Except something rather weird happened this year. For some reason, Google spent two hours talking about a few things and left a lot of really important stuff unsaid.
As such, here's the INQ top 10 announcements that got bumped from the I/O keynote to a footnote or out of the main speech altogether.
1. There is going to be a Google-branded Daydream VR headset
For some reason, despite talking about its new VR platform for several minutes, Google failed to mention that it will build a headset of its own. Details are sketchy, but we thought that was quite important.
2. The Google Play store is coming to Chromebooks
We're baffled as to why this wasn't deemed worthy of mention. Starting slowly with a few key models, the entire Android app ecosystem is going to roll out to users of Chrome OS-powered machines. Some older models won't get it at all, but most will eventually have access to everything and it's a bit of a game changer. Just think of the gaming potential alone. It's worth noting that one of the machines not getting it is the original Pixel. If you spent a grand on that, you're going to be pretty pissed off.
3. Android Pay has rolled out in the UK
Yes! We knew this but you would think it was worth a proper mention given that it was the first expansion outside the US and the first step on the road to digital wallets becoming the norm. The UK was chosen apparently because contactless is already so embedded in our psyche. Like The Great British Bake Off and queuing.
4. Android TV isn't dead
As well as getting picture-in-picture and an official Spotify app for the first time, the not-yet-meeting-its-potential TV platform is also being taken on by Turkish OEM giant Vestel. This means that a lot of brands for which Vestel makes TVs will also get Android TV soon. We've had a play with the reference model. It's lush.
5. Next week will reveal the future of open source
OK, they were never going to mention this one, but it's worth pointing out that the jury is out for the weekend in the case between Oracle and Google over Android's use of Java APIs. If the case goes against Google, it could cost the firm billions and change the landscape of open source forever.
6. Google is making its own chips
Holy frijoles. This is quite important. The firm's Go-beating, Google Assistant-powering AI platform runs on bespoke chips called the Tensor Processing Unit, which got a passing mention at the keynote but not enough to really explain what it is and what it's going to do to the industry. For a start, it's going to freeze out Intel, Nvidia, AMD and anyone else that might have hoped to get the contract worth billions.
7. Android apps are getting contextual
As well as getting smarter, and being available on-demand without downloading, Android apps are also going to be able to open automatically just through concept. Several launchers have experimented with this approach, but this is Google using its built-in intelligence to help you decide what app you need at what moment. Like most of this predictive stuff, it sounds ghastly.
8. The Google messaging ecosystem is a mess
After blabbering on for ages about Allo and Duo, Google's intrusive and, in some cases, creepy new messaging apps, there wasn't room on the stage to talk about Spaces, the group curation app that launched the previous week. Nor was there mention of Google+, which we have to wonder is even still a thing. But most importantly, what does all this mean for Hangouts? We're told nothing. It'll carry on. In which case how much more complicated do you want to make things, Google?
9. You can share your apps with the family
A long time coming this one. Soon you'll be able to create family groups for your apps and share them. It makes sense, especially given the new form factors like Google Home and Android TV where only one account is logged in but several people will need access. Full details are yet to be announced, but it's brilliant news for consumers given that the firm already does it with Google Play Music to great effect. How it will affect developers is another matter, as potential purchase opportunities in the store will drop by 2.4 children.
10. And what about ...
So many products didn't get mentioned at all. Android Auto: barely a whisper. Google Keep: we'd be worried at the next 'sunsetting event'. Google for Work: Google's enterprise potential is snatching business from Microsoft right left and centre. It might have been nice to have a quick update even though it's not core to I/O. Google Classroom: the darling of last year's I/O got barely a whisper. Google Maps: no big leaps here either. Chrome Browser: nada. We could go on, and we're sure some stuff will just keep ticking over, but there are a lot of gaps here.
So that's our guide. There's probably even more we've missed and maybe the odd surprise still to come. But overall, the I/O keynote felt fairly uneven this year and the products on which the firm chose to concentrate ... well, they weren't all that. The cool stuff isn't always the innovation. It's what you're using already getting better, and hopefully we've redressed the balance a bit. µ
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