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08-Sep-15

Google IO

The Main Course

  • Google Photos , a characteristically Googley attempt to organise your photo collection using machine learning smarts to create an automatic timeline gallery and then tag and sort photos within it at the backend.  They’re also offering unlimited free photo backup to induce customers to use the service and thus supply them with yet more image data for future deep learning research purposes.

“Dave Burke, vice president of engineering at Google, says that the company has been watching what device makers have been adding to Android and is folding a lot of those ideas into the core system.”

 

Android M photos

 

The new digital assistant listens in on your activities and gives you supplemental info like store hours or movie reviews right inside an app or web page. For instance, if a friend texts you with a dinner invite at a new restaurant, you can ask Now on Tap for reviews, hours and other info mid-conversation. It’ll also create reminders on the fly about previous email or text discussions and incorporate detailed  Knowledge Graph  information.

 

  • Android Pay  represents a further nail in the coffin of NFC-based mobile payment on Android with its emphasis on host-card emulation (HCE) as first among equal solutions.  For many OEMs building Android M-based products NFC will now seem little more than a dumb local pipe for HCE with all that entails. Specifically, what is the point of Secure Element in an HCE world?

 

  • Brillo and Weave Google’s attempt to corral the world of IoT as successfully as they did with Android in the smartphone space. Brillo is essentially a headless form of Android optimised for dramatically reduced IoT form factor hardware. Weave is a new cross-platform communications layer for allowing Brillo IoT devices to communicate with each other and other platforms. The attraction of both for OEMs is clear

Build devices quickly and securely, without having to worry about software updates. For other operating systems, just add a compatibility library to connect with Brillo devices over Weave.

The Sides

Levi's Paul Dillinger Project Jacquard Google IO 2015

 

The quick fix for this is simple: encrypt the data on your phone before you get rid of it. (You can find the option at Settings > Security > Encrypt Phone, for any Android version since 3.0.) Adrian Ludwig, the lead engineer for Android security, recommended preemptive disk encryption for anyone giving up their phone.

  • Benedict Evans like others picked up on Google’s obvious greater enthusiasm and interest in advancing the frontiers of deep learning over mobile and design initiatives.  A cursory examination of where Google are really spending their RnD dollars suggests that overwhelmingly it is on machine learning at scale which isn’t surprising  given the staggering possibilities raised by advancing beyond the confines of ANI .  To get a sense of that scale, it’s worth reading  this post  on how Project Loon addresses the problem of keeping large numbers of balloons aloft on atmospheric thermals at speeds of 200mph.  It provides a compelling window into the level of investment in software and supporting compute infrastructure: