Google I/O brings a boatload of updates for mobile, payments, Internet of Things
Google's annual I/O conference was chock-full of developments, starting with the next update to its mobile operating system, code-named Android M. Improvements to the core user experience include an overhauled permissions system. The bottom line is that it should be easier for developers to get users to install and update their apps, because they will no longer ask users to agree to a long list of permissions up front. Instead, apps will query users when they try to use a feature that requires a permission, and let them allow or deny those at will.
Google takes another swing at payments with Android Pay
As Google seeks to reclaim momentum in the area of mobile payments, it's overhauling its approach with Android Pay, a component to its next version mobile OS that will let people use their smartphone to make payments in stores as well as apps. Google is working with 700 stores across the U.S. that accept contactless payments, as well as with credit card companies including Discover, Visa, MasterCard and American Express.
The Internet of Things gets a new OS, too
Google is staking its platform claim on the Internet of Things with a new operating system called Brillo and a communications layer called Weave, Computerworld reports. Senior VP Sundar Pichai pitched the OS to the I/O audience as a way to help users build their own smart homes, connecting devices like smart light bulbs into an end-to-end system.
Apple augments its reality by acquiring Metaio
Apple has taken a big step into augmented reality by acquiring Metaio, a German company whose technology has been used by Macy's, BMW and furniture retailer Ikea. Augmented reality systems overlay information on a user's view of the world to help them do things like work, shop or drive. Among Metaio's projects are an interesting augmented reality showroom for Ferrari.
UN backs encryption as defending human rights
Backdoors that would give law enforcement access to encrypted communications might also enable crackdowns on freedom of expression, according to a new report from the United Nations' Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Special rapporteur David Kaye says that encryption tools "provide the privacy and security necessary for the exercise of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in the digital age," in the report, due to be presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council next month, The Washington Post writes. Some officials in the U.S. and U.K. are pushing for tech companies to weaken encryption technology in order to enable government access to user data on their systems.
Salesforce doubles down on big data with new analytics tool
Salesforce's new Wave for Big Data is designed to help business users make sense of their information stores. The new product forges links between Salesforce Analytics Cloud and key "data lake" enablers Google, Cloudera, Hortonworks and New Relic, giving business users access to a wider spectrum of big data.
Avago's $37B deal for Broadcom creates a networking chip giant
Avago Technologies has agreed to buy Broadcom for $17 billion in cash and equity valued at approximately $20 billion, a deal that will create a networking chip giant with a wide variety of products, including components for the burgeoning IoT sector. Both companies' chips are found in wireline and wireless networks. Avago also makes chips for optical networks, while Broadcom's are used in connected home and car equipment and the Internet of Things.
Create connected devices by dragging and dropping: little to no coding skills are required with this do-it-yourself hardware kit from Sony-backed Mesh Project.
One last thing
Speech recognition works fine if you're talking to yourself, but it has long stumbled on conversations: the switch between different voices trips up the technology. Now, IBM researchers are getting over that hurdle, the Wall Street Journal's Robert McMillan reports.