Google I/O kicked off Tuesday with a few announcements from google. The first exciting bit of news was a new Android P beta. They also announced some Android TV news, ChromeOS stuff, and more.
Android P Beta 2
Let’s start with the obvious big news of the week and that is the new features that came with the new beta. First off Google announced more devices available to receive the beta other than the Pixel (XL) and Pixel 2 (XL). The Essential Phone, One Plus 6, Nokia 7 Plus, OPPO R15 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X21UD, Vivo X21, and the Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S will all be able to experience some of this P goodness. Google opening up the beta to more devices not only open the door for more feedback but will give a boost to devices like the Essential Phone that needed the help.
The first thing that is getting hyped in the new P is the gesture option. Accessed by going into Settings, Systems, and the Gestures, you will toggle on “Swipe up on Home button”. This will change your on screen buttons to a back button and a bar. When you go home the back button disappears leaving you only the bar. Swiping up once (quickly) on the bar will bring you your recent apps. From there you can swipe the bar left and right to sweep through those open apps. If you want to get to your app drawer you will either swipe up again from the bar or from the home screen do one continuous long swipe up.
You would not be wrong to think that Google ripped the gesture feature straight from the iPhone X. In fact devices like the LG G7 Thinq, with the iPhone like notch, will almost be able to be mistaken from the iPhone once they add this new gesture feature. Something many Android and iPhone purest alike will scowl at.
AI making big improvements
Google has been talking about working on their AI for years and they have shown some of those off at IO. Particularly with P, the software tries to learn your pattern so that you can spend less time on your phone and more time in the world. Android P will be able to learn your usage throughout the day so that it will be able to automatically adjust your brightness for you at times you would do it yourself. It will also be able to turn off certain apps to help preserve battery life as you wind down your day. And it will even be able to help you wind down by degrading your display and shutting down certain apps so to encourage users to put down their phones and get some rest at the end of the night.
Google has really stepped up the software in P and I will be breaking down more as I continue to use it. But for now I will just highlight the other additions such as a new look in settings and quick settings menu.
Assistant is their new golden goose
Another example of Google’s AI getting smarter is shown with Google Assistant. You will soon be able to use your Google Assistant to be able to call and set up appointments for you. This feature shown off at I/O was huge. The Assistant had the ability to respond to the call based on what the person on the other end was saying. The hope is that this will allow a busy family to be able to use Google Assistant as their personal secretary while they spend more time dealing with life stuff. I personally look forward to trying this out soon.
As more TV manufacturers adopt Android TV this is helping to get Google Assistant and Android in to more households. Google is looking to make sure the experiences are positive and they will continue to improve on Android TV. Expect more Android TV devices to hit the market (ie the JBL Link Bar, a soundbar with Android TV built in).
Google has been busy improving their software and they showed off years worth of work at Google I/O. The amount of stuff showed off and talked about was packed full and I will be unpacking through that information in the coming days. It is clear Google has a plan to utilize machine learning in all of their software and eventually get software to a point where it will be able to do more human tasks.
What was your favorite feature from Google I/O 2018.