The tech we can’t wait for
But what we wanted to look at the coolest tech to come out of Google’s massive San Francisco conference, the stuff that we can’t wait to try and has the potential to be outright amazing, if not already just that.
Presented in no particular order, here is the coolest tech to come out of Google IO 2015. Think we left something that should be on here off? There’s a little thing called the comments section below.
The name may be slightly awkward, but the concept is extremely cool. Project Jacquard is the Advanced Technology and Projects team’s initiative to turn our clothes into, well, wearables. By literally weaving sensors into fabrics, the very threads we sport can be transformed into interactive surfaces that recognize simple touch gestures.
Clothes and app makers both will be able to build "connected, touch-sensitive textiles into their own products," Google said, and the sensors can be as visible or invisible as designers want to make them. As one Googler puts it in the video below, Jacquard is about getting technology out of the way and making interactions more natural and more seamless – using the very seams of our clothes.
Levi’s is Google’s first official Project Jacquard partner. Though there’s no timeline yet for the first Project Jacquard clothing to hit the market, we can’t wait until our clothes are 85% cotton, 15% Project Jacquard.
Google Now on Tap
As US Mobile Editor Matt Swider put it, Now on Tap is Android M’s best feature, and it’s so cool it’s not even available on the new OS’ developer preview.
Why does Now on Tap make this list, aside from literally being unattainable? For one, it makes getting what you need from your phone faster than ever, without having to leave the app or website you’re in the midst of using. It’s also predictive, aiming to give you what you want to know and where you’ll find it without you having to input a thing. It takes away all the annoying middleman steps and gets you the answers you didn’t even know you needed.
Now on Tap doesn’t just work for Google’s proprietary software either: it’s super-smart claws extend into third-party apps like Spotify. Never again will you have to bang your head against a table, trying to remember the name of the guy who sings your favorite new song, whatever it’s called.
Leave it to ATAP to come up with yet another entrant on this list. Project Soli is a miniature radar system that literally turns your hands into input mechanisms. No bigger than a chip, the Soli system tracks hand movements to conduct commands like volume control, swiping and button pushing.
According to Google, wearable touchscreens live on the size threshold of what humans can reasonably interact with. Project Soli takes size out of the equation, letting people control the smallest wearable without ever having to touch it. It’s pretty far-out stuff, and we can’t wait to try it.
Hands Free payments
Android Pay may have made a big splash at IO, but Hands Free payments, not even mentioned during the Day 1 keynote, is by far the cooler tech.
In Google’s version of the future, you’ll never have to pull out a wad of cash or even your NFC-enabled phone again to make a payment. Instead, all you’ll have to do is stand there, say, "I’d like to pay with Google," and walk away.
It all goes back to Google’s efforts to take away user pain points, and what could be less painful than having to do virtually nothing to buy stuff? Google will start testing its Hands Free payment method in the real world later this year at McDonald’s and Papa John’s pizza joints in the Bay Area. All we can say is, sign us up.
GoPro’s crazy VR camera rig
Google Cardboard working with iPhones is all well and good, but the most truly epic VR-related tech revealed at IO is the 360-degree GoPro camera set-up that’ll be used to record Jump videos.
Comprised of 16 cameras, everyday folks like you and I will be able to buy one beginning this summer and start recording our own virtual reality clips.
We can only image how pricey this thing will be, but mercifully we’ll be able to watch and interact with Jump VR videos on the dirt-cheap Cardboard, on YouTube and even our Android phones. You can even watch one below:
The new Google Photos
A new Google Photos may not be the sexiest thing you’ve read about all week, but hear us out.
While it has its limitations, the new Google Photos’ free, unlimited storage is hard to beat. Its facial and object recognition is spot on: One TechRadar staffer who used the new service even had pictures of his dog organized into its own folder. Organization for the win.
There are similarities to Apple Photos, but where Cupertino’s service is restricted to Apple devices, Google Photos doesn’t discriminate by OS.
The coolest part about Google Photos? You don’t need Google+ to use it.
Offline Google Maps
It’s sad, but most of us would be utterly lost without the maps apps on our smartphones.
Google took a big step towards making its Maps even more useful by unveiling a number of offline functions that won’t suck up user data. Voice turn-by-turn navigation, search bars that auto-fill and helpful info like business hours and reviews will arrive on Maps later this year, all with no need to be connected.
Yes, Google Maps already has some offline functionality that by many accounts isn’t that good, but these added features, if executed well, could make it so no one ever gets lost again. OK, maybe almost no one.Buffer