The 2013 edition of the Google I/O developers conference will be known more for the services and features that the search giant has introduced than for any cool hardware launched. There was no Nexus 7 2 or Android Key Pie Lime announced, both of which were hotly anticipated during the I/O conference. Instead, the lone hardware announced during the event was the Samsung Galaxy S4 running stock Android version but with a steep price tag of $650.
However, the Google I/O event still has more than enough food for thought for not only the Google fans and enthusiasts but its competitors – read Apple – as well. The California based company is slated to release its new iOS 7 platform during fall though with the kind of features Google announced during its I/O event should be enough to make for some sleepless nights for the Apple engineers. Interestingly, Apple did not wait to pack in the new features as part of the next Android version. Instead, Google is introducing the new features directly to the apps, which means all existing Android users will be able to make the best of them right away.
Included here are some of the features that could be of concern for Apple iOS 7
The Google Play Music All Access is the name of the music subscription service that the search giant launched during the I/O conference. What is impressive is that the service which can be considered to be a rival to the likes of Spotify or Rdio is a reality right now. Compare this to the iRadio service that Apple is rumored to launch this summer. Not only does Google steal the march here over Apple, what is also impressive is its ability to have struck a deal with the biggies in the music industry before Apple could do the same. The Google Play Music service can be availed of for a nominal $9.99 a month after a free one month trial period. Google also has an incentive for those who subscribe before June 30, for they will be required to pay just $7.99 every month.
As for its features, the Google Play Music offers a vast pool of tracks from which users will be able to create their own playlists as per songs or artists. This apart, Google Play Music will also recommend songs which it hopes will appeal to the user based on his personal preferences.
Google virtual assistant, Google Now is another thing that can prove a bit tricky for Apple’s Siri to handle. True an obvious advantage with Siri is the ease with which it can be accessed on every iPhone, this also is one of the biggest disadvantage with Google Now as the latter is not accessible on all Android devices. Nevertheless, Google Now has been provided with some cool enhancements which include its ability to set reminders based on time and location as well as for addresses no present in one’s contact list.
Google Now will also be able to extract information based on your search pattern as well as your e-mails to provide you with such information such as hotel and flight details and so on. Apple, with no search engine or an email service to its credit might have a hard time to match Google Now’s new found abilities. Apple is reported to be in talks with Yahoo to make for the former’s lack of a search engine though it remains to be how that can make Siri smarter.
Another area where Google has scored a lead over Apple is online chatting. True Apple can boast of FaceTime and iMessage though the service is only available on iOS devices while FaceTime only allows video chats with a single person. Compare these to Google Hangouts that enables one to get into a chat or video call with any Google users, irrespective of the device used. Hangouts also allows for video calls with multiple people.
Lastly, Apple might have started the trend with iOS 6 that allowed iPhone users to upload their photos to the cloud. New photo features introduced at Google+ take things a few step ahead. For what users can now get into is edit the photos to make them look awesome, a feature appropriately named Auto Awesome. Other cool additions to the photo features include the ability to recognize photos that are blurred or too grainy. It can even smooth out the wrinkles and blemishes for the characters to look smarter.
In comparison, Apple’s PhotoStream can only deal with a thousand photos while also lacking any sort of editing tools.
As such, it will be highly interesting to see how Apple tries to match the new Google features in its new iOS 7 platform which is expected to be unveiled at the WWDC 2013 event scheduled on the 10th June.