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Google I/O 2016: What to expect from Google's epic developer's conference

Florence Ion | May 17, 2016
Android N and virtual reality will surely be hot topics of discussion, but how much will Google's new conference venue influence the company's biggest event of the year?

There’s also code inside Chrome OS that suggests that system will eventually hook into the Google Play Store—lending more support to the prospect that Google’s desktop users will eventually tap into the Android app ecosystem. This fits within Google’s vision to have Android installed on every conceivable piece of technology with a display, from your phone to your tablet to your TV to your dashboard, and, yes, even your PC. It’s the perfect cross-device synergy that Google is looking for, and we expect to learn more about this next week.

Unlikely, but awesome: It is extremely unlikely that Android N will be a full-fledged desktop OS by the time it’s released this fall. Just consider the interface changes Google would have to implement—Android isn’t even close to Windows, after all. But perhaps Google could offer demos of an Android desktop concept. Now that would be awesome. Just thinking out loud.

Android Auto and autonomous driving

google to collaborate with fca to integrate self driving technology 
There’s no doubt we’ll hear more about this curious-looking autonomous minivan at the I/O keynote. Credit: Fiat Chrysler Automotives

What we already know: Google’s pod-like self-driving cars have been cruising the streets of Mountain View since last summer—and getting into accidents. Recently, the company signed a deal with Fiat Chrysler to produce Pacifica minivans built on the self-driving technology. Soccer Moms everywhere cheered in unison.

Separately, and specifically on the Android side of things, Google has added more partners to the Open Automotive Alliance since Android Auto’s official launch last spring, including luxury car makers like Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

What Google could reveal: Nothing on the I/O calendar supports this, but we have to imagine that one of the reasons Google is schlepping developers down to Silicon Valley is that there’s plenty of room at Shoreline Amphitheater (and the surrounding streets of Mountain View) to demo its fleet of self-driving pods. So, hopefully I/O will reveal more about Google’s trajectory for the self-driving car program, and whether the company remains optimistic about putting its fleet on the streets by 2020.

We should also hear more about Android Auto, Google’s bid to put the mobile OS on car dashboards. Despite announcing new partnerships, Google’s been rather quiet regarding the in-car software. It’s about time for a system update, and we also want more information on how many Android apps have actually been formatted to work in the car.

Unlikely, but awesome: If Google really wants to amaze us, it will announce that it’s foregoing self-driving cars and jumping straight ahead into personal people-drones. Because where we’re going, we don’t need roads.


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