Last night, at the Google I/O Conference, we got a first look at the next big Android update. Google detailed the new features that are going to be made available with Android M. While we still don’t know if the company named it Android Marshmallow or Android Malpua, Google did however, announce the many changes we’re going to see this year.
We’ve already spoken about all the major announcements, we’re now bringing the spotlight to Android M. Are you wondering what sets it apart from Lollipop? Check out the list below.
Clearer Security Permissions
When you launch a newly downloaded app, do the permissions you’re ‘Accepting’ ever worry you? To make things simpler for users, Google has removed that step and instead you’re now going to be asked for a permission, when you choose to use a particular feature within an app. For example, if you’re using WhatsApp and you would like to send a picture directly from the chat box, a pop-up will appear requesting WhatsApp to access your camera.
So how this essentially helps you is that instead of hurriedly accepting the permissions on downloading an app, this way, you know exactly the functions a particular app has access to. This change is very similar to the way iOS handles their app permissions.
Now on Tap
The company has taken Google Now one step further with ‘Now on Tap’. This feature is not just available with a single tap of a button, it can now be launched while you’re viewing a particular webpage or an app. For example, if you’re viewing a friend’s Facebook profile, you can use Now on Tap to find out more details about the person. It may then link you to the person’s Twitter and Instagram profile.
Another quick example, if you’re discussing a restaurant with a friend via chat, Now on Tap can give you details about the eatery. All in all, it can be launched to give context to anything you’re doing – without having to leave an app.
‘Doze’ to Save your Battery
With the new feature ‘Doze’, Android gives your phone the ability to detect if the smartphone has been left unattended for a while. In which case, M will reduce the background activity, giving the phone longer battery life.
At the conference Google also announced Android Pay. Like every other mobile payment system, it will enable Android users to simply and securely use their Android phones to pay in stores or for Android Pay partner apps. Google has taken this one step ahead, it has added useful fingerprint support which allows users to confirm a purchase with their fingerprint. The newly-added fingerprint support can also be used to unlock devices. The company promises that it works consistently across a range of devices and sensors.
This is only the first look at the latest version of Android. At the conference, Google stressed upon the fact that the company will continue to work on developing it further. Android M is expected to release later this year.
Google kicked off its annual developers’ conference, the 2015 I/O yesterday in San Francisco, California. As anticipated, the search engine giant threw light on the much-awaited version of Android OS, disclosing functions of Android M in fine detail. Along with some anticipated features like app permissions, Photo app, Android Pay; there are many more additions to the Google ecosystem.
Here are all the important announcements by the company:
1. App Permissions
Google has tweaked Android M to terminate the traditional way of gaining app permissions. Unlike the current practice, users can permit apps to use a particular function and can also revoke its use. Google has defined eight parameters to give apps permission. These include camera, location, contacts, calendar and few more. With Android M, users can now easily understand the different parameters an app is accessing.
2. Resolved Battery Issue
With Android Lollipop, Battery drain was one of the major issues that ticked off Android users to a large extent. The tech giant has introduced a new feature that helps the phone battery run for an extended period of time. Dubbed as Doze, the feature uses motion detection to check if the smartphone is left unattended for a while. The screen then automatically goes to sleep, reducing the background activity; hence giving the phone a longer battery life.
3. Chrome Custom Tabs to Switch Between Apps
Android M comes with an interesting feature called Chrome Custom Tabs that appear like an in-app Chrome browser. It loads pages faster, filling vital information like email and password. Another important function is that it allows developers to add custom features on top of the apps. For example, Twitter can provide a tweet on any app, which will direct the user to the Twitter app loading it automatically. It allows for quick movements between two applications.
4. New Google Photos App
Google Photo app is a refurbished app with an ability to back up photos and videos, and that too free of cost. However, there is a restriction on their size, but you can upload as many as you wish. These images can be segregated on the basis of location, people, time interval and more. Besides the new app, some interface tools were also introduced for the purpose of sharing and making collages and turning them into movies. As per the company, the app is now available on Android, iOS and web.
5. Maps and Chrome Go Offline
This new feature by Google will help internet users access its products in every corner of the world. A dedicated search results page is built for faster loading by showing fewer images. Users will be able to save web pages offline just like YouTube videos. Along with that, Google Maps has been given a push offline where users can access a bunch of features with no internet connectivity like reviews and information, and give turn-by-turn directions offline. The feature will work in areas with poor internet connectivity.
6. Revamped Android Wear
Android Wear has been updated with a slew of new apps and features. There will be a convenient option to call Uber cabs now. Just like the always-on screen, apps will also remain on always showing information in black and white mode, taking care of the battery. Navigating through Google Maps to get constant direction status and many more features that requires the screen to be on, will be a lot easier. A new app launcher is inculcated as well, along with a feature to convert drawings to emojis.
7. Smart Home
Another expected update was the Smart Home launched along with an operating system Project Brillo and a communication system Weave. Brillo is a trimmed down version of Android, while the latter is Google’s IoT that allows devices to communicate with each other. Both the softwares work together to make your homes truly smart homes. Once both Brillo and Weave are installed on the smart devices, Weave can command devices like refrigerators, ovens, lift bulbs, door locks, etc. The system has build-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth support.
8. HBO Now on Android
Far from our anticipation, Google announced the arrival of the streaming-only service HBO Now on Android and Chromecast. There is no definite time of its launch on the platform, but speculations are rife about it coming in June this year. Surprisingly, there are no fresh Chromecast or Android TV this time.
9. Redesigned Google Cardboard
Seeing the current trends of bigger phones, the tech major decided to reconstruct its affordable VR headset, Google Cardboard. The new version of Google Cardboard can hold phones with six inch displays. A cardboard button will appear on the new version instead of the original magnet clicker that is said to work with any phone. Google has launched a dedicated Cardboard app, along with a virtual reality education tool Expeditions for educational purpose. The bigger VR headset can be acquired through Google’s partners.
10. Google VR Camera Rig
The company seems to have given a deeper thought to the recently explored virtual reality domain. VR headsets have been available for quite a while, but the content for them was missing. Google in partnership with GoPro has built a VR camera rig, Jump, that is a 16-camera array designed to shoot 3D VR content. The VR camera rig will shoot content and the assembler of Google will weave them together figuring out the depth of different images. It can build content for the VR headsets as well as video-sharing websites like YouTube.