IO 2016; it’s coming to Mountain View
In the last six months, there has been a great deal of chatter about Google IO 2016, not merely about the tech, but the locale. Google has decided for reasons as yet unknown to move it’s biggest conference of the year to Shoreline in Mountain View. If you’ve never had a chance to visit the area on the North East side of the Highway 101 in Mountain View, then you may not know that Google occupies most of it.
The structure of Google has changed as well this past year. Google itself is now a subsidiary of Alphabet. And the acclaimed Google X Labs has been renamed under Alphabet to “X”. Like so many other internal features of the Search Engine, now many departments have been converted into subdivisions to serve under Alphabet, rather than Google.
At Google IO 2016, X may play a larger role. Pushing forward with Autonomous vehicles and legislature, X has suggested the possibility that vehicles can pilot themselves. It is likely that both the autonomous electric car and the various Toyota-based internet combustion-engined autonomous vehicles may play a part in IO 2016. (here’s to hoping that autonomous vehicles are the taxi service for attendees)
You might ask, what else am I likely to see at Google IO 2016 that isn’t already in the spot light? It all depends on how much Google-y stuff you already know about. There’s been talk of Android VR, Chrome OS, the merging of Chrome and Android, Project Tango, Chat Bots, and Personal Assistants or the likes of Amazon Echo. And very recently Google has debuted Google Spaces for the sharing and conversation of all.
Google has spent a great deal of time and money lately concentrating on two aspects of the new visual format of Virtual and Augmented Reality. We most often see this stated as “VR”. But Augmented Reality isn’t about creating spaces, rather adding to your current perspective. Whereas Project Tango is looking to help developers map and create digital spaces from reality. While it is currently possible to map a space using a 360 camera or an Android phone to make a Photosphere, the shadow and texture of that 3D space is rarely captured. Thus, Tango will resolve these previously inaccessible features. offering a true 3D experience.
Google Cardboard has introduced the idea that Virtual Reality is available to nearly everyone. Using one’s Smartphone and a simple cardboard configuration, it is possible to experience a bit of the future of three-dimensional visual stimulus. It may be possible that Google will give away some real VR headsets at IO 2016.
The tidbits that are not the top spots on the Google IO 2016 radar include Project Aura: Google Glass 2, Project ARA: Modular Smartphone, Google Messaging: What’s App, another Chromebook Pixel: version 3, Android Pay & Hands-Free. The last item in this list is the simple next step to paying with one’s Smartphone, but simpler.
It’s awesome to think that you don’t need to carry much more than a plastic candy bar to pay for nearly everything, but what if you didn’t even need to take it out of your pocket? How would the cashier know it was you? Google Hands Free app offers this and it would be great to see more about it, or if it will be released to a wider scope of businesses. For now it’s limited to the beta test in the areas around Google HQ, but hopefully IO 2016 will show some expansion.
Starting Wednesday morning at 10 AM, the Keynote for IO will begin. If you can’t make it or don’t have tickets, everything will still be live streamed.