Google I/O 2014 – What We Learned

Google presented their keynote speech on Wednesday, and they presented a ton of new information during the two and a half-hour speech. For Android lovers like myself, it was full of impressive new gear, software, and tons of updates. However, not all of us are developers, so a lot of the speech was way above our heads. That doesn’t take away from the important things that were announced for consumers, however, so here is a list of the most important things we learned at Google I/O 2014.

Android “L” Announced Android L is the next version of Android after 4.4. The update is packed with new features, most notably a whole design make-over. The new design, called “Material Design”, looks very similar to Apple’s interface. It draws on the idea of shapes on a piece of paper, and it honestly looks pretty good. Google also presented new notifications for Android L, including the much anticipated lock-screen notification revamp. Users can now respond to notifications directly from the lock-screen instead of having to unlock the phone. Lastly, Android L appears to have an improved battery life for all devices, something many Android phones have been looking forward to.

Android Wear- A Smarter SmartWatch Google announced the creation of “Android Wear”, which is an OS that runs on Smart Watches unique to Android. With the new OS, they announced three new watches- the LG G, Samsung Gear Live, and the Moto 360. The first two are already available, and the the Moto 360 should be available later this year. The watches look absolutely beautiful, and come at a surprisingly affordable price- $199 for the Samsung Gear Live and $229 for the LG G. The watches appear to be Google Now on your watch, and are both waterproof and dust resistant. The role of smartwatches in today’s world are still up in the air, but what can’t be argued is how cool they are. I’m excited to see where else Google plans to take their wearables in the future.

Android TV Android TV is Google’s newest approach to taking over your household. After failing miserably with Google TV, they appear to have finally figured it out with Android TV. It appears that Android TV will be similar to Amazon and Apple’s streaming box. However, Android TV uses your smartphone or Android Wear watch to control the tv, and allows you to cast your screen to the TV. Speaking of casting, they also announced improvements to the Chromecast- which currently is the highest selling streaming content provider on Amazon. Users can now allow friends to cast with their phones with a simple “opt-in” request. Google also appears to be planning on growing the amount of Apps available for the Chromecast, a common complaint.

Android Auto With Apple recently announcing its partnership with Audi, Google fired back with its very own idea of taking over your car. Android Auto relies on voice-enabled commands to control your music, navigation, and communication while driving. It connects to your car’s dashboard and uses Google Now to complete tasks. So far Google plans to team up with over 40 partners for the launch later this year.

Extra: Android One and Google Fit Android One is an innovative idea by Google to bring smartphone’s and other technology into developing countries at a low price. The idea, which I think is great, allows for developing countries to purchase high quality smartphones at a low price. Google is passionate about leaving no part of the world behind as we advance our own technology. Previously this year they began initiating “Project Loon”, which sent balloons with WiFi across rural parts of the world where WiFi is unavailable. It is no surprise to see them continue to attempt to spread technology across the globe. Google Fit appears to be Google’s attempt at matching Samsung’s own fitness tracking system. Google has partnered with companies like Nike and Adidas to provide a platform to track your fitness stats. It seems like a cool idea, and I’m excited to see where it goes a year from now.

Summary: Google didn’t exactly shake things up like they did last year during their I/O, but they still announced a ton of new technology and software. Keep an eye out for Android L and Android Wear as the summer progresses as they appear to be huge game-changers for Android. Judging by the I/O, Google appears to be well in control of their future plans and I think I speak for all Android users when I say that I am pumped to be a part of the ride! Let me know below what you are most excited for, I’d love to hear it.


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