27 June 2014

Google shares how it's making you more productive this year

Google has shared a number of blog posts about news from I/O, Google's annual developer conference, which saw Sundar Pichai, Google SVP of Android, Chrome & Apps and Google's Urs H√∂lzle, SVP of Technical Infrastructure, announce a slew of sneak peeks and new products for Apps, Android, Chromebooks and the Cloud Platform.

The official Google blog noted that there are now one billion Android device users, sending an estimated 20 billion text messages a day, and 93 million selfies. Post author Pichai also talked about the introduction of:

Android Wear

Android Wear extends the Android ecosystem to wrist wearables. "Just say 'Ok Google' to ask questions or to get stuff done," says Pichai. Two Android wearables were announced at the conference, the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live. Both are available to order today on Google Play, with the Moto 360 from Motorola to be available in coming months.

Android Auto

When using phones is unsafe, as when driving, Google now has Android Auto. Similar to Apple's auto solution CarPlay, the Android phone is connected to a car with Android Auto, so that features like turn-by-turn navigation and curated playlists can be used. "This is accessible through your car’s controls, and more importantly, is far safer than fumbling around with your phone. You’ll start to see Android Auto in cars later this year," said Pichai.

Android One

For emerging markets, Google is creating an ecosystem which includes mobile computing hardware reference platforms. The Android One initiative will provide smartphones that are high quality, affordable and come with reasonable data plans, Pichai said. "Our partners will launch an initial range of sub-US$100 Android One smartphones starting in India this fall (editor's note: roughly September to November), with more countries to follow," said Pichai.

Amit Singh, President of Google Enterprise, shared a blog post about the following highlights: 

Google Drive for Work

Google's cloud storage service now comes with a premium edition for business, called Google Drive for Work. Features include unlimited storage, new admin controls, advanced file audit reporting, advanced audit reporting and new security controls for US$10 per user a month.

The fine-grained controls let admins customise the Drive experience, such as which employees can install the desktop sync client. With the new audit view they can see activity like moving, deleting or sharing a file within or outside the company. 

Files of up to 5 TB in size may be stored. Google points out in a blog post that no desktop or laptop on the market today has a hard drive of that capacity.

Updates to Google Docs

As of June 25, all files uploaded to Google Drive will be encrypted, not only from your device to Google and in transit between Google data centres, but also at 
rest on Google servers.

Quickoffice is now full integrated into Docs, Sheets and Slides, so users can open and edit those documents in Office Compatibility Mode directly on Android, and the Chrome browser. The same capability is coming soon to iOS. "This means you can open, edit, save and send Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint files from your favourite device. You no longer have to buy additional software — it just works," said Amit Singh, President of Google Enterprise.

Android L

The company also shared some of the new features that will be in the next version of Android, just called “L”, that are intended for enterprises. Businesses will also be able buy apps in bulk on Google Play and make them available to employees.