Flaunting its technological reach, at I/O 2016, Google showed how it plans to exploit the Internet with a series of new and improved Google products.
Hmm… Usually I don’t get excited when I read news of new software release or hardware products. The reason is simple and should be known to all those who know how the mobile and computer industry work. While they surely bring new and, quite often, useful stuff in the market, every new product, be it software version or hardware upgrade, carries along with it a headache, in the sense that they almost always have compatibility or performance issues. The reason their support servers and call centers are busy right after a new release is due to this reason. Migration from one device to another is not guaranteed to be smooth either. It’s an additional anxiety especially if you hold vital data on the old device. Let me add that this is true practically with any company, be it Google, Microsoft or Apple, and so far I have seen, no company is an exception.
Then comes the money part. New products are usually priced high. Companies look more at the trend while setting the price tag for their new offering than actual value of the product. If they find that the trend in a particular country or class of people is for cheaper gadgets they set it low and if they find that people are conscious of buying expensive gadgets for the sake of brand name or status, they set the price high.
Below are the 10 announcements Google made.
1. The Google assistant
As the name suggests, this is a two-way dialogue between you and Google. The company claims this will help bring Google and its users closer. From just 2 languages before some 10 years, computers can now translate over 100 languages. With Google assistant, users will be able to converse with Google instead of just asking questions.
2. Google Home
This is an extended version of Google assistant in that it is a voice-activated product. In other words, using this one could talk remotely to Google assistant and get helped while moving around at home. Scheduled to be released later this year, Google Home will use Chromecast as a support agent.
This brings new features like stickers and whisper chat. Basically Allo uses a suggestive conversational response. Again, this app allows one to search the web, watch YouTube videos, play games and other regular stuff you do on the Internet. With Allo, the search giant intends to compete with popular chat services such as Facebook’s Messenger, which recently announced an AI feature, and WhatsApp. Allo should be up by this summer both on Android and iOS.
Scheduled to be released this summer, Duo aims at making video calling more reliable, supposedly even on slower networks. It also introduced a feature called Knock Knock giving users a live video of the other caller before answering.
5. Android N
Name still undecided, Android N is a new Android OS from Google boasting improved graphics, reduced battery consumption and storage with enhanced security. Switching back to previous app, multi-window mode, split screen and skin variations are among other features, totaling some 250 new features.
Expected by this fall, Daydream is being promoted by Google as a new platform for high quality mobile virtual reality. It will also include company’s flagship apps like YouTube, Play Movies , Google Photos and Street View.
7. Android Wear 2.0
A revamped user experience with standalone apps running right on the watch. It presents a better keyboard on the Android Wear smartwatch and can mix and match watch faces with various apps.
8. Android Instant Apps
Run apps even without installing them locally. This is Google’s solution to installing multiple apps most of which you hardly use. Android Instant Apps has a backward compatibility all the way Jellybean.
This is mainly meant for developers.
10. Studio 2.2
One more offering for developers, Android Studio 2.2 has a new layout designer and a Firebase plugin adding services like Analytics, Authentication, Notifications, and AdMob. (Information via 10 new announcements from Google IO 2016 – The Economic Times)
While all this is great and certainly new, my question is, how much of a change these products can bring to your life? OK, you can ask for a YouTube video while having a walk in the garden using Google Home or perhaps have a one-to-one video chat with a business partner while driving in a noisy environment with low internet bandwidth using Duo. Sure, you can do more than that if you are a power user. Fine. But these things are done today also in one way or the other, and in real life scenarios we hardly use those features. So what is the real deal about new apps and new gadgets? Of course, I understand that to some “Oh I own them” itself is a relief and there are those for whom checking out latest gadgets is part of their business, but that’s a different thing.
Let me tell you, without boasting, why I say this. As some of you also may have, I have been using computers since 1989-90, meaning I have seen changing trends and generations in IT industry for good 26+ years. Not only that, I am one of those who like to analyze and exploit technology. Starting from tuning typing skill to word processing, desktop publishing, analyzing spreadsheets and creating stylish charts, image editing, morphing, producing impressive multimedia presentations, audio and video editing, web designing, online marketing, accounting, networking, communication, security and practically any type of software available today have been put to work by me personally. So far hardware, I have used, assembled and repaired computers myself from the time when hard disk was a new thing, floppy disks were able to hold only 256KB data, RAM was counted in Kilobytes, Intel 286 processors were called new generation and 128kbps modems were considered high-speed!
The point I am making by saying all this is, despite having a good amount of firsthand experience in using technology, I never felt a pressing need to upgrade my hardware or software as soon as it hit the market. I upgrade only after it is tested by others and companies have released required patches to make the product stable. This also eliminates the possibility of wasting time on rolling back to previous version. Plus, by then, automatically, the price also drops. This, I would say, is a wise way to deal with modern technology. If you know this art, there isn’t much that today’s sales tactics can do to over-impress you. I am least embarrassed to say that I still prefer using some old software or hardware without affecting my productivity. Yes, I may not use a few bells and whistles, some cool animated screensavers or those great looking memory-hungry applications, but that does not really count when it comes to serious business.
Upgrading a software or an OS comes at the cost of eventually upgrading the hardware too if you want optimum performance. Even if money is not an issue for you, it may be an issue for your father, your spouse or even your peers. If it not an issue for anyone, then also, time is always an issue. In fact, time has to be an issue for every human being. It is said that a moment spent cannot be brought back even by paying millions of gold coins. This is because human life is priceless and the type of karma we perform creates our destiny for the future phases of life including next birth. Or should we call the next birth a new version of hardware with an updated software?
While Google network has enveloped all six continents on this planet and is effectively tracking user activities, interestingly, this article points out how it is the network between the supersoul and souls, or paramamta and innumerable atmas that keeps track of all our activities, both online and offline! I call it PTAN (Parmatma To Atma Network) architecture. The best part of PTAN is, it is bug-free, inconceivably fast, astoundingly efficient, covers multiple universes and has a framework that extends beyond three dimensions. Stay tuned to read more about this network architecture explained in contemporary network terminology.