Google Shows Off New Products, Services at Developer's Conference

A smart home assistant, virtual reality and more.

ByAlyssa Newcomb
May 18, 2016, 4:41 PM

— -- Google kicked off its annual developer's conference today in Mountain View, California, by showing off a suite of futuristic products and services designed to help users integrate the company's artificial intelligence systems into their everyday lives.

From an Amazon Echo competitor to a new virtual reality platform and a smart messaging app, here's a look at the highlights from the keynote today at Google I/O.

Google Home

Google unveiled its answer to Amazon's Echo today, showing off an artificially intelligent assistant for the home that can be used to do everything from ask a question to calling up video content on your television.

The uses presented by Google were just the beginning. Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management at Google, said today during the company's annual developer's conference that he expects the assistant, which appears shorter than Amazon's Echo, will be set up to allow users to do everything from ordering dinner to sending mom flowers.

Called Google Home, the assistant isn't expected to be released until later this year, according to the company. However, it made its debut early so Google could begin working with more developers on creating experiences for the device, which also serves as a Wi-Fi enabled speaker.

Run an App Without Downloading It

Google introduced Android Instant Apps, which allow users to run an app without downloading it. Simply click a link and it will take a user into the app without installing it since Google Play fetches only the pieces of the app you need right now. Instant Apps will be compatible for all Android iterations dating back to Jellybean and will roll out later this year.

Allo

Allo is a new messaging app with the ability to have a conversation with Google. For instance, you and a friend may be chatting and want restaurant recommendations. Simply invite @google and engage in natural conversation. It can also use Google's computers to predict how you may want to respond to a friend, saving you the time and energy of typing. Allo is available this summer for iOS and Android.

Duo

Duo is a new one-on-one video calling app. Its standout feature is "knock knock," which lets you see a video stream of the person calling you before you pick up.

Daydream

Daydream is a new platform for high quality mobile virtual reality that works with Android N. It will only work on compatible new phones, headsets and motion controllers that meet certain criteria for sensors and screens. Latency is also down to under 20 milliseconds. Google has also created special VR experiences on YouTube, Street View, the Google Play store, Play Movies and Google Photos that will also be available.

Google doesn't seem to be giving up on Cardboard though -- it recently updated its iOS YouTube app.

Android N

We also saw an update on Android N, which as promised includes a split-screen feature and other additions enabling productivity.

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