I/O Summary & Developments

There were a lot of new announcements and updates at Google’s developer conference (known as I/O) this year, so to make it easier for you, we’ve picked out the most important new mobile features and changes for Google users.

Android M is Google’s new operating system which supports a fingerprint reader and, you’ll be glad to hear, longer battery life for mobile devices. Google has also stepped up the functionality and integration of Google Now with the preinstalled apps on Android. This means users will be able to access Google recommendations and search results within a separate app. With around an 80% share of the worldwide smartphone market, Android M will be widely anticipated by the billion plus users all over the world are excited to see the new features. Google hasn’t announced a release date for the new OS, although rumors are that the update will be towards the end of the summer or in early autumn, around the same time as we believe Apple will release the latest overhaul of iOS.

Android Pay Services are ready to replace Google’s wallet app on your smartphone.

The service will offer in-app and tap-to-pay purchases as well as in-store payments in an effort to streamline the payment experience. Customers will be able to set up tabs at their favourite stores and pay via Google before leaving with their purchases. We’ve not been told much more about Android Pay Services but you can have a look at it in action here! – http://ow.ly/OryNj

Google Apps for Work didn’t feature as much as some other Google services but there were still a lot of great new updates for Apps users announced as well. Here’s a quick round-up:

Google Inbox is now available for everyone. You no longer need to wait for your desperately sought-after invitation, you can actually try it out right now if you’re struggling to wait any longer. The app allows you to create email signatures, but it only supports text at the moment. Some other features that are making their way over from Gmail include Undo Send and the ability to select what happens to your messages when marked as “done”, whether they’ll be archived or deleted etc. Reminders are also now suggested based on the contents of your email, such as if you receive a message regarding a lunch meeting, Inbox can suggest a reminder for the specified date and time.

Photos, previously part of Google+, split off into its very own shiny new app. Aimed to be used as your primary photo gallery, it’s link with Google Drive is proving to be a great selling point as they’re offering us all unlimited (is that enough for you?) storage within Photos. You can access all of the photos stored in here from anywhere, on any device with an internet connection. There is now even a section within Drive’s menu which lets you access them all simply and securely. The app is available on iOS, Android, via internet browser, and has some great new features such as auto-organisation, shareable links to photo collections and the ability to detect duplicate versions of your photos so you can decide which ones to keep.

Google Keep has some new features added in that’ll make sure you keep it pinned to your home screen (or consider adding it there). There are now repeating reminders available so that you can keep track of everything going on, such as paying expenses at the end of each month. You can also set up location-based reminders so that you remember to pick up some flowers for that special someone when walking nearby their favourite florist.

Maps can now be saved for offline navigation, with turn-by-turn direction, and search so that you can save your precious data and not have to worry about network connection quality to get around. Although only partially linked to Maps, we think it’s definitely worth noting that Google’s self-driving cars will start taking test drives on public roads this year.

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