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Google reveals new products and services at I/O 2016, Nokia comes alive once more, a reminder that Facebook Live broadcasts are public, and the first teaser for the new Star Trek TV series.
The Highlights From Google I/O
Google has kicked off its annual developers conference, Google I/O 2016, in California, with a keynote speech full of various announcements. Rather than cram all of the details about all of the products down your throat, we’re going to keep things simple, and trust you to do the rest.
Google Assistant is Google’s answer to Siri or Alexa, and the next evolution of Google Now. Google demonstrated the abilities of Google Assistant by asking it to choose and buy tickets to a movie suitable for adults and children.
Google Home is Google’s answer to the Amazon Echo. It’s a small, cylindrical speaker that can play music, control smart home devices, and, thanks to the aforementioned Google Assistant, answer questions.
Google Allo is Google’s latest attempt at creating the perfect messaging app. You sign up using your phone number, and then get all the messaging options you could ever want, including emoji! Messages are encrypted, and you can even make them disappear after a set time.
Google Duo is another messaging app, but this one is focused on video conversations, making it Google’s answer to Apple’s FaceTime. Like Allo, Duo is mobile-only, and linked to your phone number. Also like Allo, it will be released for Android and iOS later this year.
Google Daydream is Google’s new virtual reality platform. Built on top of Android N, Daydream is basically Android for VR. It provides users with a homescreen full of apps, and VR versions of YouTube, Google Play, Street View, Netflix, and HBO.
Android has Instant Apps (which will let you use parts of apps without having to actually install them), Android Wear 2.0 (which adds a welcome layer of autonomy without needing a smartphone), and new additions to Android Auto (such as Wi-Fi connectivity and Waze built in).
These are just snippets of information about the biggest things announced at Google I/O 2016 so far. Just Google (obviously) the bold text for more details on each one.
The Nokia Name Is Coming Back
"Should Microsoft still have purchased Nokia’s smartphone business?" I think we know the answer to that one…
— Tom Warren (@tomwarren) May 18, 2016
You will soon be able to buy a mobile phone with the Nokia branding on it. Because someone, somewhere feels the Nokia name still has a certain cachet attached to it. That someone being both HMD Global and Foxconn’s FIH subsidiary.
HMD Global is a new Finnish company founded by former Nokia executives. It plans to sell Android-powered smartphones and tablets using the Nokia brand, which HMD has licensed from Nokia itself.
Meanwhile, FIH has acquired Microsoft’s line of feature phones or dumb phones. FIH, which paid Microsoft $350 million for the privilege, will manufacture the phones, and HMD will market and sell them alongside its own range of devices.
It’s all very complicated, and unlikely to lead to any big change in buying habits. However, anyone who still remembers the days when Nokia made the best phones in the world may just be tempted to buy into the brand again, purely for reasons of nostalgia.
PSA: Facebook Live Is Public
This is a reminder that Facebook Live broadcasts could be beamed live to anyone and everyone around the world. That is if you haven’t had the wherewithal to fiddle with your privacy settings before clicking the Record button on your smartphone.
We know because Kali Kanongata’a, a Tongan now living in California, accidentally broadcast the birth of his and his partner’s child to hundreds of thousands of people live on Facebook. The video is still up too, meaning you can witness the miracle of birth right now.
Kanongata’a told People, “I thought it was just going to my family and friends!” However, even after he realized the video was public he decided to keep filming because, “There’s a lot of negative stuff on Facebook and so I thought this would be positive”.
He’s right, but we’d still recommend you check your Facebook privacy settings anyway. No, not later, now.
CBS Teases the New Star Trek
And finally, CBS has released the first teaser trailer for the new Star Trek TV show, due to hit our screens in 2017. This is definitely a teaser too, as all it shows are some planets, stars, and asteroids, before the new logo is revealed.
The main takeaway from the teaser is the promise of, “New crews,” “New villains,” “New heroes,” and “New worlds”. This makes it very clear this is a complete reboot, with none of the baggage from the previous Star Treks getting in the way. Which can surely only be a good thing.
Your Views on Today’s Tech News
What do you think of the products and services Google revealed at Google I/O 2016? Does the Nokia brand still hold any value to you? Would you ever broadcast something as private as childbirth on Facebook Live? Will you be watching the new Star Trek TV show?
Let us know your thoughts on the Tech News of the day by posting to the comments section below. Because a healthy discussion is always welcome.
Tech News Digest is a daily column paring the technology news of the day down into bite-sized chunks that are easy to read and perfect for sharing.