Published: Fri, May 19, 2017
Medicine | By Earnest Bishop

Google's new Android O beta now available

On stage, Samat demonstrated a novel way for Android users to track their mobile data usage and even pay their monthly or prepaid mobile phone bills via Google Play.

Google unveiled at its I/O developers conference a preview of the next release of Android and a new lightweight version of the OS aimed at developing markets. A new Google Play Protect feature makes it easy for users to see which of the installed apps have recently been scanned for potentially harmful content. Apps that run in the background are limited in usage.

Google believes it can lead the way in AI largely because it has built a enormous network of data centers with billions of computers scattered around the world.

Android Go is basically an optimized version of Android O created to accommodate the lower specifications and integrate apps that are less 10MB in size and can run smoothly even on devices with a slow processors. Instead, you just say "Okay Google", and the assistant comes to life on phones, Google Homes and other devices. This while people using its dominant internet search engine and leading email service have been feeding the machines valuable pieces of personal information for almost 20 years.

Google did not detail other features of Android O to reveal it the later day when it officially starts rolling out the final version.

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"Combined with the Google voice assistant, the AI feature in LG products will be much stronger", the official said. The latest claim from Google is that of the Android O operating system taking half the time to reboot than in the past versions of Android.

It also includes a function known as Find My Device, a reboot of Android Device Manager, which Android users could already previously use to locate their missing devices.

For example, when users switch from a conversation on where to eat in a messaging app to a restaurant review app, Android O will know that the user is looking for a restaurant and bring up suggestions.

Another important feature is the addition of Actions on Google to smartphones. Google Home can make out the voices of the users. This OS variant will be particularly useful for Google to penetrate low-income smartphone markets like India, where feature phones are still common - as the Indian market transitions completely away from feature phones to smartphones, Android Go may provide a useful and affordable stepping stone.

The most visual, and therefore most exciting, news is in Google Lens. Google also designed the service to minimise data usage on bandwidth-hungry services like YouTube.

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