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Google I/O 2015 Keynote Live Blog

May 28, 2015 - Written By Justin Diaz

To make sure you don’t miss everything Google has in store for us then you will need to make sure you are tuned in from 9.30am (PST). That means those on the east coast will want to be tuning in around 12.30pm (EST). If you are in the UK, the time will be 5.30pm (BST). While in Europe, you will want to be tuning in from 6.30pm (CET) onwards. So wherever you are and whichever area of android you are most looking forward to hearing about, keep this page bookmarked and come back later today.

The keynote is about to begin, and all the excitement of Google’s upcoming offerings has led to this point. Let’s see what they have in store.

Sundar Pichai has just taken the stage, stating that now is the time of mobile and the smartphone. Just in the last 12 months 600 million people came online with a smartphone. He states that Google builds products for everyone in the world, including search, YouTube, Maps, Search, Android, and Chrome.

Each of those listed products work at scale for the entire world, with over a billion users for each one of those services.

Today is going to be a huge focus on mobile, with 8 out of 10 devices that were shipped last year being based on Android.

Android Wear began with two models last year, with seven models now available and Pichai states that there are many more to come in the future.

HBO NOW is coming today to Android and is available across the platform.

Android M is focusing on polish and quality, going back to the basics. This starts today with the Android M developer preview. There are six key areas that Google is going to focus on, beginning with app permissions. Permissions will ask you for permissions the first time you try to use the app instead of when you install it.

The second key focus is going to be on web experience. Today developers can either send users to the browser or they can use webview in their apps. Android M will include chrome custom tabs, which supports sign in, saved passwords, autofill, and multi-process security.

Android Pay comes up next. Android Pay uses NFC and host card emulation, and is about “simplicity, security and choice.” It works by having the user unlock their phone like normal, then tap the NFC without having to enter in another code. Easy and simple.

Android Pay is also open, so you can use Google’s app or the banks app. Android Pay also has a number of partners already on board, with T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T all pre-installing it on future devices. It will work in 700,000 stores in the U.S. at launch, and will work for in-app purchases as well. Google will be building native fingerprint reader support right into Android M, and Android Pay will work with devices that are running on kit kat forward.

Android M is also going to have a focus on battery life, with a new feature called “Doze” which is aimed at smarter power management. To help with this, Android M will use motion detection to determine whether or not you’re using your device, and after certain periods of time the system will begin to cut off apps to conserve battery life. Google tested the new Doze feature on Nexus 9, and it allowed the tablet to last “up to two times longer.”

Android is also going to be supporting USB Type C moving forward.

Google is making the developer preview available for the Nexus 5, Nexus 6, Nexus 9, and Nexus player starting today.

Google is now talking about Android Wear. They state that today they’re “evolving Android Wear even further.” At the moment they’re currently going over the Android Wear 5.1 release which is available on a number of Android Wear devices.

Google Maps on Android Wear works in a black and white glance mode, helping with battery life. New apps like Uber, Foursquare, and Citymapper are gaining  Android Wear support in the near future, with more apps coming along the way. These new apps will be in addition to the already existing apps. Currently there are already more than 4,000 apps for Android Wear. Google states that by the end of 2015, there will a lot more Android Wear devices to choose from.

Next up Sundar Pichai is going to be talking about the Internet of Things. Google’s Internet of Things approach will see Nest, Android and Chrome working together. This includes Google’s underlying operating system for the Internet of Things, Project Brillo, which is derived from Android. It has been polished down to work on devices with a minimal footprint.

Project Brillo will support Bluetooth Low Energy and WiFi, as well as other things we already see on Android. To communicate with other devices, Google is using a communications layer called “Weave,” which is a common language for IoT devices. Weave makes it possible for phones, Brillo devices, and the web talk to each other. It also cross-platform, with open developer APIs. To make communication easy for users, Android devices will auto-detect Brillo devices and Weave devices seamlessly. Both Brillo and Weave will launch towards the end of the year, with Brillo launching in Q3 and Weave launching in Q4.

Google has moved on to talking about Google Now, so basically Google’s Knowledge Graph. Since Google Now first launched, more and more useful information has been given to users through the service. To assist users with Google Now they need understand context, bring answers proactively and help users take action. That is the basis of Google Now.

Google Now understands more than 100 million places.

