Google IO 2015: the biggest news from Google's mega conference

Google IO 2015 is a wrap! The company introduced a bunch of stuff during its two-and-a-half-hour Day 1 keynote, where it announced Android M, iOS support for Google Cardboard, a new Google Photos service and much more.

For those unable to attend, read on for all biggest news from the day's keynote and more TechRadar coverage:

Meet Android M and all the good stuff it brings

The newest version of Android made its highly anticipated debut during the keynote. We were treated to a preview of Android M, learning about the improvements it's bringing to the Android ecosystem. Google focused on fixing bugs and adding app permissions with the new build. Apps will ask permission the first time you use a feature, and you don't have to agree to permissions that don't make sense to you.

Android M

You can also look at individual features, like the mic, and see which apps have permission to use them. Chrome custom tabs for developers are also on the way.

Power is a big focus of the new OS, and with that, USB-C support is coming to Android M devices to ensure faster charging. A feature called Doze will help with energy management as well.

Android Doze

There's also a new feature called Now on Tap, allowing users to pull up information at any time on their mobile device, no matter where they are or what they're doing. Reminder cards will also pop up to help users as they navigate through their day.

Android M is coming to the Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Nexus Player in Q3 2015. A developer preview is available today.

Android Pay arrives, so you can forget Google Wallet

Android Pay, new for Android M, was detailed further during the keynote. The new mobile payment service will work at 700,000 stories, including Macy's and McDonald's, and supports fingerprint payments. Users will be able to press their phone screens to authorize a payment, and Google said it's working to standardize fingerprint payments across Android devices.

Android Pay

Android Pay will be available on Android M devices, but it goes all the way down to Android KitKat, too.

Google Photos arrives with free, unlimited storage

The rumors proved true: Google has a new photo service called, creatively, Google Photos. Spun-off from Google+, the service offers better organization, letting users pull up photos from years ago and share any and all on social networks. It's quick, helping users find images organized by collections. It uses machine-learning to help organize pictures.

Google Photos

Search is intelligent, letting users find photos from an event like a sports game, and a single tap and slide gesture lets them select multiple photos at once. Social sharing is a breeze, Google claimed.

Best of all, Google Photos offers free unlimited storage at 16MP and 1080p video. It's available on Android, iOS and web starting today.

Offline Google Maps are coming this year

Always wanted to use your Maps while not connected to a network or Wi-Fi? Now you can, a capability especially crucial for regions of the globe with unreliable connectivity. Voice turn-by-turn directions will work offline, as will reviews and open hours information.

Google Maps

Offline Maps are due later this year. Also on the Maps front: Transit directions for major cities are coming (take that, Apple).

Continuing the offline theme: YouTube Offline will work for 48 hours in certain regions, while Chrome will support offline pages as well.

Google Cardboard will work with iOS devices

There are over 1 million Google Cardboard units in the world right now, a heady number but not as impressive as this: Google Cardboard now supports iOS devices along with Android.

There are also improvements to be had with its design. It now supports devices up to six-inches big and has a magnet button that works with any phone. Instead of needing12 steps to build, it can now be built in three.

Google Cardboard

There's also a new service called Expeditions for schools, which lets teachers take students on a field trip and every student "jumps there together."

Jump VR videos

Speaking of jumping, there's a new project underway called Jump, which essentially lets anyone create VR video for sharing. Google and GoPro created a crazy 360-degree camera rig to capture videos for VR. The rig will be available to the public, and Jump videos will be viewable to all on a little something called YouTube.

GoPro Jump

Wish you could see one of these Jump VR videos in action? Well, it's your lucky day:

Android Wear improvements and a whole lotta apps

Google took some time (hehe) to talk about Android Wear. It's bringing "always on" to apps to the wearable OS, especially useful if you're using Maps. It also revealed there are more than 4,000 apps specifically for Wear currently on the market, compared to the 3,000+ for Apple Watch.

Project Brillo wants to take over your (smart) home

Google is going hard at the Internet of Things, and it has a new underlying OS to do just that. It's called Project Brillo, and Google worked with Nest to develop it. It's derived from Android, has minimal system requirements and is secure, Google's Sundar Pichai said.


Not much else was revealed aside from a programming language called Weave, but it shows Google has more than passing interesting in IoT.

HBO Now coming to Android TV and Chromecast

That's right - HBO's streaming service is headed to Android TV and Chromecast, just like it did for Apple TV. Look for HBO Now in the Google Play Store.

Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle was previously a news editor at TechRadar, leading consumer tech news and reviews. Michelle is now a Content Strategist at Facebook.  A versatile, highly effective content writer and skilled editor with a keen eye for detail, Michelle is a collaborative problem solver and covered everything from smartwatches and microprocessors to VR and self-driving cars.