Last week, Google held their annual developer conference, Google IO 2014, where they announced major updates for all products including Google Cloud, Android and Chrome.
This year, it’s evident Google is slowly but surely making all our dumb things smart, from cars to TVs. They previewed loads of products but below are a few key areas that they focused on:
- AndroidOne initiative, get the next 5 billion online
- Android Wear
- Android Auto
- Android TV & Chromecast
- Chrome OS gets closer to android
- Enterprise gets a boost
- Google Fit
To give you an idea of the scale and reach Android has to date, Google started the presentation with the following stats:
- 30 day active users are now 1 billion up from 530 million in 2013
- 20B text messages are sent every day
- 93m selfies per day (31 million are apparently duck faces)
- Users take approximately 1.5 trillion steps per day
- Phones are checked a total of 100B a day
- 62% of all tablet shipments are now Android (not included forks of android like the Amazon Kindle’s)
- On YouTube 28% of all engagement last year was on Android tablets, it has now grown to 42% in 2014
- App installs went up 236%
Overall, Google has seen a meteoric rise of the Android ecosystem and this years IO was all about getting Android into even more areas of your life.
Let’s look at how Google’s new products will probably impact brands.
Earlier this year, Google announced Android Wear which would be launching with 2 devices, the LG G watch and the Moto 360. Last week, we discovered a little more about the OS and that Samsung would also be entering the Wear family with the Galaxy Live. This was such a big focus for the company that every executive was wearing one of the devices and they even gave out the watches to all attendees at the end of the keynote.
The important thing about Android Wear is it’s potential to dominate the smart watch market very quickly, considering it works so closely with the Android Smartphone OS.
Now applications can be controlled and notified directly from a customer’s watch. For example, instead of showing a voucher via your smartphone you raise your wrist and scan the using your smartwatch. You’ll see forward-thinking brands like Starbucks bringing payment to the your Android Wear watch.
Android Auto is Google's response to Apple’s Carplay, an OS that allows you to connect and control your car and entertainment system using your phone.
After the keynote, Audi demonstrated Android Auto in an A3 where attendees sat and saw how it worked. My favorite part of Android Auto is all your contacts and favorite places are projected from your phone, meaning that your maps will be powered by Google Maps--no more relying on the car’s GPS program!
Brands will be able to create experiences for their customers inside a car. Currently companies like MLB.com, Pocket Cast and Spotify have already created apps for Android Auto.
And lastly, Android Auto allows you to control and find information using Google’s “best-in-class” voice recognition.
With Apple practically eating their lunch in the enterprise space, there was some big stuff in the area of enterprise which Google really did have to address.
Android OS and Google Drive
Two of the biggest updates were to Android OS and Google Drive. Android will now support Android for Work which allows Android phones to seamlessly bring together a user’s business and personal apps, meaning no need for two phones!
Google also made a massive move by incorporating Samsung Knox software into the Android system so that it can be adopted and used by all manufactures. Big news since Android has been getting a bit of flack around security for big businesses, but with this update however Android suddenly gains a fair about of gravitas.
Google Drive will now be able to edit Microsoft Office documents directly within Drive,meaning that you can do all your work on a Chromebook. A direct blow to Microsoft as Google takes more marketshare away from Office. You can now have users collaborate within a Word doc all from Drive, making collaborative work far easier especially if you are working in a company that already uses Google Apps.
Google Fit is a platform that developers will be able hook into, with the permission of the user. Not only that, but apps can view that data and act upon it. For example, Nike could now offer you a discount on a pair of shoes after recognising that you are running a lot, even if you don't use the Nike+ app for your running.
Because Google Fit uses personal data of the user, they have complete control over what and who has access to that data; they could even completely delete the data if they wished.
This adds up to applications being able to better understand their users and start to deliver extremely more personalised experiences.
Interestingly there was nothing on the smart home so it seems that the only news in that area was Nest opening up their api for developers earlier in the week.
This is of course a very cut down version of the 3 hours that the Google keynote went on for and more is being discovered as the conference goes on. If you want to read more about what happened at IO here is a link to The Verge where the did a complete round up everything that was announced.