What happened at Google I/O 2015?

I've watched the keynote, had time to process and thought I would write up some of the key points from Google I/O 2015.

Android M

I'm still waiting to use Lollipop, my (work) S4 is on KitKat and thanks to the team over at EE it's taking an age to get through the system. I doubt I will be on it before M is released, I might have to invest in a second hand Nexus 5 to try it but onto the highlights of M.

  • App permissions; looks similar to iOS in that it will ask you to allow access at the time you launch the app, this is different in that it won't ask you when you first install the app
  • Battery life; Some cool new features introduced to help with battery life e.g. it will know when you aren't actively using it using motion detection and go into a 'Doze' mode so that only important items are actioned on, it should improve your standby usage stats
  • Google 'Now on Tap'; a new feature that allows you to use Google Now wherever you are e.g. you are in Spotify and can get information about the artist etc... This looks pretty powerful and I could see it being super handy in say messages if you want to get information about a film you have been asked if you would like to see

Android Wear

Few updates to Android Wear including new third party support in Uber and Foursquare and new emoji and handwriting support. A new app launcher and on screen mode also looked pretty neat.

Android Pay

Google Wallet gets a rebrand, similar to Apple Pay and if your handset has a fingerprint sensor then it should work just like TouchID

Maps

Maps is getting a new offline mode that supports search and navigation, aimed at countries with poor bandwidth but it's going to be useful wherever you are in the world

Photos

The photos functionality has been taken from Google + and added to it's own native app. I've been testing in the last hour and it looks to work great (more on this once I get my review up). Free unlimited storage for all of your photos at a high resolution (you will need to pay to keep originals) and a search function that uses photo analysis to smart tag your photos.

Cardboard and VR

Big announcement in that Google Cardboard now supports iOS, I'm looking forward to getting my hands on cardboard to give this a try. I've not tried any VR yet and cardboard looks to be the most innovative so I'm really pleased to see Google continuing to support other platforms.

I was also impressed by Expeditions, a school VR experience allowing all the students to wear VR and the teacher able to control the experience via a tablet. I think this is potentially huge for education and I will definitely be keeping an eye on this one.

Google +

No mention on stage of Google + but this post on medium says that it isn't going anywhere. My best guess is that it will become somewhere to talk about specific interests, kind of like an old school forum. This is where I have gained the most benefit from the service, check out the collections feature.

Overall

A slick presentation, nice to see plenty of different people on stage and aside from a few hiccups the stream worked well. As a full time iOS user I see Google from it's app perspective more than Android and if Photos is anything to go by then the team they have working on iOS apps is fantastic, I'm excited about Cardboard and where G+ is going will be interesting.