Apple and Microsoft made their big announcements for the year, and this week it was Google’s turn.
Google I/O in San Francisco showed us the key new developments in Google products from Android to Google+. Here’s what we’ve learned so far:
Google Glass ready in 2014, but it will cost you
After developers have had a chance to mess around with the Explorer Edition, consumers will be able to get their hands on Google Glass in 2014. But the cost may be steep.
Eligible Google IO 2012 attendees placed pre-orders for Project Glass headset for the price of $1,500.
That price is likely inflated due to the prototype stage and developer tools. However, by the time the glasses are market ready, they could still cost the consumer a pretty penny.
- Read more about the Google Glass release plans.
Chrome is the most popular browser
During the second day of the Google IO 2012 developers conference, Google’s VP of Chrome and Apps Sundar Pichai, boasted that Chrome is now the most popular browser in the world.
In fact, Pichai added that Google Chrome is up to 310 million active users, which is a significant increase from the 160 million users from last year.
"Chrome was built for a better web, but we want to make sure Chrome works as a layer for your personalized web, " said Pichai. "It works consistently and seamlessly across all of your devices."
Chrome will be available for the iPhone and iPad
It was also announced that a universal app for iOS 4.3 or later, the free Google Chrome app will be available sometime on June 28 through the App Store.
The universal app works equally well on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad.
- Read more about the Chrome for iPad, iPhone announcement from Google IO 2012
Chromebook, Chromebox now available
Good news if you were waiting to get your hands on the new Series 5 Chromebook and Series 3 Chromebox. Both devices are now available at Best Buy stores all over the U.S.
- Read more about the Chromebook, Chromebox announcement from Google IO 2012
Google announces Android 4.1 Jelly Bean
Android Jelly Bean, aka Android 4.1, is the latest version of Google’s Android operating system for smartphones and tablets. FYI: Jelly Bean is Android 4.1.
Boasting a new predictive keyboard Jelly Bean will now offer offline voice typing. Before users had to be online to do that. Sporting a new camera app as well as expansive notifications Jelly Bean will be released to the open source community in mid July and the SDK is currently available at developer.android.com.
- Read more about the Jelly Bean announcement from Google IO 2012
- Hands on: Android 4.1 review
Google Nexus 7 tablet breaks cover
Rumours of a Google Nexus 7 tablet turned out to be true.
Google unveiled the seven-inch Tegra 3 tablet running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean.
The Google Nexus 7 is also designed to work seamlessly with the new Google Play store for apps, videos and music.
Designed to be a "serious gaming device," Google hopes that game developers will take full advantage of the device’s NVIDIA Tegra 3 chipset with its quadcore CPU and 12 core GPU.
The Google Nexus 7 tablet will start at $199 and it will come with a $25 coupon you can use at the Google Play store.
- Read more about the Nexus 7 announcement from Google IO 2012
- Hands on: Google Nexus 7 review
Google Now a better Siri?
Meet Google Now. It’s essentially Google’s version of Siri, a virtual personal assistant that enables you to do pretty much anything by asking rather than typing or tapping.
What’s more, Google Now will learn things about its user in order to serve up more relevant information.
For example, it can reroute a user’s commute if it realizes there’s going to be traffic. This is done automatically.
"When you have a calendar event, Google Now will help you get there on time," Barra said.
It’s relies heavily on Google’s Knowledge Graph, which attempts to understand what you’re actually looking for rather than just scanning search criteria, and should benefit from Google’s 2010 acquisition of voice specialists Phonetic Arts for its voice output.
Voice control is no gimmick: on iOS, Siri takes Google out of search and goes directly to specialists (such as Yelp for reviews, Rotten Tomatoes for movies and so on). If the future of search is voice controlled, Google wants to be the ear you yell into – and that could mean annoying partners such as LG and Samsung, who have their own voice offerings.
- Read more about the Google Now announcement from Google IO 2012
Google’s glasses made an appearance
Google Cofounder Sergey Brin, pulled a Kanye West, and interrupted a presentation to show off Google Glasses. In fact, the presentation started off with the most extreme demo ever. A fellow Googler peformed a tandem sky dive wearing Google Glasses while signed into a Google+ hangout.
- Read more about the Google Glasses presentation from Google IO 2012.
Media streaming with the Nexus Q
Google announced the Nexus Q – an Android-powered sphere built for the home that offers media streaming and social networking features – at Google IO 2012.
Described as a "small Android-powered computer," the Nexus Q is a nearly spherical device that ties in with Android devices for cloud streaming of Google media content from Android 4.1 Jelly Bean devices.
- Read more about the Nexus Q announcement from Google IO 2012
- Hands on: Google Nexus Q review
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