Google I/O 2016 kicked off with the traditional keynote, where the internet giant made a few big reveals. The TrustedReviews team reflect on the most important announcements, including Google Daydream VR, Google Home, Android N and much more.
Where do you start with a Google I/O keynote address? The online search behemoth has a history of wowing us at its annual developer conference – just as Apple does at WWDC – and 2016 was no different.
Big G hit us with a slew of announcements – some expected, some unpredicted, and some notably absent. But what actually mattered? Our editors take a look.
James Laird, News and Features Editor – Google Home
To be honest, I/O was a bit thin on the ground this year, but that meant I could get home for the second-half of the League Two play-off semi-final (#COYD), so cheers Google, keep it up. The one things that did wow, however, was Google Home.
Even if it does look like a posh air freshener and remind of HAL 9000, it’s still the thing that made you stop and say: “Want!” It’s not that fingering my phone every time I need to hail an Uber or order a Deliveroo is a massive chore, it’s just that being able to take advantage of all those modern conveniences by talking to myself seems shedloads cooler.
Add in all the entertainment functionality – and the fact that Google Home might even be able to help me stop missing meetings – and you’ve got the first smart home device I actually want to buy.
Pity Google probably won’t bring it to the UK until 2020…
Sean Keach, Deputy News and Features Editor – Google Assistant
After last night’s I/O keynote, I’m now sure Google is going to win the AI war.
Google understands questions. This is a company that has been answering our queries – from the sensible to the inane – for nearly two decades. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Google Assistant has cracked contextual search better than anyone else.
The main turn-off for talking to your smartphone is the fear that your question might not be understood. When you ask Siri for something three times and it coughs up zilch, you soon realise that you’re better off doing things manually. It’s the same sad story for Cortana. But Google Assistant’s success at understanding everyday chat will take AI mainstream.
So when Skynet does eventually dominate humanity, it’ll probably be running on Android.
Max Parker, Mobile Editor – Sweet bugger all
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Maybe I’m just an impatient Midlander, but I came away from Google’s I/O event wishing their was something, just something, that I could get my hands-on right away. Google Home, the Amazon Echo competing virtual assistant, looks incredibly cool (albeit slightly creepy) but I’ll have to wait until autumn to actually get one.
Same goes with Daydream and all its VR niceties. I do understand the need to wait and let developers have time with both Android N and Android Wear 2.0 before releasing them to the public – or the handful of people who’ll actually have a compatible device at launch – but why couldn’t Allo and Duo have been available to download on the night?
Oh, and while I’m at it – who wants a keyboard on their Android Wear watch? A teensy tiny one on a 1-inch display? No one, that’s who. It’s a silly idea that will only make the already complicated wearable OS even more confusing. What next, a version of Chrome? Give me a break.
Alastair Stevenson, Reviews Editor – Artificial intelligence
I/O 2016 is a sign Google’s working hard to bring the AI and analytics tech it’s been using in enterprise to the consumer space. For most of us this will be awesome, as the company’s algorithms and machine learning technologies are some of the most advanced on the planet. This means, if developers get behind it, we may actually get to see properly smart homes in the near future – Google Home might be just the beginning.
The only downside is it’ll require users to hand over yet more personal data to the search giant, which will be a sticking point for the privacy conscious among us.
WATCH NOW: Hands-on with Android N
You’ve heard from us, now let us hear from you. What was the most important announcement at Google I/O 2016?