According to Caroline O’Donovan who was reporting from Google’s annual developer conference on behalf of Buzzfeed.com below is everything you need to know about what Google has in store for consumers.
In Virtual Reality, Google Is The A’s And Facebook Is The Yankees
The search giant builds cheap from within, and the social giant builds expensive from without. Sports fans know which one usually works
Project Loon and Self-Driving Cars
Google made some announcements about their ambitious infrastructure projects in autonomous driving and bringing internet to the developing world. First, they disclosed that their autonomous cars have driven 1 million miles without incident caused by the cars themselves. And floating “at the edge of space” for up to 100 days at a time, Google’s Project Loon internet balloons will help bring the next 1 billion people online. The newest balloons can cover areas four times the size of those covered by earlier Project Loon efforts.
Jump Virtual Reality Videos
Google announced Jump, a technology for creating virtual reality footage that works with Cardboard, the company’s low-cost VR viewer. Jump includes a camera rig, an assembler, and a player and can be used with off-the-shelf cameras. Google’s proprietary assembler tech use these in-between viewpoints to get stereoscopic VR video. And then Cardboard viewers can see VR footage. GoPro has already signed on to build a Jump-ready camera. Said Google exec Clay Bavor, “If you want to capture something that’s really immersive there are only a handful of custom camera rigs that do the job and they’re very expensive. We want to change that.”
Beginning this summer, YouTube and GoPro will both support Jump.
As part of a big push into virtual reality, Google uncrated a new program called Expeditions. Essentially, it’s a VR kit for schools that provides classes with everything needed to send kids on a synchronized VR trip. Expeditions will ship this fall in time for back-to-school season, and will include Cardboard VR headsets, phones for students, and an associated device for teachers.
Google is now offering a crash course in Android development. It’s a six-month program that covers the entire “lifecycle” of the OS. Price: $200 per month. Google claims to have invested over $4 million to develop curriculum for the course.
Google Photos is a new application that aims to drastically improve photo storage and organization by bringing its search functionality to a stand-alone photo app.
“It’s 2015, we’ve got cars that drive themselves and drones that deliver packages, but the ability to save, organize, and share 20 photos with a group of friends is the unsolved problem of our time,” says Anil Sabharwal, who runs Photos at Google, told BuzzFeed News.
Google Now on Tap
Google announced Now on Tap, a new feature on Android M, their new mobile operating system. Now on Tap knows and understands what app the user is in and can give context-sensitive alerts. So a text message that refers to dry cleaning gives Google Now the context to push a card allowing users to schedule a reminder to pick up dry cleaning. And users can tap on a word or name in-app and Now on Tap will serve Google search results.
Updates to Google Now
Google announced updates to Google Now, based on the idea that, as Aparna Chennapragada, director of Google Now, put it, “Your smartphone ought to be smarter.” It should, according to Chennapragada, be able to tell you the time of the last train home, an open house in your neighborhood, and where you parked your car. Google Now understands 100 million places, and Google is now working on a pilot program with over 100 partners to feed information into Google Now. And there are other little updates, letting you do things like instantly reorder groceries from Instacart or play Pandora on your commute.
Project Brillo, Weave, and the Internet of Things
Project Brillo is Google’s new underlying OS for the internet of things. It’s based on Android, and supports Wi-Fi and low energy Bluetooth. It runs with a minimal footprint and has minimal system requirements. Launched alongside it, Weave, a communications software that allows different devices on the internet of things to talk to each other.