieving faster and easier video calls. The app’s primarily aimed at children and old people. Duo is as simple as that. There’s no bloatware atop. Get Google Duo here.

Launch of Google Home

Google announced the launch of Google Home, a device that aims at replacing your Amazon Echo at home. Google Home is primarily build with Google Assistant atop and will be enabling users to stay on the loop with important contexts and handle important alerts, all with voice. Google Home was made available later and is priced at 129 USD.

Google Home

This year’s Google I/O is expected to bring an upgrade to Google Home like how Amazon announced the launch of Amazon Echo Show with display a week back. At least, that’s what I hope.

Dave Burke spoke on Android N and major upgrades it brings along

Dave Burke, VP of Engineering at Google announced the launch of Android N at Google I/O 2016. Called Nougat later, Android N brought major upgrades to Android in terms of security, performance and speed.

Starting Android N, encryption is done at file level rather than at block level. This results in increased security with better performance. Android N introduced the launch of Vulkan, a new graphics processing API that renders media at better resolution at lower power consumption and at much better efficiency. Android N also brought JIT compiler that enables apps to be installed at 75% faster time.

Fun fact: With JIT compiler, Android N did away with app optimization at the end of each ROM flash or ROM upgrade.

In addition to these, Android N brought about multi-window display, multitasking and improved notifications for better productivity.

There were announcements with references to VR and more during the launch. This being said, and with Facebook’s new upgrades to AI, VR and AR, this year’s Google I/O is likely to be even more fun. Lookout! You can watch the livestream here at 2200 hours IST.