Missed Google I/O 2016? Read my virtual coverage for the event

In a 360 degree live stream video, Google I/O 2016 keynote was full of new announcements and cool stuff that will take Android to the next level. New services, apps, hardware, features and improvements that will be all part of Android N.

There were loads of really nice announcements that made me go WOOHOO and some that I could really care less about, but overall I think Google is doing pretty good this year.

My biggest surprise would be not announcing the official name of Android N, Google decided to leave that job to the public by asking them to vote on the next new name of Android, I’m very much rooting for Nutella here and I won’t deny it.

Google Allo and Due, your new messaging and video conferencing apps

After so many failures (and I really do mean so many: Google Talk, Google+, Google Hangouts), Google decided to hit the reset button on messaging and video and create all new apps that is Android and iOS compatible.

Allo

Google Allo will be the latest attempt to enter the messaging arena with new features that looks really interesting, mainly you’ll be able to use “Incognito mode” ot keep your conversations private even from Google. You’ll also be able to use Google’s search assistance within the app itself, saving you time to do searches within your conversations instead of using another app.

Due

Google Due is the new video conferencing app that Google promises to be super efficient on slow networks. One of the coolest features that it has (called Knock Knock)  is that you would be able to view live feed of the person calling you, giving you the chance to see what kind of conversation you’ll be getting yourself into before answering. It is end to end encrypted and it works based on your phone number instead of login IDs (WOOHOO!).

Google Now? How about Google Assistant? and let’s make it more fun with Google Home

We’re already impressed by the capabilities of Google Now, but that didn’t stop Google from ever trying to improve the heart of their voice search engine. Instead of just throwing commands, now you can have (real?) conversations with Google to make things happen.

If that was not enough, They aimed even higher and created an always listening device to decorate your room and help you without the need to have your phone with you. Google Home, which is a speaker, is the direct competitor of Amazon Echo. It operates using Google Assistant and it can do really neat stuff. It can be connected to your TV, lights and all sort of entertaining systems at home, allowing you to control of that using voice commands. I wonder if half of what it can do will be able to work outside the US though.

Android N is going to be awesome with a ton of new features

There has been a lot of confirmed features coming our way the last couple of months, specifically after using the new Android Beta Program which allows you to install and test drive the new version of Android, but this was the first time that Google announced those features in a keynote.

N

Android N will be focusing on three different areas:

  • Performance: Google is now introducing the Volcun API into Android to allow developers to create visually stunning games (Need for Speed does look really good). The Volcun API will give direct access to the phone GPU resources without sacrificing performance. Other areas of improvement include better battery consumption using a new aggressive version of Dose. A new JIT compiler will boost performance between 30 and 600 percent, this will also make apps 75% faster to  install and use 50% less space, nice!
  • Security: Updates are now upfront on the matter, previously installing them was a pain (get notification, download, restart, wait, wait, wait…) but now Google addressed this problem with a seamless update mechanism which downloads the updates silently and applies them the next time the phone is restarted. The greatest gain here is that the lengthy message “Optimizing Apps” that appear after installing updates are now gone (WOOHOO!). You’ll also get File level encryption for protecting user profiles.
  • Productivity: We asked for it, and we got it. Multitasking split screens and picture-in-picture viewing are now a reality and are happening in Android N, a feature that was only available by custom OEM development like Samsung and LG. Quick Switching between last two apps is also a new feature activated by tapping the recent apps button twice, this will be useful specially for phones with small screens and working with multiple apps. A new Clear All button was also introduced to close all recently used apps instead of closing apps one by one. The app notification has seen some improvement too by giving you the ability to interact with notifications without opening the respective app, we can now also choose how notifications are being handled by deciding to completely block them or show them silently. And oh, Android is the first OS to support Unicode 9, messaging will be a lot more entertaining.

Who has time/storage/bandwidth to install apps? Android Instant Apps has got you covered

Instead of downloading an app to use a small feature or open a link with it, Google is now pushing into a different direction to make things easier for the masses. One of the coolest features announced is Google Instant Apps.

instant-apps

It basically allows you to use applications without fully installing them on your phone. So if you click a link to something that links to an app, Android will run the link without installing the full application, it will only download the required pieces of the app and run it in the background. The good news is that this features is compatible all the way back with Android Jellybean 4.1.

VR All the things, DayDream is now Google’s VR Platform

VR (Virtual Reality) is the hottest topic after mobiles, and everyone is trying to get a piece of that pie. Google is playing it smart. Along side launching their own hardware controller and VR goggles, they’re lunching a VR platform called DayDream with a set of APIs and standards into Android N. This will allow software developers and hardware manufacturers to dip into the VR platform easily.

