Google I/O 2017: Gmail Gets Smart Reply Feature on Android, iOS

Google has been working on the Smart Reply for a while, and we first got a glimpse of it with Inbox by Gmail, before seeing improved versions in Google Allo. Now, at the Google I/O 2017 Keynote address on Wednesday, CEO Sundar Pichai announced the Smart Reply is now rolling out to Gmail.

Smart Reply will suggest quick responses to your emails, and, starting Wednesday, will begin rolling out to Gmail for Android and iOS. It will roll out globally in English first, with Spanish to follow in the coming weeks. Support for more languages is coming, the company revealed.

Google I/O 2017: Gmail Gets Smart Reply Feature on Android, iOSThe Smart Reply feature utilises machine learning to adapt to the user, and gives more appropriate responses the longer you use it. Smart Reply suggests three responses based on the email you received. Once you have selected one, you can send it immediately or edit your response starting with the Smart Reply text.

Google had several other announcements to make at I/O 2017, including that Android is now on over 2 billion active devices, and that Google Photos now has over 500 million monthly active users. It also revealed a brand new tool called Google Lens, a visual recognition tool that will first make its way to Assistant and Photos before coming to other products. Another major, expected announcement was Google Assistant for iOS.

Google I/O 2017: Google Assistant Comes to iPhone, Understands Typing, and More

Google I/O 2017 saw several announcements at the Google Keynote on Wednesday. The Internet search giant primarily focused its keynote surrounding its efforts in machine learning and AI with Google Assistant taking centre stage. The Google I/O 2017 announcement about Google Assistant heading to the iPhone was expected, and the Vice President of Engineering, Scott Hoffman, took to the stage to announce Assistant is indeed coming to to Apple’s iOS platform.

Assistant’s integration with Apple’s iPhone can be seen as somewhat counterproductive to Apple’s effort with its own AI, Siri. But bringing Assistant to the iPhone as of now seems to be mostly limited to Google’s own productivity apps available on the App Store.

‘The Google Assistant’ for iOS is now available via the App Store, and compatible with iOS devices running iOS 9.1 and above. Unfortunately, at launch, it’s only in the US. The feature list reveals it is about as powerful as Siri, but not as powerful as Google Assistant on Android. It can make quick phone calls, send text messages, send emails, set reminders, set calendar events, play music, navigate to places, and provide answers to queries, such as – “Will I need an umbrella today?”. Apple’s API restrictions prevent Google from adding features to native apps, like setting alarms, or mapping the Assistant to the Home Button.

Google I/O 2017: Google Assistant Comes to iPhone, Understands Typing, and MoreAssistant over the past year has improved on its conversational abilities. The AI is able to recognise natural language and contextual meaning to understand and interact naturally with the Assistant. But Google doesn’t want to stop there. Hoffman announced that Assistant will now be able to understand typing and over the next few months you’ll see some more nifty Assistant features.

Google Assistant will also be able to schedule appointments and add reminders through Google Home, make hands-free calls with Home, and see visual responses from Assistant on your TV through Chromecast. Additionally, you’ll be able to use Spotify, SoundCloud and Deezer with Google Home. Bluetooth support for Google Home will let you play audio from iOS and Android.

Google will also be bringing proactive notifications to Google Home which will enable Assistant to notify you without you having to ask. The company is also bringing Google Home to Australia, Canada, France, Germany, and Japan while Assistant will be available for Android phones in Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, and Japanese.

Google I/O 2017: Android Instant Apps Are Now Open to All Developers

Google’s Android Instant Apps were announced last year, and was the company’s idea of letting Android apps run instantly without requiring installation. Earlier this year, Google started live testing Android Instant Apps with select developers. At I/O 2017, the company finally announced that Android Instant Apps are now open to all Android developers.

Android Instant Apps essentially allow users to use an app by just tapping on a link even if the app isn’t installed. It is an expansion of the app streaming feature the company’s been working on for a few years. Announcing the availability to developers, Jonathan Karmel, Product Manager, Google said, “Today [Wednesday], we’re opening Android Instant Apps to all developers, so anyone can build and publish an instant app.”

Karmel also confirmed that Instant Apps are already being used on Android devices in over 40 countries. Google with its latest Android O is building “more efficient runtime sandbox for instant apps.” Other features include shareable support libraries to reduce app size, and launcher integration support.

Google I/O 2017: Android Instant Apps Are Now Open to All DevelopersCurrently, devices Android 6.0 Marshmallow through Android O support Android Instant Apps. Google promises that Instant Apps will be rolling out to more devices and countries soon including expanding support to Android 5.0 Lollipop devices shortly.

