It's that time of year again.
The Google I/O 2015 annual developer conference is scheduled to kick off in San Francisco today. Tickets already went on sale in March and were priced around $900 for general admission or $300 for academic admission.
If you weren't able to score one, you can simply tune into Google's live-streamed keynote, which we are hosting here. The company uses the timeslot to not only make major announcements, but also to make headlines (like when it did a skydiving demo in 2012).
The keynote, which is expected to begin at 9:30 AM PST, should last about 2.5 hours. Pocket-lint has browsed through all the speculation and rumours in order to round up everything Google might discuss during its lengthy presentation.
We've also included pertinent information and plan to continually update this article as Google I/O gets closer and details about the conference/keynote leak online (or are confirmed by Google), so keep checking back for the latest.
How and where can you watch the keynote?
Google's I/O webpage has everything you need to know about the main keynote's live stream and other events being streamed during the two-day conference. You can go here to learn specifics about the main keynote, but you will also be able to watch the keynote streamed live here on Pocket-lint.
What can you expect from the keynote?
Here's a list of things most likely to pop up or occur during Google I/O 2015, based on detailed confirmed by Google as well as various unconfirmed reports and speculation:
Sundar Pichai is scheduled to start the main keynote. He is a senior vice president at Google, where he oversees several things, including Android, Chrome, and Google Apps. We therefore expect Google's keynote to at least focus on something related to one of those three products/businesses.
During previous Google I/O conferences, Google unveiled the next version of Android. We now know the company plans to do the same thing this year. It hasn't confirmed anything, but the Google I/O website has listed an event session with a description that included a reference to "Android M", according to The Verge.
The session is no longer listed on the website, but the rumour mill is already at work, with most reports speculating Android M is a codename for the next version of Android. When Google announced Android 5.0 in 2014, it debuted the software as "Android L" prior to designating "Lollipop" as the final name a bit later.
Keep in mind Google follows a specific naming convention: an alphabetical list of deserts. The next version was always thought to start with the letter M. It's just not expected to be a big overhaul, as Lollipop was a huge update that brought Material Design. So, it'll likely roll out with a just a few features and tweaks.
It's unclear when Android M will roll out, but we'd place our bet on this summer or the second half of the year.
Google Glass 2.0
Google killed the Google Glass Explorer program in January, leading everyone to believe the product was a short-lived fad and a result of tech-bubble hype, even though Google confirmed it would continue working on Glass.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Google did continue working on it, and we should see a new version this year with an Intel chip. Glass first debuted at Google I/O, so it's likely the latest version will appear during this year's keynote.
Google is getting ready to unveil Google Photos, according to Bloomberg, which said Google wants to split the Photos feature from Google+ and make it into a standalone storage and photo-sharing service.
This rumour follows a Forbes interview from last year with a senior vice president at Google, in which the executive admitted Google views Google+ Photos as an important area and is working on the "next generation" of ideas for it.
It now appears one of those ideas is a new photo tool that will let you post images to Facebook and Twitter. Google wants to launch a new web product while also compete with rivals, so it might debut the Google Photos tool soon.
It's thought that we can expect to see Google Photos (which is just the tool's rumoured name) for the first time in May, when Google kicks off its annual developer conference, but that's not confirmed as of yet.
It's also not yet clear if Google will slowly phase out the Google+ at the same time, or if it simply wants to place an emphasis on the social network's standout features.
Update: Android Police has published screenshots of the Photos app (above).
Similar to how Apple is trying to simplify home automation (to its own benefit) with HomeKit, Google is supposedly the next company that wants to tackle IoT. According to The Information, Google has developed an operating system called Brillo that can run on low-powered devices.
Brillo will provide those devices (they'll have like 64MB or 32MB of RAM) with the bare-bones ability to communicate with other connected devices nearby. The idea is that the software might one day be used on everything from home appliances (like refrigerators) to even smaller ones (like camera monitors).
Brillo is just an internal name at Google right now, and so it might debut under a different name. The software is reportedly being developed by a group linked to the Android team and could appear with a new Android-related name next week at Google I/O.
READ: What is Google Brillo?
Rumours of Android Pay have been upgraded to official as Sundar Pichai, Google's SVP of product, announced in March that Android Pay is coming.
Android Pay will work using NFC and will eventually also be compatible with biometric sensors like fingerprint readers for security. It will use the token card number system that others like Samsung has opted to offer as well. So, should a crook manage to get your Android Pay account compromised, he will only get a one-time-use number that's not worth anything.
Pichai mentioned Samsung's recently announced Samsung Pay system and said Google will also want to work alongside this to see how the two products can integrated. Further details have not emerged, but it sounds we'll hear more about Android Pay at Google I/O.
Update: A report from Ars Technica has claimed the Android Pay API is expected to launch at I/O.
What else could you hope to see?
Here's a list of things in need of an update, and because of that, Google might use Google I/O as a platform for announcing improvements or changes to these things (consider it a wish-list, if you will):
Project Ara, which is Google's modular device project, is headed toward a limited market pilot in 2015, according to the Project Ara website. It would make since for Google to launch that pilot during Google I/O. That said, Project Ara is currently beginning a test phase in Puerto Rico.
Yezz also told Pocket-lint at Mobile World Congress 2015 that Project Ara will make its way to the world from August. Yezz, which has been tasked with module creation, claimed it is the first company to work with Google on Project Ara.
Android TV is Google's latest attempt to take over your living room. Google heavily pushed Android TV last year and at CES 2015, so we'd be extremely surprised if Google I/O passed by without any announcements from the company regarding Android TV software updates or even new hardware partnerships.
We'd love to see some news on Android Auto, a variant of Google's mobile OS that controls in-car infotainment systems, but because the technology is still relatively young, we don't expect major software updates. If anything, Google might announce partnerships with more car manufacturers and makers of in-car units.
We'd also like to see Google's self-driving car appear at I/O. A consumer model is obviously still years away from launch, but a demonstration of a working prototype would still be nice to witness.
Android Wear, Google’s smartwatch operating system, is already available with a number of wearables, but it would be amazing to see Google launch its own hardware - alongside an updated version of the Android Wear. Unfortunately, there's no solid rumours about a device at this time.
Here's to wishful thinking!
READ: Android Wear review
Google's 3D-sensing tablets and smartphones have been in the hands of developers for quite some time now, so Google I/O might focus on some interesting apps from those developers. We're at least hoping we’ll hear more about where Project Tango is going, but who knows really.
Google launched its Chromecast HDMI streaming media dongle roughly two years ago and has given the device several software updates since then, but it hasn't upgraded the hardware or specs at all, leading the rumour mill to believe a Chromecast 2 is on the way. Google executive Mario Queiroz also said in October that new Chromecast devices were on the way.
READ: Chromecast (2013) review
What else is going on?
Google has released the full schedule for its I/O developer conference. Feel free to browse through that in order to parse together bits of information and determine what else might be discussed during the main keynote and other sessions.
According to one session description, for instance, Google's Advanced Technology and Products group will debut a new Spotlight Story directed by Justin Lin. It's a "live action short" that will be displayed in "full 360 with 3D soundsphere".
Want to know more?
To get you prepared for Google I/O, Google has launched the annual Google I/O app. It's a virtual ticket, as well as a reference for app designers and a schedule organiser. You can draw up your own schedule for the two-day event, for instance, by adding and deleting sessions. You can even review the highlights of the previous years.
All the usual I/O stuff can be found in the app.
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