Google (GOOGL) is busy inventing your future.
And judging by the company’s new products and initiatives, it hopes to be as disruptive as a modern-day “Big Bang.”
But if you think that its ultra-futuristic inventions won’t be around for many years yet… you’re dead wrong.
At the company’s annual I/O conference for Android and other developers last week, Google showed that the future is happening today by introducing some remarkable new innovations that are already available.
Let’s dig in…
Innovation #1: Welcome to “Brillo”
What’s the only thing better than the internet?
Why, the internet of everything, of course!
At Wall Street Daily, we’ve already covered the Internet of Things (IoT) pretty extensively as one of today’s fastest-growing tech trends. And Google is right in the mix here.
With Google specifically, I noted how the company is centering its ambitions on the Nest smart thermostat.
But Google just gave its universe a big bang!
It’s making the creation of IoT devices easy for developers by designing a new operating system called “Brillo.”
Brillo is essentially a scrubbed-down version of its Android system, which is layered on top of the existing Android platform. The communications language behind Brillo will be called Weave – and between the two new creations, Google will put IoT devices within reach of anyone who currently develops Android products.
Think about that: Thousands, if not millions, of developers and companies around the world will now have a brand-new, easy platform to create their IoT-enabled products.
The other “universes” I mentioned will have their uses… but this one is as big a kick-start to the IoT revolution as can be imagined.
Innovation #2: Not Just Wearables… Smarter Wearables
It’s significantly upgraded the Android software that runs its own Android Wear smartwatch product. Namely, it will have the ability to be “always on” in the background, but without draining the battery, so it won’t switch off while the wearer is still using it.
In addition, the fitness function won’t just measure your steps and heart rate, it will also be able to tell when you’re doing common exercises like sit-ups, push-ups, and squats! It even has a function where you can make a stick drawing and the device will turn it into an emoji for you to send.
Android Wear offers a variety of devices, over 1,500 watch faces, and there are now over 4,000 apps specifically for the Wear. The smartwatch war with Apple just got more intense.
Google’s next announcement also cranked up the stakes in another battle with Apple – virtual personal assistants…
Innovation #3: Google Now… And Forever
By now, I’m sure you’re familiar with Siri, Apple’s virtual assistant – always on call to answer your burning questions.
Well, Google has its own version – Google Now.
If you haven’t used Google Now, it’s pretty similar. You can ask it a range of things – like when your favorite baseball team is playing next, or what movies are playing near you in the next hour.
You can also set reminders, put entries in your calendar, look up contact information, place a phone call, or write a text or email.
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But the new version of Google Now gets a whole lot smarter.
For one thing, it’s learning to put your questions in context. So for example, if you have a particular song playing and ask Google Now, “Who is that?” it will guess that you’re asking who the artist or band is.
It will also work with your apps now. So if you’re watching a baseball game on the ESPN app and ask Google Now a question about the teams or players, you’ll get an answer. Or if you have the OpenTable (OPEN) restaurant reservation app, you can tell Google Now that you want restaurant reservations for your anniversary, and it will figure out when that is, remember your favorite restaurant, and open the app for you to confirm a reservation with one click.
While we often take this convenience for granted these days, adding context to the equation is actually an amazing programming feat.
Understanding context is one of the things that demarks intelligence, and Google’s achievements here will have incredible ramifications far beyond making it easier for you to call a cab. In the future, you can expect to see Google’s scientists developing artificial intelligence based on the context work they’ve done for Google Now.
Now, here’s a development that probably won’t get much mainstream press because it’s not as “sexy” or headline-grabbing as Google’s other developments… but one that has a profound effect on the world…
Innovation #4: Making the Internet of Everything Useful for Everyone
Google is working to make it easier for people in the poorest parts of the world to benefit from the internet. How?
Well, with better language translations, the ability to save more content offline, and by shrinking web pages in areas with slow internet connections, Google can provide better access to vital information, as well as the lowest-cost products and services.
While these changes aren’t needed in developed areas – where people demand a robust experience with all available bandwidth – it’s critical to poverty-stricken people in remote villages who might be sharing a single internet connection, or whose electricity supply is poor. For them, the ability to access the basics of the internet can be truly life-changing.
Google has often been accused – sometimes justly – of violating its famous stricture to “don’t be evil.” But in this case, the company is doing enormous good for a financial payoff that could be decades into the future… or which might never come at all.
The Future Is Coming
Google also announced some other developments at I/O. For example…
- The new version of Android will give smartphones and tablets a longer battery life.
- Google Chrome will now work inside mobile apps.
- Fingerprint recognition will now be standardized.
- It’s changing how you give permission to apps, in order to increase your privacy controls.
- It’s retooled how photos are stored. Free unlimited storage forever… starting now! I’ve personally moved a few thousand photos over to Google Photos to see what the company’s new context engine and image recognition technology can do here.
- It’s also redesigning how Android Pay Perhaps this will finally help ignite the mobile payments revolution we’ve been waiting for.
With its new products and tools for app developers, Google has firmed up its lead over Apple and all but destroyed any chance for Windows Mobile or other mobile operating systems to gain traction.
Clearly, Google understands that in this fast-changing world, a company should never rest. You either innovate or die. And ultimately, that’s great for you as a consumer.
To living and investing in the future,