Google I/O 2021: Five things that I am excited about

Google showed off a lot of cool new technology during their Google I/O 2021 keynote. Below are five of them that I am excited about.

About your results

Google made improvements to Google search allowing to view the source of the search results. Now when you use Google Search, you can easily click on the three dots next to a search result to see information about the website, whether your connection to the site is secure, and when the site was first indexed.

I can see this feature extending out to include information from sites like Web of Trust and even domain-specific information to better help users identify sites that are reputable and/or secure.

Android theming

“Material You” is a pretty cheesy name. The ability to set a color palette on the other hand is quite awesome. The new “Material You” feature grabs a color palette from your wallpaper and then applies it throughout your phone and other Google products. You can, of course, also manually set the color pallete yourself and that change will reflect through the phone as well.

This feature will first roll out to Android 12 on Pixel phones and then slowly throughout all of Google’s other products on the web.

Privacy Dashboard

Android’s new privacy dashboard on Android 12 will allow you to see a history of data requests from apps throughout time. This feature extends to all of Google’s apps as well. The additional transparency will allow users to monitor when apps request data and whether they are doing it even when you aren’t using the application. When this feature rolls out, you bet that I will be keeping an eye on when apps are requesting certain information and tracking my whereabouts.

In addition to the new dashboard, Google also added a universal indicator that will show you when an app is accessing your microphone and/or video. There are also two new kill switch toggles in the notification quick access tiles that allow you to turn off the microphone and camera.

A more accurate and inclusive camera

Google has partnered with a group imaging experts to make sure their auto white balance and auto exposure is better tuned to people of color. This has historically been a weak spot of Google’s camera algorithms.

It is nice to see Google addressing this. But, I am still waiting for the day that this is something that is part of the initial development process rather than something that is improved upon afterward.

Wear OS (Google + Fitbit + Samsung)

Google joining forces with Samsung on Wear OS is extremely exciting. Samsung Galaxy watches have been the best smartwatches that you can get for Android phones. Their Tizen OS software is more responsive and less buggy compared to Wear OS. Tizen OS watches often last longer on a charge than Wear OS as well. Combining the strengths of the three OSes will give the new Wear OS some serious potential and finally give the Apple Watch some real competition.

Right now the details are limited. But I am excited to see what Google, Fitbit and Samsung will bring later this year.

Project Starline

Google is getting closer to having 3D holograms technology for video conferences. It was hard to tell from the video they showed, but it looks like the video conferencing software uses 3D imaging to maps the individual and projects the person onto a screen that mimics the feeling of a 3D space. The result is that you feel like the individual is sitting in front of you. This kind of reminds me of the large Samsung advertising screens that are in Seoul.

Wrapping Up

What are some things you are excited about from Google I/O? Leave a comment below and lets chat about it.

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