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Google I/O 2016: There was nothing new, or exciting about this keynote

Google I/O 2016’s keynote, which lasted for exactly two hours had very little to get excited about, because frankly there was nothing new on offer.

Written by Karthekayan Iyer | Updated: May 19, 2016 1:13:13 pm
Google IO, Google I/O 2016, Google IO Keynote, Google IO top announcements, Sundar Pichai, Google Allo, Google Duo, Google DayDream, Google VR, Google Android N, Android N, Google IO news, IO 2016, technology, technology news Google I/0 2016: Google CEO Sundar Pichai addressing the opening keynote at the annual developer conference. (Source: AP)

Google I/O 2016, for me, had only one key takeaway — the search giant has turned vulnerable and is conceding to industry demands. Google I/O 2016’s keynote, which lasted for exactly two hours, had very little to get excited about, because frankly there was nothing new on offer.

Google I/O 2016 was definitely the most boring one in recent times, and CEO Sundar Pichai looked unrehearsed during his keynote address. He started by talking about I/O’s significance and company’s values since its start under Larry Page and Sergey Brin.

But the company’s announcements were less exciting, and it looked like the company was doing something to compete with the industry, rather than compel the industry to do something.

The first big announcement was Google Assistant, a smart assistant that uses conversational UI for interaction, and relies on natural learning for smart replies. Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana use similar algorithms for their conversation-based smart assistants.

Recently, Siri co-founders announced Viv, a smart assistant that deploys natural learning mechanism to get things done with the help of voice. Google Assistant seems to follow these concepts and sex it up with its own machine learning tools.

Next up it was Google Home, a wireless speaker with Google Assistant built-in. Yes, you have heard it before; Amazon Echo with Alexa built-in. In fact, Google was kind enough to acknowledge Amazon for its inroads in natural learning, and smart-assistant development. So what’s new here, Google?

Google then announced two new messaging apps – Allo and Duo. Basically Allo is a Snapchat competitor, while Duo is a FaceTime competitor. Again two new apps to take on the two well-conceived apps.

Interestingly, Allo uses Google Assistant too and offers smart replies and allows users to annotate their photos like Snapchat. Ok Google, that is definitely not something new.

Both Google Allo and Duo are coming to Android and iOS later this year, but will it make a dent in say WhatsApp or Messenger’s popularity? Unlikely.

Google then shifted gears to Android N, the next phase of search giant’s mobile operating system. Android N, which was released as an early preview early this year, finally brings split screen multitasking and support for Unicode-9 emojis.

Android N’s hidden gem is the new VR mode. Google has developed a new VR platform called Daydream, a reference platform for OEMs to build their VR devices. It also showcased a reference VR headset complete with a controller that looked exactly like Gear VR.

Another announcement was Android Wear 2.0 which brings support for standalone apps and native keyboard to Android wearables.

So here is everything Google announced:

Google Assistant – Siri, Viv competitor
Google Home – Amazon Echo competitor
Google Allo – Snapchat competitor
Google Duo – FaceTime competitor
Android VR – Oculus competitor

For the first time in several years, Google spent two hours to announce how it plans to compete with various leading brands and their services. It clearly outlines that Google has turned vulnerable and is now conceding to market demands.

Also see: Google I/O 2016 highlights: Home speaker, Android VR, Android Wear 2.0, Google Cloud Platform

Read more: Google I/O 2016: Smart-home speaker, VR system, chat service announced

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