Watching the I/O Conference

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Just a dump of new features and functionalities of Android and Google devices over the past day. To us, the most interesting was the rebranding and release of the Google Assistant SDK (what was known in the October as the “Embedded Google Assistant SDK”… no need to be superfluous).

We had hoped this would be out in December — but oh, well, it’s here now.

It’ll be interesting to see how the experience with the SDK varies from that on the Home.

Other major updates:

  • Notifications on the Home (we had seen this in the demo video in October)
  • Calling to any phone through Home. Here, Google takes a much different approach than Alexa Calling, that’s limited only to their device. I guess no network effect here?
  • Transactions. Google becomes a trusted third party between Assistant users and Action developers for purchases. Maybe this will make it easier for food ordering or shopping from third parties.

Other features like Google Lens seem interesting but seem like an enhancement of what currently exists around image search. In any case, it seems these features will have a rolling release and will come out over the next few months. We’ll probably see more of “announce and release” type behaviour as Amazon and Google (and Apple) go at it.

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