In May each year, Google holds a developer conference and this year’s edition kicked off yesterday. So far, the Google I/O 2017 has given birth to an interesting set of new stuff while at the same time coming in with a bunch of enhancements to the already existing ones, especially for the Android family.
While the I/O 2017 event has just begun, we have already identified the top 5 things we’ve seen from the search engine giant so far – and here they are.
Android O public beta
As expected, the Google I/O 2017 has marked the beginning of the official Android O public beta program. The OS was already available as a developer preview, but the general public can now enjoy the trial version of the OS on their eligible devices. As usual, eligible devices are Google-owned, which include Pixel, Pixel XL, Pixel C, Nexus 6P, Nexus 5X and Nexus Player.
The update is rolling out with software version OPP2.170420.017. You must be part of the beta program in order to get the OTA notification to download this Android O beta on your Pixel or Nexus device. The developer preview version has also received the first major update.
Notifications form a solid part of the Android OS. With each release, Google has been introducing new tricks and tweaks to the notification system and Android O is no different. All through, Android notifications were found in the same place, but the 2017 Android version wants to make a switch thanks to Notification Dots.
Ideally, Notification Dots will appear on apps’ icons when there are unread notifications, which are also active in the usual notification shade. You may have already seen this on custom launchers, but Google wants them baked right into Android O this time around. The Dots will assume the color of each icon and when you long-tap an icon, a preview of the notification will pop up and from here; you’ll decide what to do with it. When you clear the notification from the notification shade, you won’t see the dot on the app icons anymore.
Gmail gets Smart Reply feature
You might already be enjoying instant reply options in a number of messaging apps, but it’s rare that these replies are really smart. Google wants to make a difference to this thanks to AI. Apparently, the search engine giant wants to personalize actions and content such that they suit each user in different scenarios.
So far, Google Allo and Inbox already support smart replies and now it’s the turn for Gmail to do get this support. As it is, Google will use its AI to analyze user emails and then generate three smart replies that you can choose from. During its launch at the Google I/O 2017, the search engine giant said that the quick reply suggestions will adapt to any message that you receive, which means that the options you get will vary from time to time in relation to the topic in question. In case you feel like expanding the reply, the option you’ve already selected will give you a head start in the email you are about to send back.
Gmail users will start seeing this feature later this week.
You can write to Google Assistant
Those times of constantly having to yell at your phone in order to talk to the Google Assistant are now gone. At the Google I/O 2017 event, the tech giant confirmed that its digital assistant will now accept text-based queries. This is a great addition from Google and it adds more sense to have the Assistant on your phone since talking to it is not always ideal, especially when in public.
Google Photos gets support for Google Books
As part of the Google I/O 2017 keynote, it was confirmed that Android OS is installed on more than 2 billion devices. At the same event, we also found out that the Google Photos, which is arguably one of the most underrated Google product – yet so powerful – gets to receive 1.2 billion new photos every day.
Now, to make life with Google Photos even easier, the I/O 2017 gave birth to Google Books support. As you may have guessed, Google wants you to have a physical collection of your best photos in form of a book. According to Google, it will only require a few minutes of your time to create a Photo Book from your online albums because the feature will automatically include all that it thinks are your best moments that should be in that book. You can then go ahead and pick your own selections from these automated ones and create a personalized Photo Book.
Once done, you can go ahead and order a hard cover or soft cover book, where the prices start at $9.99. This feature will be available in Google Photos for Android and iOS as from next week, but it’s already available at Photos.Google.com. At the moment, this feature is limited to the U.S., but as usual, it should expand to other markets in the coming weeks and/or months.
Is there anything we’ve missed on the list? Feel free to share with us in your comments below.