tech2 News StaffMay 19, 2021 02:10:11 IST
The Google I/O 2021 event kicked off online today, and will continue till 20 May. On Day 1 of the conference, the company made several announcements about several design and privacy updates for Android 12, Google Maps, Google Workspace, Google Photos and more. In addition to this, Google also announced it has partnered with Samsung to merge WearOS and Tizen. The company has further revealed that the resulting unified platform will bring improved battery life, 30 percent faster loading times for apps and smoother animations.
Notably, Samsung has announced the next Galaxy Watch will run on this new platform. In addition to this, future Fitbit products will also run on the same platform, as Fitbit is now part of Google.
We’re combining the best of @wearosbygoogle and @SamsungMobile Tizen into a unified wearable platform. ⌚ Apps will start faster, battery life will be longer and you’ll have more choice than ever before, from devices to apps and watch faces. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/vj2aYZD81x
— Google (@Google) May 18, 2021
Google I/O 2021: Major announcements
Android 12 ‘Material You’ based system design change
Google has announced the latest beta for Android 12 design is based on a ‘Material You’ ideology that will let users customise the UI as per their preferences. The new UI will come with a new ‘Colour extraction’ feature that creates a custom palette based on the wallpaper chosen. It further applies that colour to the notification shade, lock screen, volume controls, new widgets and more.
You get a new lock screen that supports dynamic lighting. The clock on the lock screen also grows larger when there are no notifications. The ‘quick settings’ of the notification bar now also includes Google Pay and Home controls.
Additionally, you can now summon Google Assistant by long-pressing the power button.
A new ‘Privacy dashboard’ will show what type of user data was accessed by which app and when. A new indicator has been added to let users know when an app is using their camera or microphone.
Google has introduced a group of new tools to Google Workspace that will help users in planning a project. This suite of tools is named ‘Smart Canvas’. With this, users can share ideas, work on documents together, join Google Meet calls easily and do more when collaborating. The new Docs will now have the ability to add important details from a Calendar meeting invite such as “smart chips for attendees and attached files.”
Google Meet has also got support for live captions and translations. According to the blog post, “You can now present your content to a Google Meet call on the web directly from the Doc, Sheet, or Slide where you’re already working with your team. Jumping between collaborating in a document and a live conversation without skipping a beat helps the project — and the team — stay focused.”
Google Maps‘ already existing Live View feature will now allow users to instantly get details of surrounding places such as restaurants or shops. These details will include reviews, how crowded these places are, their photos and more. It will display street signs for complex intersections and will also work indoors to help users navigate buildings such as airports.
We’re making it easier to explore with Live View.
— Google Maps (@googlemaps) May 18, 2021
In addition to this, Google Maps will also give ‘live busyness information’. This will allow users to make an informed decision before stepping out during the pandemic. According to the blog post, Google says “We’re tailoring our map to highlight the most relevant places based on time of day and whether or not you’re traveling.”
The new ‘Little Patterns’ feature of Google Photos can read visual similarities between different pictures and present them as an assembled memory. Google Photos will also now sort images for memories basis of the occasion they were taken on. For example, pictures shot during Diwali will be presented as ‘Diwali’. According to Google, “You can prevent photos of certain people or time periods from showing up in Memories in just a few taps. We’re also making it possible to remove a single photo from a Memory, rename it or remove it entirely.”
With Locked Folder in @googlephotos, you can add photos to a passcode protected space and they won’t show up as you scroll through Photos or other apps on your phone. Locked Folder is launching first on Google Pixel, and more Android devices throughout the year. #GoogleIO pic.twitter.com/yGNoQ8vLdq
— Google (@Google) May 18, 2021
In addition to this, for user privacy, Google has introduced a ‘Locked Folder’ feature for photos and videos, which can be accessed only via password or fingerprint authentication.