Now that Google’s developer conference is over, I pause to reflect on how many wild ideas get turned into a reality thanks to the company’s policy of allowing its employees to just try new things. With Android Auto starting to hit the streets, self-driving cars in the works, and Android Pay poised to make shopping easier, it is hard to believe there is actually more to be discovered.

But there is.

Google IO 2015 2

On day two of Google I/O, the company’s Advanced Technology and Projects team kicked things off by describing some of the amazing technology they are developing. None of the stuff they showed off is ready for retail, but all of it is far enough along to wow tech fans. Below are my favorite revelations of day two at Google I/O

soli_02Project Soli ended up being the most exciting new technology announced by the ATAP team at their panel first thing in the morning. A chip that is smaller than a thumbnail can actually allow you to control the smallest of screens without touching it, like a watch display.

Soli uses radar and some very comprehensive technology to allow users the ability to use gestures to control action. The radar sensors are so precise that the most minuet movement is recognized. Soli’s founder, Ivan Poupyrev, demonstrated the abilities of the technology by mimicking the act of twisting a watch crown with his fingers. His gesture actually caused a digital sphere to rotate around in a circle.

Project Vault is another amazing bit of technology that is still in very early stages of development (so early that they weren’t even demoing it on the floor). It is the size of a microSD card, but is actually a mini computer that can add security features to almost any phone, tablet or computer. That is, any device that has a microSD slot.

The chip directly handles the cryptographic interface so users can send and receive fully encrypted data.

Spotlight StoriesAfter the panel, I had a chance to check out a demonstration of Spotlight Stories. Google has created 360-degree immersive movie technology that actually puts you right into the action. Until now, Spotlight Stories were animations. However, Google teamed up with Justin Lin, director of multiple Fast and Furious movies, to create a live-action short called “Help” that shows you what it might be like to be in the middle of a blockbuster hit.

The most striking thing about the technology is that you never get left behind. If you aren’t looking at the action that is intended to forward the plot, it simply waits until you get there. Meanwhile, everything else around you is active. Cars are on fire, people are running, you can hear the sounds of something crashing off to your right. Turn, and you will see a giant monster headed your way. The police officer helping you escape yells run. So you turn and run. The movie continues.

It’s pretty impressive.

Spotlight Stories is available for free right now on Google Play, which includes four short films. The videos will also be headed to YouTube later this year and the app will launch on iOS “very soon.”

Google IO 2015 1

Even though it was only talked about as a footnote at the end of the ATAP panel, I was very excited to see how far along Project Ara is coming. During the demonstration, Google engineer Rafa Camargo clicked together an entire modular phone in just a few seconds.


Then, turned it on to show it running smoothly (much smoother than last year) and then took a selfie and a picture of the attendees. Pretty much nothing was talked about, but the demo proves that Project Ara is on track for its pilot launch in Puerto Rico later this year.

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7 replies on “Highlights from Google I/O 2015 day two”

  1. The Project Vault is not so new, similar solutions are already available (e.g. SecFone)

  2. A few years ago, Google seemed innovative and a cool company, but it was all misinterpretation, with these NSA things, it proved worse than Microsoft, that too is another demon. Google is a legitimate company that is only based on hype and only can create vaporware by itself. What I said seems meaningless? All its main technology were purchased from others. Youtube, Android, etc.

    I do not believe in the long-term future of her. Now what she’s doing is boring and uninteresting.

    1. Look at IBM which is slowly but surely dying. Why is this the case? They tried to do everything in house. Google may be getting key IP from purchases, but that’s the way business has to be done these days. Instead of employing a million people (which is $15 billion/yr at US minimum wage) and hoping they come up with cool ideas before anyone else it’s cheaper to let the 6 billion people who aren’t employed by you (costing you nothing) come up with them and then buy those companies. There’s also the risk involved in new ideas, so many startups with an idea fail early on, the failure rate for these new products isn’t much lower for huge companies, so why not let someone else take the risk then buy the few that prove successful?

      1. What you said is right, and I already knew that. The question is that Google transmits a false image, she want to looks innovative, but it’s all a mask, and because of it has some fans, the Googlers … LOL, what fagot thing.

    2. That’s not true at all. If anything, Google spends more on long term research and development than the vast majority of other high-tech companies. In fact, they are constantly being criticized by financial analysts for spending too much money on long term projects (like robotics, self-drive cars, etc.) that have little prospect of giving a good return on their investment.

      Yes, they buy up smaller companies, which brings in talented individuals and their ideas, but that’s how all major corporations operate. The vast majority of good ideas never get off the ground for lack of manpower and investment. The vast majority of people with those good ideas would love to receive an offer from Google — they have the money, resources, and infrastructure many start-ups would given an arm and a leg for, to help turn their ideas into reality. Also, do you think those people stop innovating and creating as soon as they join Google?

      As for the NSA stuff — you need to place blame where it lies — with the US government. Google was required, by law, to cooperate with the NSA. If they didn’t, the CEO and his colleagues were looking at 10 to 20 years behind bars. Easy for you to say they should risk their freedom to snub their noses at the Feds.

      Given it’s vast size and resources, a lot of things would have to go very wrong before Google’s future turns dim, and there is certainly no sign of that happening any time soon. You can never say never, but I believe you are dead wrong when it comes to Google. Most likely, they will still be a major multinational corporation for many decades to come.

    3. Although Google did buy android, that was way back in 2005, 2 years before it was even released. The vast amount of its development, and everything since its release, came from Google. Other main technology from Google includes search, maps. YouTube is the exception when it comes to buying out companies.

      Plus if that’s what you really believe, why didn’t you have that view of them a few years ago? The android and YouTube buyouts happened years ago.

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