The Coolest Tech from Google I/O 2015

By Michael Rosa

Held in San Francisco each year since its 2008 inception, Google I/O is a conference for software developers who create the next tech. This year, some truly innovative products and ideas were revealed:

Now on Tap for Android M

What Is It? A search tool

With Google’s new Android M, hold the Home button and “Now on Tap” will predict what info you’re looking for with an in-app quick-search. (Photo: Google I/O)

Why It’s Cool: Now on Tap is available for roughly 100 Android apps. Want to quickly look up a topic related to what’s currently displayed on your screen? Launch Now on Tap by holding the Home button. The software then collects and interprets data on smart device screen, predicting what you want to search based on that information.

Project Jacquard

What Is It? Wearable clothing

Wearables are no longer limited to accessories with Project Jacquard, as “smart threads” and processors can be woven into clothing to be used by the wearer.

Why It’s Cool: Imagine turning up the volume on your iPod by running your finger up the seam of your jacket. It could be possible in the future, as Google’s Advanced Technology And Project (ATAP) team has partnered with Levi’s to turn jeans and other clothing into wearable tech.

Project Brillo

What Is It? Google’s “Internet of Things”

Project Brillo connects devices to the Internet.

Why It’s Cool: Picture a world where electronic household items and your smart device are all linked together via WiFi and Bluetooth. It isn’t a new concept, but Project Brillo is the foundation Google will build its version of “the Internet of Things” upon.

Even cooler is that Project Brillo will allow voice command. You’ll be able to tell your house to turn on the lights, brew up some coffee, then start the shower…before you even leave the bed.

Project Soli

What Is It? Minority Report-like hand-gesture control

Project Soli uses radar to track hand movements it registers as commands!

Why It’s Cool: Roughly the size of a sim-card, Project Soli uses radar to track hand movements it registers as commands. This lets users perform functions like control volume, swipe through categories and “push” buttons without ever actually touching the device. It may seem like magic, but even Harry Potter had to use a wand. Muggles are finally catching up to the magic of fiction!

Google Cardboard

What Is It? A way to turn your smartphone into virtual reality headgear.

Google Cardboard is a VR headset made of cardboard, simple lenses and a smartphone.

Why It’s Cool: While it looks like a handmade View-Master, the new Google Cardboard is a simple design that turns your smartphone into a Virtual Reality headset with cardboard, lenses and some rubber bands.

Paired with Expeditions, which allows teachers to to take their students on virtual field trips (around the globe, through space, or even back in time), Google Cardboard will help students consider abstract concepts that have never been possible before.

Jump: GoPro’s VR Camera Rig

What Is It? A 360-degree GoPro camera
Jump captures 3D, 360-degree video with 16 interconnected GoPros.

Why It’s Cool: What happens when you strap together 16 GoPros in a circle and sync them together? You get Jump, Google’s virtual reality rig that captures 3D, 360-degree video of the environment around it.

Jump has a 2016 estimated release date, so soon consumers will be able to create virtual 3D experiences on their own.

Google Photos

What Is It? Unlimited photo saving and organization without restrictions

Digital photography organization is now even more convenient with Google Photos’ free, unlimited storage and facial- and object-recognition system.

Why It’s Cool: Google is now taking its search power into the imaging world with a free service that offers unlimited storage and photo organization. And it uses facial- and object-recognition.

Instead of going the “exclusive content” route, Google Photos will work on any device regardless of its OS, and – thank you, Google – doesn’t require the user to have a Google+ account to use it.

Offline Google Maps

What Is It? Turn-by-turn navigation, without an Internet connection
Get turn-by-turn voice navigation, auto-filled searches and even business hours and reviews. All while offline.

Why It’s Cool: Access to Google Maps without using up our data plan (or in areas without Internet access)? Sign us up. And without losing any features, you still get turn-by-turn voice navigation, auto-fill search functions and even business hours and reviews. (You just lost any excuse you have for being late to that meeting…)

Tomorrow, more coverage from Google I/O, including how Digital Media Academy took part at Google’s I/O Youth Conference.