Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Google I/O 2017: everything you need to know

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Google I/O 2017, this year’s instalment of Google’s annual developer conference, is less than a day away now. It will feature a vast array of announcements from Google divisions from across the spectrum, Android being just one of them. We won’t get updates on every single Google project that’s made news or been leaked over the preceding year, and while the announcements that are made will primarily be targeted at developers, there will be plenty to keep regular folks interested too. That’s because whether you’re a dev or not, I/O is a precious sneak peek inside the sprawling Google empire and all the cool things the company is working on. And just like every year: we can’t wait.





“Everything announced at Google I/O 2016


May 21, 2016



google io 2016 6


Google I/O 2017 dates and location


Google I/O 2017 takes place between May 17-19, once again at the Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California. If you don’t know the location, it’s right next to the Googleplex, covering the amphitheatre and several outdoor car parks. Last year the event suffered some criticism due to a lack of overflow areas, adequate seating, shade and so on. We expect this year will be much better organized.


For the second time since 2013, Google I/O will be a full three-day event, with the all-important keynote kicking things off, followed a developer keynote and then breakout sessions, code labs, 1:1 time with various Google teams, product and software demos, presentations, and much more. Even though some chided Google last year for doing a “Burning Man” event with very few hands-on opportunities for the announcements made, it was still a ton of fun, and we expect this year to be no different. Just with more shade.



Google I/O 2017 – what can we expet?


For many folks, the keynote is pretty much the whole draw of the conference. After all, this is the biggest presentation and sets the stage for the whole event. This year’s keynote starts at 10 AM on May 17 and, in two hours, will cover all the major things we’ll be seeing in finer detail over the coming days (we’ll share the livestream link as soon as we know it and remember to keep an eye out for the #io17 hashtag). All the major sessions will be live streamed and later posted to YouTube so you can catch up any time you like.


What exactly do we expect to hear about during that keynote? Good question. Obviously Android O will be a big part of it, including the recently announced Project Trebel. For those that haven’t heard about it yet, Treble aims to help speed up update cycles by making it possible for device makers to directly access the hardware-specific parts of Android O. In theory, this should allow those companies to update their Android smartphones and tablets directly, without the need to go through their silicon partners first. In other words, it’s one less hoop to cross, and should result in at least a bit of a faster updating process. For more details, head here. 


Beyond Treble? Google also recently announced Android Auto is coming directly to cars. Unlike earlier solutions that kept the Android Auto experience on the phone and only linked up with a car’s infotainment system, Audi and Volvo’s will now be Android-powered themselves. We expect to hear more about these plans, and perhaps we might even learn about other potential auto makers that are aim to get onboard.


Honestly, from what we hear, while there may be a few hardware surprises (new Android Wear watches perhaps? or the rumored stand-alone VR headset?) this show is shaping up to be very software-centric with Google particularly taking an interest in pushing forward its AI efforts. One thing is sure, Google tends to be much better at keeping secrets than its OEM partners and so there is a lot about Google I/O we still don’t know about with any certainty.


Google I/O 2017 sessions – what’s on the agenda?


Google always trickles out Google I/O session details in waves. The first and second waves have already hit, with a clear focus on Firebase, Progressive Web Apps, Accelerated Mobile Pages, Google Assistant and the Mobile Web. Other common threads in the schedule include teasers for Android O to help developers get ahead of the curve in targeting their apps for the new API level, as well as updates on Android TV, Android Wear and Android Instant Apps. AR and VR are key focial points and even audio gets a special look in.


Highlights:



  • Keynote

  • Developer keynote

  • What’s New in Android

  • Mobile Web: State of the Union

  • Building Apps for the Google Assistant

  • Android Wear: What’s New



  • What’s New in Google Play

  • What’s New in Android Security

  • Home Automation with Google Assistant

  • Future of Audio and Video on the Web

  • Notifications UX: What’s New for Android O?

  • Android Apps for Chromebooks


VIEW GOOGLE I/O 2017 SESSIONS

The “What’s New in Android?” session is always high on our hit list, and not surprisingly, Android O gets a direct mention. Considering the timeline for Android O developer previews Google has already shared, we’ll likely get the second dev preview during I/O and the return of the Android Beta Program for those that like living on the tip of the Android spear. The listed streams currently available include Ads, Accessibility, Mobile Web, Firebase, Android, Google Assistant, Machine Learning and AI, VR, Design, IoT, Search and Google Play.



You can expect to hear plenty on Assistant, especially now that it has rolled out to third-party devices, in dedicated sessions called Home Automation with Google Assistant and Building Apps for the Google Assistant. Android O’s new notifications, shortcuts and launcher icons have two sessions, and we’re sure to hear more about picture-in-picture mode, peripheral support and Android O security improvements too.


The next phase of Daydream VR will be covered as well as a session on developing VR for the web via WebVR, plus it looks like we might finally get the official launch of Android apps on Chrome OS. There’s even rumors that a stand-alone Google-powered VR headset could be making an appearance at the conference — with a possible announcement during the Keynote, as mentioned above.


There’ll also be updates on Android Things, the 2017 Google Play Awards, the success of the Pixels, and much more, possibly including some new features for Google Home. We don’t see anything (yet) about Project Fi, but we’re hoping for some updates and expansion of the service.



What got announced at Google I/O 2016?


To quickly refresh your memory, the big announcements from last year’s Google I/O – some of which have very much taken over the Android discourse in the interim – included Google Assistant, Google Home, Allo and Duo, Android Instant Apps, Daydream VR, Android apps on Chrome OS, Project Ara (which got demoed and later scrapped entirely), Project Soli and Project Jacquard, Android Wear 2.0, Firebase and Android Studio 2.2, and the inaugural Google Play Awards. Android Auto was there, so was Project Loon, Android N showed up and so did Project Tango. If you want a refresher on all the Google I/O 2016 highlights just hit the link.


Google I/O 2017 tickets


As usual, Google held a glorified raffle for tickets to Google I/O 2017, with the “winners” able to purchase a ticket. This year, prices have gone up though: general admission tickets are $1,150 and academic tickets cost $375 (up from $900 and $300 respectively last year). The ticket application window ran from February 22 – 27 and the chosen few were notified via email on February 28.


The price increase could mean one of three things: a) it’s going to be an even bigger production than last year, b) the I/O “goodie bag” is making a return, or c) inflation. Google also offered developers the chance to win an all-expenses paid trip to Google I/O 2017 via its “Experiments Challenge” competition, whereby devs could create an experiment based around Android, Chrome or AI.


Don’t miss: All our Google I/O 2016 video coverage

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