Although this year’s Google I/O is all about developers and tools, Google unveiled a lot for the users too. No sign of Android 5.0 Key Lime Pie, just a 4.3 Jelly Bean update, but everything from search, chat, gaming, Maps, Music, and Google+ got a feature-filled refresh. We even got a bloat-free Samsung Galaxy S4 “Google Edition” to call our own. Here’s everything Google fired out into the ether last night.
We didn’t expect anything quite as fundamental as this, but Google’s changed the way its core product works.
As rumoured, Google Talk has been rolled into the revamped Hangouts, Google’s new unified chat system spanning multiple devices and services. It’s coming to iOS as well as Android and the desktop via Chrome, so this could be the big one — the one chat service to unite us all.
Google’s given Plus a massive kick in the pants with some 41 new features, completely overhauling its Facebook-killer. Of course, Hangouts pays a big roll in the refreshed Google+, but photos have taken prime spot, while cards have slid into your stream.
Google’s “pulling an Xbox Live” on us, with a unified gaming service packing achievements, cloud game-save syncing, and all that jazz. Play-powered games only at the moment, but there’s talk this could extend all the way to iOS in the future too.
Launched only in the US for now, All Access is Google’s attempt at a Spotify-killer. We don’t know when it’ll make it over to the UK, but it’ll probably cost in the region of £8-10 a month when it does. It certainly looks sleek, but it’s lacking the social integration that makes Spotify so good — hopefully that’ll be there by the time it makes the trip across the Atlantic.
The rumour mill was spot on with this one too — Google’s going to sell a Samsung Galaxy S4 without all the bloat of TouchWiz. It’ll be pure Android, stock as Google intended, which is totally fine with us.