Google’s annual developer’s conference, Google I/O started yesterday with buzz that things were going to be shaken up a little around the web. While there was no news about Google Glass or Ingress, the new tools and interfaces that were presented at the 3 hour keynote speech were definitely welcome to most Google fans.
What’s the gist?
While statistics were thrown around about Android mobile apps and the Chrome project being huge players online today, the biggest changes were to it’s flagship social network, Google Plus.
Around 40 new or improved features were announced that will definitely set Google Plus, and it’s associated apps apart from any other network. Gone is Google Talk, which has been absorbed by Google Hangouts, a video chat interface that used to be for Google Plussers only. Google Talk was the default chat feature if you had say, a Gmail account, but now Hangouts are available to all Google Account holders.
Do you have a lot of photos on your phone? While Google has had an auto upload feature for quite a while now, the new feature not only backs up all your phone’s photos away from your public account at full resolution, but it’s ‘Auto Awesome’. Auto Awesome can animate your photos for you, pick and splice the best parts of several photos together to make a super photo and can retouch your images for you to make you look like, well, an awesome photographer and scrapbooker.
Android users would know we’ve had a taste of new search for a little while now, with the Google Now app. Google Now has allowed us to keep track of all of our Google Tools in one place, search, maps, reminders, Google Plus notifications and more if you follow sporting teams! The main difference with this new update, is that voice search has been integrated into desktop search, so you can have a conversation with Google search from any device. All reports indicate that it is a very spooky and realistic AI which can also understand slang.
Not again!! Google Maps has had another rebuild. See a preview of the new Google Maps here. At the moment it’s on request only as the new interface is likely to give many users a slight heart attack with all the new features.
The entire map will soon be interactive, not just business locations are included in the drill down. You can click on anything on the map and get more information about what is nearby including art and local attractions. I guess we can thank all the Ingress players for submitting all those to Maps! One very cool new feature is that if you don’t have an exact address, you can simply click and mark two points on the map, and get a calculation that way. (They must have read my wish list)
Google Music is newish in Australia, so whether you have started using it or not is iffy seeing as iTunes still has market share over music storage and playing. It might interest you to know that the new All Access Google Music has a monthly fee for storing up to 20,000 songs in their cloud as well as creating your own ‘radio stations’ and listening to whatever you want, whenever. New subscribers get a special discounted monthly price.
So there you have it, not by any means everything that was covered, but keep in mind, the screencast was at like 3am for me 🙂 Enjoy.