The 8 coolest things we learnt from the Google I/O 2017 keynote

5) Android O is a go-go

We already knew Android O was well and truly on its way when Google dropped an early build of the smartphone and tablet OS in March. As of I/O, all those features we got excited about a couple of months ago have been made official. Aside from the usual improvements to battery life and notifications, the most significant addition to Android O is picture-in-picture.

Essentially a means to play video while you do something else this whizzy trick minimises YouTube clips and the like into a small box that you can nestle away in the corner of another app. So, for example, you can order an Uber while watching Champions League highlights. Not too shabby.

While we don’t know Android O’s full name - it’s gotta be Oreo, right? - it should launch later this year. And if the Pixel is anything to go by, it’ll arrive first on Google’s own hardware.

6) iPhone owners will soon be able to swap Siri for Google Assistant

Ok. So you’ve probably heard of Google Assistant already? The virtual assistant first launched last year via the Google Pixel phone before rolling out further to more Android Nougat and Marshmallow devices.

Well, now it’s coming to iOS.

Yes, iPhone users will now be able to pitch Siri and Google Assistant directly against one another, within the same device. Which one will be best? We’ll get back to you on that one, because Google’s also given its assistant a whole new load of skills.

While Assistant’s first incarnation wasn’t all that different from Google Now, its latest update has several new tricks up its sleeve. These include the ability to type out your requests - instead of speaking them out loud - or use your camera to identify what’s around you via Google Lens. Whether you’re on holiday in foreign climes and wondering what culinary delight you’re about to ingest or you want to save the details on a business card or receipt, Google Assistant will now be able to help you out.

Google’s also been working hard on conversational responses, so that your phone will be able to respond far more naturally, understand your garbled requests, and better handle contextual questions.

7) Google Photos is going to make it even easier to bore people with pics of your kids

Chances are you’ve loads of snaps of your friends and family tucked away on your phone that they’ve never seen before. Thanks to a couple of new updates to Google Photos, that shouldn’t be the case for much longer.

First off, suggested sharing will recognise your mates in the pictures you’ve taken and then give you a gentle nudge to sling them in their direction. But what if your life is more intertwined with a significant other? Then Google Photo’s new Shared Libraries feature allows you to automatically pass on any pics you take that’ll take their fancy.

Since no parent can ever have enough photos of their kids, this one is a guaranteed winner.

8) It turns out digital is dead and the future is… print books!

Well, kind of. Photo books are lovely gifts to give to loved ones, or alternatively a massive hassle to make, depending on your point of view. You’ve got to search through all those thousands of photos you took of your darling offspring, you’ve got to lay it out, you’ve got to upload it to a photo-book-printing service...

Well Google is making it all much easier now, or at least it is for Google Photos users.

The new Photo Book feature looks like simplicity itself to use: you select a bunch of images, then Google does the rest. It’ll sift through your chosen images to select the best ones, then lay them out neatly in a photo book format, then let you choose the book size and whether you want hard- or soft-back cover.

Then you just pay your money - it starts at US$9.99 for a 7in softcover book of 20 pages - and click order. Simplicity itself.

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