What to expect at Google I/O 2014

What to expect at Google I/O 2014

Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, will take place tomorrow in San Francisco at 9:00 AM PDT. The conference will show off Google’s upcoming products and the tools developers need to create apps for its ecosystem.

This year’s Google I/O should be exciting with Google’s announcement of Android Wear, the company’s smartwatch platform.

Google will have a ton of announcements tomorrow but here are the most important ones to look out for.

Android Wear

Android Wear

Google announced Android Wear, it’s smartwatch platform, back in March of this year. Motorola and LG confirmed they will be making Android smartwatches and it’s likely Google will show them off during Google I/O.

Android Wear is a completely different take on wearable technology than Google Glass, which hasn’t really taken off. While Glass raised privacy concerns, Wear is more innocuous. Wear will serve up notifications and allow you to interact with them without reaching into your pocket or purse for your phone.


Google Now will be an integral part of Wear, letting you use voice to perform actions. We’ve seen some screenshots of what the Wear interface will be like but we haven’t seen them being used in a live demo. Expect to see a lot about Android Wear tomorrow.

New version of Android?

A new version of Android is definitely coming but it remains to be seen whether it’ll be a dramatic update or something more subtle. Google has worked hard to separate its apps from the operating system, allowing more users to get the latest features without waiting for a system update.

With the introduction of Google Play Services, Google can now push updates to phones without waiting for mobile carriers to roll out operating system updates. With this ability, Google can offer major updates and new features without having to release a new version of Android.

However, there are rumors that Google is working on a complete redesign of Android called “Project Quantum.” “We need to stop thinking of ‘mobile’ as a distinct category,” said Matias Duarte, head of Android UX during an interview at the Accel Design Conference.

Gmail for Android leaked update header

We’ve already seen leaked images of a new version of Gmail for Android and on the web that provides a unified experience.

Expect Google to focus on a unified design across all its platforms.

Google Play Fitness

With Android Wear on the way, you’d better bet Google is going to be integrating fitness into its wearables. However, Google doesn’t have a fitness hub like Apple’s Health app. That’s where Google Play Fitness comes in.

The app will allow developers to interface with, creating a hub for fitness data. You can bet Google Play Fitness will support third-party wearables like the Fitbit and Nike FuelBand.

For more on wearable apps, check out our comparison of popular health and fitness apps.

Android TV

Android TV via The VergeImage credit: The Verge

Google had a smash-hit with its $35 Chromecast media streaming stick so why is it creating Android TV? While Chromecast is great for using quickly beaming content to your TV, it doesn’t have an interface for controlling media on the TV. Android TV will offer a more complete experience.

Android TV will be similar to Apple TV and other set-top boxes, integrating apps and games. This platform will also allow Google to sell you more content via its Google Play Store.

Google gave TV a shot with Google TV, but the product flopped because it was too complicated, expensive, and failed to attract developers. Android TV will be Google’s second chance at taking over your living room.

Android in the car

Android in the car

Google announced the Open Automotive Alliance earlier this year, which brought on partners like Audi, GM, Honda, and Hyundai. Android in the car will take on Apple’s CarPlay for controlling your car’s features. While Apple already showed off how CarPlay will work, we haven’t seen anything from Google yet.

Expect to see Google demo how Android will work in your car to control everything from your air conditioning to music.

Home automation

Nest thermostat

Google announced its Android@Home home automation group back in 2011 but we haven’t heard of it since. With its purchase of Nest and Dropcam, Google may finally be ready to take home automation seriously.

Nest allows users to control and monitor their home’s heating and cooling, while Dropcam offers a subscription based video security service. Google will likely announce a development platform for third-party developers to create hardware for.

Google Glass

Google Glass header

Google Glass launched in February 2013 and hasn’t changed much since then. You can now get prescription and designer frames but the hardware itself has only seen one reiteration in over two years. (UPDATE: Google announced a refreshed version of Glass today, making it the second hardware revision in two years.)

Google made Glass available for everyone in the US to buy, but $1,500 is tough to swallow for an experimental product. Now with Android Wear on the horizon, is there a need for Glass? Both products share a lot of overlapping features but I’m almost certain Android wear will be many times less expensive.

We’ll see how Google differentiates the two products.

Crazy experiments and more

Google self-driving car

Google isn’t afraid to experiment and we’ll  likely see some new and crazy things from the company at I/O. Google’s self-driving cars have been in development for many years so we should be seeing a consumer version soon. Maybe not at Google I/O but soon.

Google also purchased the robotics company, Boston Dynamics, but we have no idea what it’s going to do with it. I don’t expect Google to announce any crazy robots tomorrow but we should be seeing more more wacky experiments from Google in the near future.

Google loves to surprise us (see Google I/O 2012’s sky divers) and the company may have some tricks up its sleeve for tomorrow.

Google I/O 2014 begins tomorrow, June 25th at 9AM PDT. Follow us on Twitter @Softonic_EN for live updates from the event.

Follow Lewis on Twitter @lewisleong

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