Google IO 2015: What to expect from the tech monolith

Google doesn’t have many events all year. It doesn’t have a quarterly briefing, it doesn’t have a launch event for a new device, but it DOES have Google IO.

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Google IO has come to synonymous with fanfare and surprise; Google is always pulling out all the stops at its yearly event. There’s new technology to talk about, new hardware, device launches, partnerships and, of course, secret projects. This year’s IO, in San Francisco seems like it will live up to the expectations. So here’s a roundup of what we can expect.

Android M will be on the menu, Google’s latest Android OS upgrade. What’s it going to be called? No idea, and we probably won’t until later this year, when it’s completed. But we do know about a few of its features. For one, Google is about to get a lot smarter, with Google Now becoming a search hub for Android. The company has been talking about opening out its API to developers, meaning that your phone’s Google assistant could soon be pulling data from all your apps into one helpful feed.

Google is also trying to bring Android to the workplace in a more efficient way. Right now, iPhones are the preferred business companion, and Google is looking to change that, possibly with a dual-mode type of interface for your apps.

They’re also trying to make everything Android. Google is just priming itself for an interconnected smart device ecosystem, and it’s doing that by trying to get Android into everything. Android Wear is the OS of choice for smartwatches, more and more companies are launching Android-based smart televisions everyday, and more car manufacturer partnerships for Google Auto are expected at IO 2015 as well. Google has also been working on a newer, scaled back version of its OS, Brillo, to power smart devices in the Internet of Things that will have low-performance chips.

Also read: Looking ahead: Smartphones and their place in the Internet of Things

Remember that little cardboard box that was doing the rounds last year and got everyone excited? That was Google Cardboard, the company’s low-budget, low-tech demonstration of Virtual Reality capabilities to the world. And it’s not likely they’re going to stop there. Google has reportedly been working on an Android version for VR devices, and YouTube already has 360-degree video functionality built in. We might see a simple announcement for a tie up with a VR hardware manufacturer, or maybe even more.

And speaking of visual devices, it’s no secret that the company has been talking about reviving the Google Glass project. It’s not likely we’ll have a new prototype to see, but maybe an update or two will come our way.

And then there’s always ATAP, the Advanced Technology and Projects Division; Google’s very own mad scientists. These guys have been working on Project Ara for the longest time, the customisable modular phone that could potentially turn the smartphone market on its head. One can only hope to get some sort of reassurance that the project hasn’t died a slow death, and hopefully, this will be the year ( please?).

So that’s a basic idea of the kind of things we can expect at Google IO 2015. It’s going to be in San Francisco Thursday morning, which mean 10pm on May 28, for us here in India. So be sure to check in on our tech page, because we’ll be bringing you all the updates live. Don’t miss out!