Google has introduced over 50 new experiences for users to try from developers such as HotPads, Jet, the New York Times, Vimeo, and One Football apps. “While these experiences have only been live for a short amount of time, the early data shows positive results. For example, Jet and HotPads are seeing double digit increases in purchases and leads generated,” added Karmel.

Developers to get started building an Instant App will have to head over to developer.android.com and download the latest preview of Android Studio 3.0 and the Android Instant Apps SDK. Google’s new Android Studio 3.0 preview includes a new suite of app performance profiling tools to diagnose performance issues; support for the Kotlin programming language, and increased Gradle build speeds for large sized app projects.

Google I/O 2017 By the Numbers: 2 Billion Android Devices, 500 Million Photos Users, and More

It’s no secret that Google is huge. It has the Android platform – the biggest, most widely used mobile platform in the world. And to reaffirm its position, Google CEO Sundar Pichai dished out some massive numbers during at the the Keynote address kicking off Google I/O 2017. We take a look at some of the stats that Google has accomplished so far.

Google I/O 2017: Android now over 2 billion devices

As Android is the company’s biggest product, Google was proud to say that its mobile OS is now active on over 2 billion monthly active devices as of last week. Pichai credits the milestone to the rise of smartphones. Google at the Keynote also indicated that it is moving from mobile first to AI first and it sees its Android platform driving that change through Google products that are now integrating AI and machine learning to continually improve its services and become smarter.

Android O, as you may know by now, is the next major Android OS and Google announced on Wednesday that it will be rolling it out to beta users globally. Android O promises a more fluid experience for users and some of the features such as picture-in-picture, notification channels and improved keyboard navigation were already known when the company announced the first developers preview in March.

During the Keynote, Google announced some more new features coming to Android O such as Smart Text Selection that improves copy and paste through the help of machine learning, and Notification Dots for developers to notify users about about activity on the app, driving engagement.

Google I/O 2017: Google Drive has over 800 million active users

Google’s cloud storage and backup service, Google Drive, is the next big product that is being used by over 800 million active users. Launched five years ago, Google Drive is one of the most popular services from that company and sees over 3 billion uploads every weeks.

Although the company did not have any mention any Google Drive-specific new feature at the Keynote, the cloud service has been getting regular updates over the past few months. In March, Google announced new tools such as File Stream, Team Drives, Google Vault for Drive, and Quick Access for Google Drive that were primarily focused on enterprise customers.

Google I/O 2017 By the Numbers: 2 Billion Android Devices, 500 Million Photos Users, and MoreGoogle I/O 2017: Google Photos crosses 500 million active users

The Internet search giant has been working hard to push its Photos app as the preferred default app for everyone. The company has already integrated AI and deep learning to recognise, improve and enhance images as well as offer features like movies and album suggestions, among other things. And it seems to have worked out well for the company as it has managed to cross the 500 million mark for daily active users on Google Photos. Additionally, the company also mentioned that these users are uploading a combined total of 1.2 billion photos everyday.

Google by no means is resting on these impressive numbers, and announced some more new features coming to Google Photos such as Suggested Sharing, Photo Books, and Shared Libraries that depend on AI and deep learning, which is something the company is really pushing for across its products.

Google I/O 2017: Other figures announced

Pichai also mentioned some more interesting numbers. Over 1 billion users currently use each of Google’s major products including Search, Chrome, YouTube, Maps and Gmail. YouTube, for example, registers over 1 billion hours of video watched everyday. For Maps, users navigate over 1 billion kilometres everyday. And around 82 billion apps were installed from Google Play in 2016.

Notably, Google’s AI Assistant will expand its reach to a 100 million devices as it now comes to the iPhone and will be available for Android phones in Brazilian Portuguese, French, German, and Japanese.

Google I/O 2017: Android O to Bring Redesigned Emojis, Full Support for Emoji 5.0 Characters

Google touched upon Android O’s new features like picture-in-picture, Smart Text Selection, Android Vitals, and much more at its Google I/O 2017 keynote. However, one big announcement made alongside was that, with Android O, Google is bringing a whole new design for its emojis – one that is more compatible with other platforms and has more tonal colour for a fun modern look. More importantly, the blobs are killed off, and more circular shaped emojis – similar to iOS – will be introduced. Also, the entire the gamut of Emoji 5.0 characters will arrive with Android O.

The blob emojis have been around since Android 4.4 KitKat, and although they have evolved over the years, their compatibility with other platforms was severed. To presumably rectify that blasphemy, Android O brings a complete redesign of its old and new emojis, making the smileys round-shaped, consistent with all the other operating systems. Apart from the blob emojis, all the other emojis have also been redesigned and they all have a new tonal stroke around each emoji, and gradients are now used on a number of designs. However, an Emojipedia report states that some emojis may retain their old design, while some may see a major revamp, and may take some getting used to.