Google’s been working on a new capability to assist people in the moment with Google Now wherever they are on the phone called “Now on Tap.” Now On Tap takes advantage of new functionality in the Android M release and will be making its way out to users with the developer preview of Android M, allowing Google to give users answers to questions in the moment without leaving context.

Essentially what Now on Tap does is read whatever is on the screen when you press and hold the home button, feeding you information via Google Now cards. No matter what app you’re in, Now on Tap will work.

With Now on Tap users can also tap on any word in the web browser and get a Google Now card to pop up with more information.

Next up Google is going to talk about Google Photos.

Google Photos is centered around three big ideas. A home for all your photos and videos.  Second, being able to help users organize and bring moments to life, and third, making it easy to share and save what matters. Google Photos automatically backs up your photos and videos from multiple devices including your phone, tablet, computer and memory cards, and it can automatically sync your photos with Google Drive.

Google Photos helps organize and bring moments to life, and by using machine learning it helps people organize photos by people, places, and things that matter the most to them. Organization is automatic and private.

Bringing things to life focuses on the photo enhancements and tweaks users can make to their photos and videos. Google also wants to make it easy for people to share the stuff that matters within Google Photos. This includes the new drag-to-select-all feature within photos if you’re wanting to share multiple images.

With link share, users can share photos with anyone that they wish, without any need for other users to login to access the content. If they are logged in to their Google account, they have an extra button to download the content into their own Google Photos library instantly.

In addition to these cool and useful functions, Google is allowing unlimited free storage of photos and videos completely free, with support for up to 16MP images and 1080p videos. Google Photos is also rolling out today to users on Android, iOS, and the web.

Google’s VP of engineering, Jen Fitzpatrick is now on stage talking about Android One. There are no 10 different OEMs participating in the Android One program in seven different countries including the latest location, Turkey.

With YouTube having recently been working offline, users can keep a YouTube video offline for up to 48 hours.

Google has been working hard to make Maps work offline as well, and their efforts have resulted in Maps allowing users to get access reviews and open hours for places when you search for them in Maps. When Maps offline goes live later this year, users will even be able to get turn by turn directions without a data connection.

Google’s lead of the Developer Product Group, Jason Titus is now on stage to talk about the developer focused changes. Google wants to give developers tools to make things as easy as possible, which includes Android Studio version 1.3 with improved gradle build speed and new memory profiler. The New Android Studio will now have full editing and support debugging in C++.

Google is going to automate the testing of applications on multiple devices with the release of Cloud Test Lab.

Google is introducing Developer Pages within the Play Store, which not only allows developers to showcase all their app offerings in one place, but it should make it easier for end users to find all the apps from one developer on a nice, scrollable themed page, basically their own personal Google Play homepage for just their apps.

Now Google is talking about Google Play. In just the last 12 months there have been 50 billion app installs and 1 billion active users. A big focus for Google this year will be to provide users with smarter search results inside of Google Play by making appropriate subcategory groups for apps when relevant.

Google is also launching a new “family discovery experience” which is focused on showing apps and games that are safe for families and kids. Content will be denoted by a new icon to tell you that things are kid-friendly called the “Family Star.” Google is also enabling stronger password protection for in-app purchases and other filters and parental controls.

Today Google is launching an Android nanodegree with Udacity which will cost $200 for a month 6-month course. This will help people learn how to develop apps for android.

Now Google is talking about virtual reality and Google Cardboard. There are currently hundreds of apps compatible with Google Cardboard on the Google Play Store, and more than 1 million cardboard viewers out in the world which can take advantage of those apps. Google has improved the Cardboard viewer with a new design that now fits phones for screens up to 6-inches. It also includes a new input button, and will be easier to set up in just three simple steps instead of the previous 12. Google Cardboard now also supports iOS.

Today Google is introducing “Expeditions.” Expeditions lets teachers take their classes on field trips to anywhere using Google Cardboard, where teachers can control the field trip via an Android device while students can experience the field trip using VR. Teachers can sign up for Expeditions today.

To help capture VR video, Google is making a new camera device to shoot VR video called Jump. It includes the camera rig itself, the assembler tool and the camera player. Google will be giving away plans for the rig later this Summer, and GoPro is building a small jump-ready 360-degree camera kit.

Sundar Pichai is back on stage. He is talking about driverless cars. 1 million miles have been driven autonomously. Pichai gave a brief talk about Project Loon, which can stay up in the air for over 100 days, and they spread internet over an area the size of Rhode Island.