Google IO 2016: all the news from Google's huge event

This year's Google IO was your ticket to Android N, Daydream VR, Google Home, self-driving cars and more

Update: Google IO 2016 is in the books, folks, and what a week it was.

While the last day of most conferences is reserved for early flights home, Google went ahead and revealed more about Project Ara and Project Jacquard, two far-out projects from its ATAP division, on Day 3.

We have a full rundown of Google's jam-packed keynote below. Android N, Google Daydream, Android Wear 2.0, Google Home and the new Allo and Duo apps were the stars of the kickoff session, though there was plenty more to sink our teeth in the days that followed.

You'll find a full breakdown of the major highlights from the keynote below, and be sure to check out our round-up of the 8 biggest announcements from Google IO 2016 for the news you can't miss.

We also saw the Google self-driving car for ourselves, and snapped plenty of pictures to prove it (and, of course, to show you what it's all about). Check out 17 photos of the Google self-driving car to get up close and personal with it.

Here's the latest from Google IO:

All the news from the Google IO 2016 keynote

Android N

Google isn't sure what to name Android N, so it's inviting the public to submit ideas. It does reserve the right to pick the winner, however, so don't expect the new Android to be called "Namey McNameface."

Android N is also getting improvements on the graphics and runtime performance front, security enhancements (seamless updates and file-based encryption, namely), and easier multi-tasking. A full-blown version of Android N will be available to everyone later this summer.

Google Assistant

The first major reveal was Google Assistant, a new personal AI for users. It lets users ask queries much as they would in the search engine, but in a Siri-like set-up.

You can ask for Pablo Picasso's first name, sports scores and to play a song you've had stuck in your head all day.

Google Home

Just where is Google Assistant going to live? In Google Home, of course.

Pichai gave a shout out to Amazon Echo in announcing the new device, which is a white-and-gray Wi-Fi speaker that helps you handle everyday tasks. It plays music and lets you control smart home devices, including Nest products. You can, of course, ask Google Home anything you want to know, a la Google search.

Search is built in, drawing on 17 years of innovation to "answer questions difficult for other assistants to handle."

You can check a restaurant reservation, and, if it needs to change, have Google Home message a friend that you'll be having dinner later than expected. You can also "enjoy your entertainment more easily than ever," set alarms, and other tedious tasks you'd rather have a personal assistant handle than yourself.

Google Home will be available later this fall.


Google went right into its next announcement, a new app called Allo. It includes Google Assistant integration, smart photo recognition and a focus on emoji. It taps into neural networks and Google search to smarten up your text conversations.

Allo taps into your conversation history to come up with suggestions of what it thinks you want to say as a response. Responses will be personalized based on how you converse as well.

It features an Incognito Mode, which includes end-to-end encryption, message expiration and private notifications. If you shut down the chat it'll be deleted and gone forever, perfect for private conversations.

Allo will be available later this summer for iOS and Android.


Then came the announcement of Duo, a simple one-to-one video calling up for everyone.

Duo is the video companion to Allo, and includes a feature called Knock-Knock that lets you see a stream of whomever is calling you before you answer. That way, Google says, you can see who's calling you and what they're doing before you start a conversation.

Duo will be available later this summer for iOS and Android.

Google Daydream

Google has announced Daydream, a new VR platform built on Android N that will arrive this autumn. Similar to the home view you find inside of Oculus Rift, Google Daydream is an all-in-one experience that brings games, apps, movies and even the Google Play Store in its entirety into a VR headset.

There was no Android VR headset to show off, even on Day 2 of Google IO, though Google has come up with a reference design for other manufacturers to build off of as well as compete with. It's the same idea as its Nexus phone devices.

Google also displayed a small, Wii-like remote that provides motion control 15 different ways to interact with VR games so far, meaning this prototype hardware could evolve down the line.

Several Daydream-ready devices will be launching this year from the likes of Samsung, HTC and other popular manufacturers. That Huawei VR headset we tested out last month may have been an early preview of what to expect from third-party Daydream VR designs.

Google IO 2016

You'll soon be able to download Android apps via the Google Play Store on Chrome OS computers, confirming rumors that Google's two operating systems would play together nicely at Google IO.

All of a sudden, those best Chromebook laptops look like real solutions to your everyday computing tasks thanks to the addition of millions of useful Android apps.

At the start, apps work with a trio of touchscreen-enabled laptops: ASUS Chromebook Flip, Acer Chromebook R11 and the latest Chromebook Pixel. There's more cross-compatibility to come, too.

Oddly, while this feels like the beginning stages of the Android being folded into Chrome OS, the big news didn't get announced on stage at the Google IO keynote. Glad you read this, right?

Android Wear 2 0

The next major announcement was Android Wear 2.0. Developers can download a preview of it starting today, and it will come to all users in the fall.

Some improvements include the ability to show any app data on any watch face, improved handwriting recognition, and a big update for Google Fitness. Even better news for fitness fans is Google will now allow apps to talk to one another - so if you bring in calories in your nutrition app, you can offset that with your running app.

Android Instant apps

Finally, Google announced Instant Android Apps, which lets you instantly access an app without needing to download it.

Android Instant Apps takes Google's concept of Accelerated Mobile Pages, which loads webpages near-instantly, to Android apps. Users will no longer need to download an app in order to use its features.

It's only in preview as Google says it will take a lot of time to get right, but it holds exciting possibilities.


News Editor (US)

As the US News Editor, Michelle (Twitter, Google+) keeps her eye on all things tech with particular interest on phones, tablets and finding out who the people are behind the devices. Any phone that can survive a regular (accidental) drop has her vote for best handset. Michelle previously worked covering local news in the Bay Area and has been with TechRadar since July 2012.