Google I/O 2017: Android O to Bring Redesigned Emojis, Full Support for Emoji 5.0 CharactersEmojipedia also reports that Android O will be fully compatible with Emoji 5.0 launched in March, which means the exploding head, vomit face, the dinosaurs; the orange heart emojis will all arrive with the update. These include nine new smileys, animals like giraffe, foods like pretzel and dumpling, and a Mage emoji as well. Of course, these changes will mostly be seen by Pixel and Nexus users that get stock Android, while other Android devices from Samsung and others may see a more skinned version of these emojis.

With Android O, Google also tries to solve the blank square emoji issue on smartphones running on older Android versions. Because of an old OS version, the latest Unicode revision is not supported on these smartphones, leading to a blank square, in place of one of the new emoji. To combat this issue, it has introduced an emojicompat support library that lets app developers replace emoji library with latest version to bring all character support on old smartphones. The new emojis may look different than what it is intended to, but at least the black space issue won’t be there.

However, do note that this change is coming to smartphones post Android O, so current old smartphone owners don’t get any solution. Also, this solution depends on the app developer, and if they think it’s too cumbersome to do it, then you may still be stuck with old Unicode revisions only.

Google I/O 2017: Android O Makes Your Phone Reboot Twice As Fast, Apps Performance to Improve

On Wednesday, Google opened its I/O developers conference with a keynote by CEO Sundar Pichai and his team. The nearly 2-hour long address encapsulated what the company has been striving to achieve from artificial intelligence to VR and Android O, its next major OS. Apart from announcing the beta rollout for Android O, Google also mentioned some additional features that will come with the new OS, which includes a more fluid experience with faster reboot and app startup.

Android O is touted to be a lot faster than the previous generation. Of course, that’s what one expects with any new software update. Google claims, for example, that the Pixel will reboot twice as fast on Android O as compared to Android Nougat. The company is also adding optimisations for developers to help prevent your battery from draining.

Google I/O 2017: Android O Makes Your Phone Reboot Twice As Fast, Apps Performance to ImproveGoogle spoke about Android optimisation that will not only help reduce battery consumption but will also load apps faster and improve app performance in general. As an example, Google explained that Google Sheets will complete a set of typical operations twice as quickly. Google didn’t explain exactly how it’s going about its optimisation, but we do know that it’s getting some help from Android Vitals, which focuses on optimising battery life, startup time, graphic rendering time, and stability.

Apart from this, Google highlighted some additional features that will be coming with Android O such as Smart Text Selection, which improves copy and paste through the help of machine learning and Notification Dots for developers to notify users about about activity on the app, driving engagement, among other things.

Faster load times is always a good news and Android users will appreciate these subtle tweaks under the hood if it helps save on time and battery. For those wondering about the same for entry-level phones, Google has them covered as well with the announcement of Android Go, which is a version of the mobile operating system that has been optimised for smartphones with 1GB or less RAM.

LG Stylo 3 Plus With Android 7.0 Nougat, Fingerprint Scanner Launched

After the mega LG G6 launch, LG has now launched a mid-ranger, and is calling it the Stylo 3 Plus. The smartphone has been made available only in the US for now with T-Mobile at a price tag of $225 (roughly Rs. 14,600) without a contract.

The LG Stylo 3 Plus sports a sleek metal frame with a removable back cover and battery. The fingerprint scanner is seen at the back of the smartphone below the camera, and both are placed inside a vertical capsule-shaped ring. The LG logo sits at the back as well in the centre, with the speakers at the bottom. The Micro-USB port and the 3.5mm audio jack reside on the bottom edge of the smartphone, and the volume rockers are seen on the left edge. As the name suggests, the LG Stylo 3 Plus comes with a stylus that slides out of the top. There are no physical buttons in the front, and for navigation the smartphone offers on screen buttons.

LG Stylo 3 Plus With Android 7.0 Nougat, Fingerprint Scanner LaunchedDiving into specifications, the LG Stylo 3 Plus has many upgrades to its predecessor the LG Stylus 2 Plus with respect to storage, software, and processor. It runs on Android 7.0 Nougat and supports a single-SIM slot (Nano). It sports a 5.7-inch full-HD (1080×1920 pixels) display with premium stylus support. The smartphone is powered by the 1.4GHz Snapdragon 435 octa-core processor paired with 2GB RAM. It offers 32GB of internal storage with the option to expand further via microSD card slot.

