Intersect Predicts: Google Home and Virtual Assistant Will Be Big at I/O This Week

Google I/0 2017

This week, the entire tech world will have their eyes focused on Google as the company hosts their annual developer conference, known as I/O. Every year, developers gather to mingle with like-minded people and learn how Google products and services can be used to create superior products and experiences. On top of that, I/O is also where some of the top Google execs take to the stage to show off the latest and greatest things the company has been working on and is ready to tell the world about. You may remember one of their more famous reveals in 2012 when skydivers dove out of a plane and landed on the roof of the building where I/O was happening – all while streaming the entire stunt through their Google Glass:

The team here at Symbility Intersect will also be closely following what’s happening at Google I/O, both during the exciting keynote but also during the smaller developer-aimed sessions where we can learn how to make the most use of and get the best results when using any kind of Google product for our projects with clients and partners.

While we don’t expect to see any skydiving, we do have some predictions on what Google will focus on during I/O this year. We asked some of our team, partners, and friends to make some predictions on what they think will be the focus of I/O and here’s what they think we’ll see:

Google I/0 Survey Results

As you can see, while Google has its hands in many things that are intertwined in our lives, our team and partners predict that Google is going to make their really big announcements in only a few key areas.

Android Mascot

10% of our respondents believe that Google is going to make big announcements around the Android platform this year. Interestingly, no one mentioned that they will use I/O to announce a newer version of Android from the current Nougat, or more formally, Android 7.0. Instead, we saw a few respondents say that we’ll see more integrations between apps and core Android functionality. Sumesh John, a mobile engineer here at Symbility Intersect, believes that Google will announce a way that apps will be able to interact with and perform tasks from within messages. Messaging apps are becoming quite common and we’re seeing them from the likes of Facebook and Apple, so Sumesh believes that Google will use I/O as an opportunity to get into the game.

He also went on to extend his prediction and told us that he thinks this function of being able to add extensions to messages will also be something we’ll see in Google Virtual Assistant. That goes along with another 20% of our respondents who think we’re going to see some improvements to Google Virtual Assistant announced this week. Nahim Nasser, Intersect’s VP of Engineering, has high hopes that Google is going to open up their Virtual Assistant to all kinds of bots and APIs so that people will be able to do more simply by talking to their phone. Kim Liu,  a Solutions Architect, believes that Google will add more power behind the machine learning available in Virtual Assistant to understand preferences and habits of their users to better serve them what they need when they need it.

Google Home - Voice-activated speaker

Along with Google Assistant, the actual Google Home device was a popular choice among our respondents. Many people believe Google Home is really going to compete with, and possibly overtake in usefulness, Amazon’s Alexa. Amazon Alexa already has thousands of “skills” and people think that along with Google Virtual Assistant on Android, Google Home will be able to call on various APIs and integrations from third parties. Mark Reale, Director of Interface Development at Intersect, has very high hopes for these integrations. He wants to see Google Home become much like a real assistant and not just a virtual one. He believes that the mix of these integrations and artificial intelligence are going to help to support the peripheries of our lives. He’d like to see Google Home “integrate in the more mundane parts of our lives… when we are not even noticing, giving us things we need when we need them.” We’ll learn before the week is out if this is a possibility or if it’s still too early for technology like this.

We also saw a few write-ins as responses to our survey. These are things that some of us never really think about but are still very important, like Google Cloud or other forms and uses for artificial intelligence. Steve Zimmerman, from XDA Developers, believes that I/O is going to bring some very cool additions to Firebase, which is Google’s platform for app management. Although, he pointed out there there a lot of developer talks during I/O, so this may not make the big keynote of announcements.

Whatever the big announcements this week will be, you can be sure that we’ll be keeping an eye on it all and thinking about how we can work with or use new and updated technologies to help our clients create amazing experiences.

What do you think is going to be announced at Google I/O this week? Tweet us at @Intersect_hq and let us know.