Google Announces VR, Improved Assistant, and More at I/O 2016

Last week, Google introduced a line of new and improved initiatives to developers gathered for the company’s I/O 2016 conference. The projects presented during the event will roll out this year and into 2017.

Here’s a look at some of the biggest announcements:

Improved Assistant Function: Now called Google Assistant, the voice-activated search function found across many Google platforms has taken on a more conversational approach to search. It asks follow-up questions and more closely mimics human speech.

Two New Messaging Apps: Google introduced Allo and Duo messaging apps. Allo is a standard text- based messaging app that includes some special features, like working with Google’s AI Assistant to answer in-chat queries and provide automatic responses. All messages will be end-to- end encrypted as well. Duo is a video messaging app similar to FaceTime. Both will be available on Android and iOS in the upcoming months.

Daydream: With this virtual reality (VR) platform, Google enters the fray of companies vying to be the top dog of VR, but with a twist. Daydream is available only on mobile. The software can be found in the upcoming Android N operating system. No actual headset yet, but the company did show off renderings of what a mobile-based headset could look like in the future.

Google Home: Similar to Amazon’s Echo, this device uses always-listening speakers to respond to requests and queries. It works with Google Cast to connect to enabled devices and will rely on Google’s already robust voice-recognition programs to work as a virtual assistant for everything from scheduling appointments on Google Calendar to changing music. Google Home is set to premiere later this year.

Voice recognition improvements and virtual reality are Google’s biggest announcements this year.

By Prasana William

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