Google kicked off its Google I/O developer conference today with the usual keynote address where executives showed off a number of upcoming hardware, software and developer tool products. It started off with its new voice controlled Siri competitor— Google Assistant— which also ties into its upcoming Amazon Echo-like device for the home called Google Home.
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The company then demoed a brand new messaging app called Allo, and a new video messaging app companion called Duo, both of which will be coming to iOS devices. The new Allo app will be the first place that users will get to experience the new Google Assistant features that the company plans on bringing to several devices across platforms including to vehicles through Android Auto. And it highlighted a focus on security for Allo with an “incognito mode” like its Chrome browser, while giving a demo and talking up reliability of video calls for the Duo app.
Head below for our roundup of everything announced courtesy of our sister site 9to5Google, and keep checking back for more as the event unfolds.
Google started off with a demo of its new Assistant feature, a Siri-like personal assistant that also uses a chatbot-style messaging interface in addition to voice commands. Google gave a demo of how the assistant would respond to requests like searching for movie tickets, checking calendars, etc, and it did so mostly by showing off the feature built-in to Google search in various places, which is also what is shown in the video above for the Google App that it played on stage. But it also has plans to bring the Assistant feature to many other devices including smartwatches, vehicles, and through its new messaging app Allo…
The assistant is conversational—an ongoing two-way dialogue between you and Google that understands your world and helps you get things done. It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you.
Anyone familiar with Amazon’s Echo is already familiar with what Google is going for with its new Google Home platform. Home is a standalone Wi-Fi speaker that also lets you tap into the new Assistant feature using voice commands. You can start playing music, get directions, or check your calendar using only your voice.
And coming soon to iOS devices in addition to Android is Google’s new Allo and Duo apps. Allo is a messaging app that puts a focus on expressive emojis and built-in Assistant features, while Duo is a rather straight forward video messaging app that Google said focuses on reliability.
Allo uses phone numbers to connect users, has a smart reply feature that Google says is similar to its Inbox email app, and allows for secure messaging with an “incognito” mode. But people seem to be more interested in the inclusion of the new Assistant feature. Google says Allo will be the first place to try it. “The Google assistant in Allo understands your world, so you can ask for things like your agenda for the day, details of your flight and hotel, or photos from your last trip. And since it understands natural language patterns, you can just chat like yourself and it’ll understand what you’re saying. For example, “Is my flight delayed?” will return information about your flight status.”
One unique feature of Duo, Google’s new cross-platform video messaging app, is something it calls ‘knock knock’. The feature allows users to get a live video preview of a caller before answering.
Duo is a simple, fast one-to-one video calling app for everyone—whether you’re on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection, in New York or New Delhi. Like Allo, Duo is based on your phone number, allowing you to reach anyone in your phonebook. And its simple interface fades away when you’re in a call, so it’s just the two of you.
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Check back for more as Google continues to unveil more live on stage.