Eight things to expect at Google I/O 2018

For a company as large and extensive as Google, an annual developer conference can be overwhelming. And, frankly, it is. Google offers a dizzying number of services and products in almost all consumer technology industries under the sun, not to mention the more than 7,000 million Internet products it owns and operates. But the company has a measured pace when it comes to Google I / O and we have come to understand how it prioritizes certain products over others that arrive in May of each year.

In this year's I / O to be held again at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, beginning on Tuesday, May 8, we know we will hear about the future of the artificial intelligence efforts of Android and Google. . But there will also be news especially, from its new portable platform, Wear OS, and Google Assistant for Android TV, Google Home, Google Play and Search. This is the time of year when Google pulls out all the stops to show how its software is smarter and more futuristic than the products of its rivals Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft.

So this is what we can anticipate about the future of Google on display next week.




Android P

Google I / O usually revolves around the latest version of Android, which this year will be the P version. After the most comprehensive structural review last year of Android with Oreo, it modernized notifications and rationalized how to update smartphones. In the future, Google's latest approach to mobile software is more visual and focuses on interface design improvements.

We've been playing with the first preview for developers since the beginning of March, and we can already identify the big trends. Android P focuses on making space for screen notch now widespread in full-screen smartphones, giving users more granular privacy settings and unifying and simplifying the design language and usability of menus, springs and configuration screens . There are also rumors that Android P could incorporate some of the gesture designs of Apple's iPhone X. We'll get even more information about Android P on Tuesday, when Google is expected to publish a second preview of the developer.

Artificial Intelligence

Beyond Android, I / O is an event to catch up on everything related to artificial intelligence in Google. CEO Sundar Pichai has been positioning AI as the secret sauce for his company's future: software that can see and understand the world, identify objects and analyze natural language will help almost all Google products improve in the next years. That process has already begun, with products such as Google Assistant software based on voice and text, Google Translate and Google Lens object and image recognition platform. There are also all the ways in which Google's AI efforts feed other Alphabet companies, such as the DeepMind research lab in London and the Waymo self-driving unit.





Google

That said, the I / O will face more consumer and developer, so we should expect to hear more about products like Google Lens, as well as the company's TensorFlow platform and its chips from the Unit Tensor processing. These chips are the core of AI training systems specially designed by the company, and help the company accelerate the learning process of their neural networks. We also hope to hear many of the same great predictions about AI that we heard on stage at Facebook's F8 developer conference last week, when executives also described AI as the future of Facebook's business. Of course, it's not surprising that Google and Facebook compete for the best talent, as both companies have rival artificial intelligence research divisions that have some of the highest salaries in the technology industry.





Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Google Assistant and Google Home

The Google Assistant and the Google Home hardware family in which he lives mainly are programmed to be large consumer-oriented focuses for the company in this year, I / O. Assistant continues to be Google's biggest competitive push against Amazon's Alexa and, to a lesser extent, Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Cortana. And while the Wizard lives on iOS and Android devices as an application and a voice interface, it is more useful as the operating system layer for any number of smart home devices, starting with the Google smart speaker family.

We should expect news about some new features for the Google Assistant, as well as some new integrations for Google Home. The company is likely to save its hardware ads for the standard Pixel Fall event, so do not expect any new products with the Google brand. But considering that Google has been aggressively expanding the availability of Google Home products and the support of third-party developers for the Google Assistant, I / O should have some interesting news on both fronts.

Google Photos, Google News and Google Play

While not necessarily the most interesting topics on the list, Google Photos and Google News, along with the general Play Store platform, are very popular products that always win a mention or two during I / O every year. In particular, Google Photos is home to most of Google Lens' artificial intelligence enhancements and features improvements, so we're likely to hear about how the company's image and object recognition software is improving its application. Photo storage and helping you discover interesting ideas and automate the creation of montages, GIFs and other fun short-form video content.

AdAge also reported last week that Google is planning a renewal of its News platform on both desktop and mobile devices. According to reports, it will include the incorporation of the Google Newsstand application into a new Google News all-in-one mobile application, along with more YouTube videos and faster upload times courtesy of the company-owned AMP format on all platforms. The new Google News is expected to go on the market tomorrow on I / O during the presentation. And, as usual, we should get some new statistics on the popularity of Android applications through the Play Store.

Gaming

Google has been trying to decipher the games for a while, usually by taking advantage of the ubiquity of Android and its success in the living room with Chromecast to create some form of hybrid mobile console solution. Unfortunately, it has never materialized at all. That may change soon, since Google seems to have a lot of cooking in the game department. First, there's the Yeti, the gamecasting service powered by Chromecast that has not yet been announced for the company and first published in February.

There's also the new social gaming company Arcade, from tech entrepreneur Michael Sayman, now at Google after a high-profile season as a 17-year-old Facebook employee, who seems to be taking note of H [19659023] Q Trivia . And then there's Google Play Instant, the service powered by Instant Apps that allows Android phones to test mobile gaming applications with a touch by boosting them through the mobile browser as a web game. Any of these projects, or all of them, can be on the agenda in I / O, so game fans should keep their eyes open.

Material Design Refresh

The materials design philosophy of Google, once praised, the basis of the vast majority of the user interface and UX of the modern design of Android, Chrome and mobile applications, is now four years old . That's probably why we've heard about a "Material Design Update" that replaces the previous documentation that cites a "Material Design 2." Google may not be planning a full sequel to Material Design, but is clearly thinking about how to update visual language by 2018, and we can hear more about that I / O next week.

Building the case for a new version of Material Design is a subtle change to the Chrome tabs detected last month along with a new Material Design document on the Chromium site, rumors of a major redesign of Chrome in September with a focus on touch controls and ChromeOS benefits, and the giant Gmail redesign that was launched last week. All indications point to a more unified approach to software on Android, Chromebooks, Chrome desktop and web applications, and I / O would be the main destination to make this known to the world.





Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Use SO

In addition to Android P, I / O is the time of year when Google maintains a kind of union status in its portable technology platform, now it's called Wear OS after a name change from the previous Android Wear name. The new inaugural Wear OS software has come out in the developer's preview along with Android P, and has brought some much-needed improvements to the battery life along with a welcome dark mode for the user interface to make the watch look much easier. the eyes. And just this week, Google announced several updates for Wear OS that bring more features of Google Assistant to the platform.

In I / O, Google is likely to shed more light on the first update of Wear OS and post a second developer preview more widely available (the first was restricted to Huawei models). We also hope to have a better idea of ​​how Wear OS reimagines what smart watch software can do, particularly around concepts such as voice control with Google Assistant integrations.

Android TV and Android Auto

Developments related to Google's set-top box software, Android TV and its automotive infotainment product, Android Auto, have been relatively quiet lately. But any news we receive on those fronts will probably reach I / O this year. Android TV has been around for a few years, and last year we saw a redesigned home screen for Android version O, but not much more. It is also worth mentioning the rumor that Google could launch a new 4K Android TV dongle similar to Chromecast that would include the complete TV interface and possibly a remote control, although that comes from images included in an FCC presentation that have been removed.

As for Android Auto, that software has also been around for a few years, but recently wireless support was added for Pixel and Nexus devices starting last month. In January, Google announced that its Assistant software would soon activate voice functions for Android Auto, so it is likely that I / O will mark the launch of that feature.