There’s a 13-megapixel rear camera with flash support and autofocus. At the front, there is a 5-megapixel selfie camera as well with the face detection feature. The LG Stylus 3 Pro packs a 3080mAh battery that is rated to offer up to 14 hours of talk time and 25 hours of standby time. Connectivity options include Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth v4.2, NFC, and 4G VoLTE support. There’s no word on its international availability as of now.

Karbonn Aura Power 4G Plus With 4G VoLTE Support, Android 7.0 Nougat Launched at Rs. 5,790

Just last week, Karbonn launched the Aura 4G smartphone and the company has already followed it up with the launch of another budget smartphone, the Aura Power 4G Plus, priced at Rs. 5,790. The budget smartphone like the Aura 4G comes with 4G VoLTE support and will be available in Grey and Champagne colours and will be available through online and offline retailers.

The Karbonn Aura Power 4G Plus runs Android 7.0 Nougat and sports a 5-inch (720×1280) HD display. The smartphone is powered by a 1.25GHz quad-core processor coupled with 1GB of RAM. There is an inbuilt storage of 16GB, which is expandable via microSD card slot (up to 32GB).

Karbonn Aura Power 4G Plus With 4G VoLTE Support, Android 7.0 Nougat Launched at Rs. 5,790The dual-SIM smartphone features a 5-megapixel rear camera with dual-LED Flash and a 5-megapixel front-facing camera with LED flash. Connectivity options for the Aura Power 4G Plus includes 4G VoLTE, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and OTG support. The smartphone packs a 4000mAh battery that promises a stand by time of up to 400 hours and talk time of up to 16 hours.

The recently launched Aura 4G features mostly the same processor, but has a bigger 8-megapixel rear camera with LED flash compared to the Aura Power 4G Plus. The former, however, runs on Android 6.0 Marshmallow and is priced at Rs. 5,290.

WhatsApp Pinned Chats Feature Comes to Android

WhatsApp has finally introduced the new pin chats feature for all Android users. The feature was earlier this month rolled out to Android beta users. The pin chat feature in WhatsApp allows users to pin favourite chats on top of the Chats tab. With the new feature, WhatsApp users can pin up to three contacts on top of rest of the conversations.

“With pinned chats, you never have to worry about scrolling through the long list of conversations to text your family members or your best friend. Users can now pin up to three of the most important group or individual chats to the top of their chat list for easy access — simply tap and hold a chat, and then tap the pin icon at the top of your screen,” said WhatsApp in a statement announcing the Pin feature for Android.

Image result for WhatsApp Pinned Chats Feature Comes to AndroidUnfortunately, the pin chats feature currently support only three chats after which it shows a notification that ‘You can only pin up to 3 chats’ if you try to pin another chat.

Apart from Pin option, WhatsApp users can also see other options such as Delete, Mute, and Archive as well, which appears on long-pressing a chat.

One of the biggest highlights of the new Pin feature is that you once pin a chat, it will remain on the top of your chat list, irrespective of your dialogue or conversation timings with the individual or group concerned. Users will be able to see any new chats or conversations following the pinned chats. You can also un-pin WhatsApp chats whenever you please, by long pressing the option, and disabling the Pin button.

Google’s Fuchsia OS Is Open Source and Independent of Android, Burke Explains

Last year in August, reports emerged that Google was developing a new operating system, called Fuchsia, which was speculated to be the first OS developed by search giant that is not based on Linux kernel. A more recent leak showed the operating system in action as the smartphone-centric Armadillo OS. While we would have preferred for Google to share more information about the new operating system at Google I/O, at least the search giant has shared first bits of information about the project.

Dave Burke, Vice-President Engineering (Android), shared at the I/O conference that Fuchsia is one of the many early-stage experimental projects at Google and that one of the most interesting aspects about it is that its open source, meaning people can see and comment on it. Further, Burke went on to clarify that Fuchsia is an independent project to Android. You can see his response during the Android Fireside Chat in the video below.

Google's Fuchsia OS Is Open Source and Independent of Android, Burke ExplainsWhile Burke suggested that “some really smart people” are working on the aforementioned project, he didn’t provide any specific details about it. As it has been described as an early-stage experimental project, there is a chance that the company might choose not to go ahead with the project eventually, or do if everything falls in right place.

To recall, last year it was found that the new operating system was largely built to favour IoT and embedded hardware. The rapid increase of products in this space evidently led Google to build a lightweight OS that was meant to be more compatible with modern IoT hardware. However, notably it was found that Fuchsia was designed so that it can scale to support smartphones and desktop computers as well.