As If Google Wasn't Everywhere Already

By Lori Castle, Editor in Chief — June 26, 2014

Android everywhere sums up the news from the 7th annual Google I/O developer conference, which started on June 25. According to Sundar Pichai, SVP, Android, Chrome & Apps, who opened the event, there are about 6,000 developers in attendance and millions more who watched the livestream. 
He recapped his talk in a blog post. "There are now one billion of you around the world who use an Android device. One billion. We estimate that’s more than 20 billion text messages sent every day. 1.5 trillion steps taken with an Android. And more importantly, a roughly estimated 93M selfies."
Google previewed its latest Android release—Android L—calling it "our most ambitious yet."  It includes 5,000 new APIs and a new, consistent design approach—"material design"—which will enable apps to run across devices. Google acquired Android in 2005 amid speculation that it would be entering the mobile phone market. That led to the Open Handset Alliance, the first Android phone and to the billions of today.
More Screens
Alas, it's time to move on from just the phone. "Mobile first" has become the buzz word for the enterprise, but many (including Google) would argue that's not enough anymore.
It's about multi-screens and user experience.
Pichai wrote, "But, beyond the mobile phone, many of us are increasingly surrounded by a range of screens throughout the day—at home, at work, in the car, or even on our wrist. So, we got to thinking: how do we invest more in our two popular, open platforms—Android and Chrome—to make it easier for you to easily and intuitively move from your phone, tablet, laptop to your TV, car or even your watch?"
To that end, he offered highlights from day one, and how Google plans to make that happen.
On the Wrist
With the amount of times people check their phones for the time, emails, texts etc., Google believes it takes too much time. People should be free to handle "more important things."
Android Wear seeks to solve that problem; it extends Android apps to the wrist. "You get the information you need, quickly at a glance—just like you’re used to doing with your watch. Just say 'Ok Google' to ask questions or to get stuff done. Get alerted when it's time to leave for dinner. Call a cab to take you there. See the traffic on the way. Text a friend once you're seated. It’s all right there, on your wrist, easy to see, right when you want it," noted Pichai.
The available devices announced included an LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live; Moto 360 from Motorola is coming soon. 
In the Car
How do you stay safely connected while driving, where even a turn of the wrist could be a hazard? Through Android Auto of course.
Pichai explained, "Just connect your Android phone to a car with Android Auto, and you’ll have what you need at your fingertips such as turn-by-turn navigation from Google Maps, your curated playlists and radio stations through Play Music, simple-to-use voice search, and reminders from Google Now."
Expect to see this in cars this year.
In the Living Room
Even though the couch is stationary, the living room is not and Google's "mobile" experience already extends there. Last summer the company launched Chromecast, and yesterday announced being on the same WiFi network; a customizable homescreen; and casting from and Android phone or tablet screen directly to the TV.
What else is new? Android TV. This brings Android apps and games to the living room. "Android is baked directly into your TV-watching experience, through a set-top box or as part of your TV. You can use voice search to find a live TV show, a good flick from Google Play, or a music video on YouTube. Plus, because it’s Android, you’ll be able to play your favorite Android games, reimagined for TV and with a gamepad. Android TV, which, like Chromecast, supports Google Cast technology, will ship with products from a range of consumer electronics companies later this year," wrote Pichai.
Partners here will include Sony and Sharp.
Android One
Realizing that the "next billion" still don't have smartphone access, Google created the Android One initiative, "to address the mobile computing needs of those in emerging markets." This will include affordable phones and affordable plans.
Pichai's entire (3 hour) keynote is available here.


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