Google's I/O 2016: Too much focus on matching competitors

The importance of adhering to market trends is definitely a must but originality is something that is far more important.

Mumbai: As many of you might know, Google’s annual developer’s conference I/O 2016 kicked off yesterday at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California. For starters, the company's main focus this year was to delve in deeper in the field of virtual reality and machine learning.

While there was a lot of excitement in the air before the start of the event, the first day was rather dull; the products introduced lacked originality and were chiefly centred at challenging other parallel products in the market.

During the course of the two-hour event, the tech giant announced numerous new products but most of them were attempts to match other existing ones in the market--a move that analysts, developers, and even journalists failed to fathom.

Why does a company of Google stature need to base their products on other available products in the market? The importance of adhering to market trends is definitely a must but originality is something that is far more important.

Although some of the new updates announced are useful but people have been already utilising those functionalities before; why will they even consider a shift if nothing fresh has been added?

The only offerings that were ground-breaking were improved developer tools, Daydream, Instant apps, and the latest Android N OS.

Right from the start, Google’s plans seemed a little shaky; the tech giant lacked the ‘innovation quotient’ it is known for. Also, it was disappointing that there were no announcements regarding Project Tango and Ara.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai made the first announcement of the night as he introduced the company's new virtual voice aide offering, Google Assistant. This is the company’s attempt to match Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Well, that’s great! But how will it be better than other existing virtual assistants? I also feel that the company has been too late in announcing the update.

At a time when Siri creators have come up with VIV—a personal assistant that can interact with users like an human being—Google’s chances of emerging as a leader in the field of machine learning-based assistants looks rather slim.

The second announcement of the night was Google Home, which is an assistant-powered speaker device. Again, it looks and functions more or less similarly to Amazon’s Echo that utilises voice assistant Alexa to offer similar functionalities. Indeed, Google ‘echoes Amazon’s Echo’.

Next on cards were a couple of messaging apps—Allo and Duo. Allo is a smart messaging app, which is the company’s answer to smart chatting apps and bots in the current market.

The messaging app takes cues from Facebook messenger bots, Snapchat, and machine learning techniques; all of which have been previously witnessed. Yes, this app gets intelligent over time but there is still a long path ahead before Allo can make its mark. Moving on, Google also introduced a video-calling app, dubbed Duo, which is similar to Microsoft’s Skype and Apple’s Facetime.

However, not everything was boring as the company managed to introduce the next-gen Android N OS with a lot of fresh features, VR integration, enhanced multitasking, new emojis, and better optimisation.

‘Instant apps’ is another ground breaking feature that can help users directly delve into an app in seconds, even if it is not pre-installed. Some amazing developer tools were also announced to assist them in faster and better coding activities. Even Daydream, the new VR platform launched by Google, seemed to be an welcome addition, which will significantly help OEMs in manufacturing VR products.

All-in-all, only some of the announcements like Daydream and Android N managed to add some colour to the rather boring event, which was mostly targeted at match other competitors in the market. Hope that the second day will have a lot more in store. To catch the conference live, tune in to Google's official website.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
Next Story