We heard a lot names already working with Google on DayDream. Samsung, LG, Huawei and HTC are all in, big software companies like EA and Ubisoft are also onboard too.

Wearable is getting a new refresh, looks pretty cool

I admit I have never been into the wearable technology frenzy everyone is going through, but I believe that we’re getting there anytime soon, Google is working hard to make that time come sooner than later by releasing Android Wear Developer Preview 2.0 with lots of new enhancements.

For starters, Android Wear apps can run in a standalone mode by accessing the internet directly over Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or cellular without relying on your phone. New features also include full keyboard (yup, I don’t get it too) and  handwriting recognition to allow easier use of the watch.

So that was it, what do you think? How did Google do this year? Do leave a comment below and do make sure to vote for the Android N name. (Nutella all the way)

Cloud Computing Patterns: What you need to know

Who of you hasn’t bought a computer before? In this age and time, I would say no one. During your buying journey for a new computer, I’m sure you’ve stumbled upon some of the technologies that are used inside it, such as CPU, RAM, Disks and Network. You install a software operating system on top of the hardware you get and you start doing whatever you want with it. Servers are not much different than buying a computer for your own house, except that the components used inside a server are designed to serve a large number of people accessing the data inside those servers.

What does all of this have to do with “Cloud Computing Patterns”? I’m sure you’re wondering by now. My answer would be: if you’re able to tell the limits of a computer or a server, you could grasp the idea behind Cloud Computing Patterns easily. Let me explain.

Cloud Computing Patterns

I have been in the IT business for so long that I can always see over/under utilized servers, companies pour money into buying server hardware only to end up using a fraction of what the hardware can do. I’ve seen my share of the exact opposite scenario too where companies try to stay on a tight budget by buying the bare minimum of hardware requirements to run all the company apps on. Some will argue that Virtualization would be a solution to all of the above, I’ll leave this discussion for another post entirely.

Enter Cloud Computing Patterns to the rescue, a concept that allows you to utilize and use hardware components on the cloud depending on your app needs. A concept much known by the term “Elastic Cloud“. The term came from the idea that if you deploy an application on the cloud, you can configure it to increase or decrease the amount of CPU, RAM, Disks and Network that its using based on current load and other factors you may choose to use.

If you’re wondering why you should know all about this and why you should care, perhaps reading my “Cloud Computing? Anyone?” introductory post to Cloud Computing would be a good idea now.

Alright, lets jump into talking about the five most cloud computing patterns out there, shall we?

  • Static Pattern: If you’re using physical computer or just the default installation of a server on the cloud, you’re using the Static Pattern, you’re not getting the “Elasticity” of the cloud. The resources you have will not scale up or down based on your needs, and you’ll end up paying the same amount for the resources allocated regardless if you’re using them or not. Not our preferred pattern but its faster to deploy in terms of time.

Cloud Computing Pattern: Static Pattern

  • Predictable Bursting Pattern: With this kind of pattern, the resources you’re utilizing are scaled up/down on regular bases and on known times. This is suitable for scenarios where the hardware resources being used are no longer needed and can be scaled down to cut cost, such as the end of a working day where employees are no longer working. The opposite also applies where your apps are in need for more hardware resources to run smoothly, such as the beginning of a working day.

Cloud Computing Pattern: Predictable Bursting

  • Unpredictable Bursting Pattern: Unlike the predictable bursting pattern, we don’t know when a spike of demand will appear to our app, and we don’t have any reading to when or how our app will be utilized. The unpredictable bursting pattern will help in this case by allowing hardware resources to scale up/down based on the app need without user intervention. This is very ideal for scenarios such as a social media site or a news websites where users will be accessing the site at random times based on real time events.

Cloud Computing Pattern: Unpredictable Bursting

  • Growing-Fast Pattern: with this type of cloud patterns, we start small and start scaling up gradually as demand starts to increase. The hardware resources will be added automatically as long as there is demand on the app. This is very useful for startups and companies who are just developing and evaluating new ideas, they start by paying the bare minimum and scale up as demand grows.

Cloud Computing Pattern: Growing-Fast

  • Once in a lifetime Pattern: In this type, the hardware resources are utilized for only one time and then discarded. This scenario is very useful for apps that are used during special events like an online event or the new year celebration. Once the event is done the hardware resources can be safely deleted since they’re no longer in use.

Cloud Computing Pattern: Once in a lifetime

 
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