Google I/O is the company's annual developers' conference. It's meant for people who work to create things inside the Google infrastructure, but the keynote typically includes a few juicy bits that appeal to the general public. Last year we met Google Home for the first time, and there's no telling what we'll see here in 2017. So, follow along and we'll break down the important developments (get it? developers?).
User stats for 2017
When Google talks about active user counts, they don't often mess with pesky millions—they deal in billions. The company has seven different platforms with over a billion active monthly users. There are also a handful of other stats that stood out.
- Android is now active on more than two billion devices
- Google Maps users navigate more than a billion kilometers every day
- Google Docs has 800 million monthly users with 3 billion new objects added per day
- Google Photo has 500 million active users uploading 1.2 billion photos per day
- YouTube serves more than a billion hours of video every day
That's a lot.
Google Lens is augmented reality vision through a smartphone
Google claims that its image recognition tech has gotten very good, so good in fact that it's "better than humans." Google Lens can look out into the world, understand what you're looking at, and take action. Google Lens can recognize objects and do visual search to accomplish things like identify flowers and even log into a Wi-Fi network after taking a photo of the login information. (Yay!) You can look around the street, and it will give you ratings and search results regarding businesses in the area.
Google Assistant is now on the iPhone, and pretty much every other device in the Internet of Things
Rumors had been flying about Google Assistant coming to iPhone and now the announcement is official. In addition to that, Google is announcing a whole array of new smart home partners, including GE, Whirlpool, and LG. The goal really does seem to have every piece of electronics listening for your commands. Google Assistant is already on 100 million devices and it seems like the plan is to grow that number by quite a lot by the time I/O comes around next year.
Google Home can now offer visual responses via smartphone or TV screen
The Google Home speaker can now throw information directly to your phone on both Android and iOS. So, if you ask for directions, it can send them to your mobile device. It also works on a TV via the Chromecast. When you make a request, it will show visual responses on screen. It's a personalized experience based on linked accounts for whomever asks.
More new Google Home features added:
Google Home Proactive Assistance: It sees things in your calendar and sends alerts that might affect you, like if traffic might make you late or a flight is delayed.
Hands-Free Calling: Ask Google Assistant to make a call and you can dial any US or Canada phone for free. You can link your number to the Google assistant and it'll also be linked to your accounts, so multiple people can use it in the house.
Spotify free music service will now work on Google Home, as well as Sound Cloud and Deezer.
Bluetooth support coming to all existing Google Home devices, so you can beam music from your iPhone, for example, to the Home device
Google Photos will now nag you to share your photos with friends
Google has been doing a good job organizing photos via AI since Google Photos debuted, but now it wants to help share them. It will recognize if you haven't shared a photo and then suggest you do so with people who appear in them. The new Shared Library feature also lets you automatically share images with people, like a spouse, significant other, or best friend. So, if you want to share all your photos of your kids with your partner, you can do so automatically. That will cut down on passive aggressive "reminders."
360-degree video is coming to the TV experience on YouTube
YouTube's TV watching usership is up 90 percent from last year, which means more people are watching the content from the couch. While VR is still clearly the preferred way to experience 360 content, it's at least available on the big screen now. This includes live 360 videos that are broadcast from events. You can go to Coachella and look around at all the Coachella people.