(Pocket-lint) - Google’s I/O developer conference is underway, with the main keynote now done and dusted.
This year's show is entirely virtual - like most tech events are these days - and spans two days in mid-May. If you want to watch the Google I/O 2021 keynote again to see what Google discussed, here's how you can still watch. We have also included details about what happened.
What is Google I/O?
Google I/O is Google's mostly annual developer conference, where it often introduces new software updates and hardware products.
The opening keynote is the most exciting part, as that's when Google makes the big announcements. It's held on Day One. The conference has both consumer and developer-focused keynotes, however, along with technical sessions, workshops, AMAs, and meetups. The official Google's I/O webpage has the conference's agenda and session schedules - so keep checking there for more information.
When is Google I/O 2021?
The conference takes place from 18 May to 20 May, with the opening keynote set for 18:00 BST on the first day.
How to watch Google I/O 2021
Google live-streamed its I/O 2021 keynote via YouTube. We have embedded the video at the top of this page for you to still watch it afterward.
What happened at Google I/O 2021?
Google typically holds this conference every year for developers, to get them up to speed with its latest innovations and to help them update their apps. But it also showcases new products or technologies for consumers, including new hardware. This year, however, Google focused solely on software news.
Google has announced the latest version of Android. It's called Android 12 and the first public beta is being rolled out from now. This is Google's most drastic user-interface overhaul since 2014. As previous leaks have suggested, there's a major change in how widgets are presented and customised. But more than that, the entire interface of each menu, layer and stock app has been redesigned. We go over all the new features in Android 12 here.
Google has partnered with Samsung to produce a completely redesigned Wear OS. Also, Wear OS is now simply called Wear. The new version of the smartwatch operating system has a different design language to before. There are new watch faces, improved apps, and a dark theme. Indeed, Wear OS and Tizen have effectively been combined for the new system, with the "next Samsung Galaxy Watch" confirmed to run the new software.
In terms of other features, switching between apps and navigation have each been improved. Google's own Wear apps have also been enhanced, including Google Play, Maps, and YouTube Music. The new OS also utilises Google's Fitbit acquisition for health and fitness features.
Fitbit functionality is now baked into the smartwatch OS. Fitbit will also be building its own smartwatches based on Wear OS going forward.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage at Google I/O 2021 to announce that his company kicked off a project "several years ago" that builds on different areas of computer science and relies on custom-built hardware and highly specialised equipment. Called Project Starline, it's an early system that essentially allows you to video call someone and experience them in hyper-realistic 3D.
Digital Car Key
Google also confirmed that it will be offering Digital Car Key services, and that they will be available from fall/autumn 2021.
They will offer a similar experience to Apple CarKey that was announced at WWDC 2020 and has been available since iOS 13. The Google system will use NFC and UWB (ultra-wideband) technology for authentication and unlocking and to make sure that the system is secure.
Google's password manager is getting an upgrade with a slew of new features to make the service a lot more useful. Currently, there's a password management system that you'll find in Android and Chrome, linked to your Google Account and accessible at passwords.google.com.
In an update to the system, you'll be able to import passwords from other services. It's also now going to be a lot more proactive about telling you when a password has been compromised because of a hack or security breach. Not only that, but you'll then be able to use the password manager to change that compromised password for you, making your accounts secure again. Exactly when the updates will land hasn't been confirmed.
Want to know more?
Check out our Google hub for all the latest news from the company.