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Google I/O 2015 Summary: Android M, Now on Tap, Android Pay, and HBO Now

( [email protected] ) Jun 02, 2015 02:48 PM EDT
Last week, Google had their official developer's conference I/O (Input/Output) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  There were several announcements about new features and improvements at Google and here are 11 of them.
Many announcements were made at the developer's conference. Photo: The Verge

Last week, Google had their official developer's conference I/O (Input/Output) at the Moscone Center in San Francisco.  There were several announcements about new features and improvements at Google and here are 11 of them. 

Android M

It was pretty obvious that we were going to see the next version of the Android operating system here at the conference.  According to CNET, it is about "polish and quality" and "improving the core user experience". Many compare it to Lollipop, the current version of Android, some of the new features will be explained below.

App Permissions

If you are on Android, then you know about looking at permissions being seen completely up front when a new app is installed.  According to Digital Trends, Android M will have dynamic permissions appear only as needed. 

Android Pay

It is pretty clear that Google needs to compete with Apple and their Apple Pay, so naturally, they will have Android Pay.  This system will work when you unlock your phone and place it in front of an NFC terminal.  This will create a virtual account, working with any supported card and NFC-enabled device. 

Doze

In addition to an announcement that USB Type-C will be supported on Android, Google introduced a new feature known as Doze that is designed to extend the battery.  It uses motion detection on your Android device to determine if less power is needed, but can still respond to high-priority messages and alarms. 

Now on Tap

This is a feature that, according to The Verge, will allow the user to hold down the home button for an app, email, or web browser in order to bring up "Now cards" with relevant information about what you are doing. For example, if someone emails you about a movie, you can summon the Now cards to bring up YouTube trailers, ratings, and other pertinent information. 

Improved Google Photos

Google photos is a revamped application that promises to back up an unlimited number of photos and videos for free.  It can even organize them in a timeline or group them by location and people names. 

Offline Maps and Chrome

If you were ever going to need a mapping program, it would be in a developing country where connecting to a mobile network might not be an option.  Fortunately, Chrome will let you save pages for offline use, and this applies to Google Maps and Chrome as well. 

Android Wear Improvements

If you are not familiar with Android Wear, it is an operating system developed by Google made specifically for wearables.  Some of the improvements are an "always-on" screen as well as "always-on" apps.  The app launcher makes for loading apps faster, and there are other smaller updates as well. 

HBO Now

In case you thought that Apple was the only one to provide its users with HBO Now, that is no longer going to be the case as HBO Now will be coming to Android soon. 

Brillo and the Internet of Things

Google formally introduced Brillo, which is designed to run devices based on The Internet of Things.  That is, using a smartphone to control things like lights and other electronic devices around the home.  They also introduced Weave, a language that lets these devices talk to each other. 

Google Cardboard and New VR Camera Rig

At the last year's Google I/O, the company showed off a foldable cardboard frame that allowed the user to put their phone in and get some interesting virtual reality.  Google is now releasing a new version that can fit phones as large as six inches, and VR could have a future.  Google unveiled this circular camera that was essentially just a ring with 16 GoPro cameras around it to simulate 360 degree filming, perfect for VR.