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Google gives developers more monetization options with Payment API, redesigned AdMob, and Play store ads

While Google’s Marketing Next conference is next week, the company had some developer-specific ads news to share at its I/O 2017 developer conference. The company highlighted three improvements for developers: the Google Payment API, a redesigned AdMob, and

Google has expanded its payment solutions with the Google Payment API, which lets merchants and developers offer their users to pay with credit and debit cards saved to their Google Account. Payment options include a credit or a debit card previously saved via Android Pay, a payment card used to transact on the Play Store, or a form of payment stored via Chrome. They can use these saved payment options in third-party apps and mobile sites, as well as in Google Assistant.

For users, the API means faster checkout as they are more likely to be able to have a saved card when they see the option to pay with Google on supported apps or sites. For developers, the API means faster checkout, more conversions, increased sales, and fewer abandoned carts.

Google has completely redesigned AdMob, which has paid over $3.5 billion in ads revenue to developers across 1 million apps on Android and iOS. Rebuilt from the ground up, AdMob has embraced Google’s Material Design on desktop and mobile. For example, it’s now easier to pick an app, check out its key metrics, and…

What’s New in Android O, Arriving Summer 2017

Google I/O 2017 keynote is in the books, and as usual, Google showed us a preview of the latest version of Android. Codenamed O, the next iteration of Google’s mobile operating system is coming this summer, but you can get your hands on the beta right now. Here are the best features you’ll see when it drops.

Just like with Android N, Google is offering a formal beta program for Android O. Device support for this build is much smaller than it was for the N preview, however, with only a handful of units being eligible:

  • Nexus 6P
  • Nexus 5X
  • Google Pixel
  • Google Pixel XL
  • Nexus Player
  • Pixel C

If you have any of those devices, you can jump in on the beta here. A word of caution, however: I do not recommend using this if it’s your only phone. This is very much a beta and not meant for daily use. You have been warned.

Not so brave? Here’s a list of what you’ll get when Android O drops this summer.

Fluid Experiences

Google is bringing a new set of features to Android O that it calls “Fluid Experiences”. It includes Picture in Picture, Notification Dots, Autofill, and Smart Text Selection. Here’s a brief look at each one.

Picture in Picture Puts One App Above Another

In Android Nougat (7.x), we got the ability to run two apps on the screen at once with Multi-window. While a super useful feature in its own right, it’s not always best solution. So with O, Google is bringing Picture in Picture mode to the small screen. This will let users open an app in the foreground, while keeping something like a YouTube video running in a smaller window on top. The early implementation looks really solid so far.

Notification Dots Let You Know What Apps Have Notifications

If you’ve ever used something like Nova Launcher that has built-in notification “badges,” then you already know what Notification Dots are all about. Basically, this a quick way to see pending notifications (aside from using the notification bar, of course) on home screen icons. Unfortunately, they are exactly what the name suggests: dots. Not numbers or anything of the sort. It’s also unclear if these will work in the app drawer as well.

One cool thing about Notification Dots is the long-press action. With the long-press features introduced with Pixel Launcher, you are able to do more with home screen icons, and Notification Dots takes this a step further by allowing you to actually see the notification by long-pressing the icon. It’s rad.

Autofill Passwords in Apps

Chrome has had autofill features for a long time—be it passwords or form data. Now that feature is coming to Android apps as well. For example, if Chrome has your Twitter or Facebook login credentials saved, the app will autofill and login on your Android phone. This is a feature that’s way overdue, and I’m so glad to see it coming front and center in Android O.

Smart Text Selection Gives You Context-Aware Shortcuts

Google Assistant arrives on iPhone

At its I/O 2017 developer conference today, Google announced Google Assistant is coming to iOS today as a standalone app, rolling out to the U.S. first. Until now, the only way iPhone users could access Google Assistant was through Allo, the Google messaging app nobody uses.

Scott Huffman, vice president of Google Assistant engineering, made the announcement onstage. He also revealed that Google Assistant is already available on over 100 million Android devices. That’s Google’s way of hinting to developers that they should start building for the tool.

Huffman also added that Google Assistant is becoming available in more languages on both Android and iOS (it’s still English-only today). Support for French, German, Brazilian-Portuguese, and Japanese is coming later this summer while Italian, Spanish, and Korean will be available by the…

Android O, Google Assistant and augmented reality: What to expect at Google I/O

Google’s biggest event of the year is about to get underway.

The company’s developers conference, Google I/O, is just hours away so naturally the rumor mill has already kicked into high gear. At this year’s event, we expect to hear much more about the next version of Android, Google’s plans for its Assistant, and what’s going on with its VR platform, Daydream.

Of course, as with every year, there are bound to be a few surprises as well. But for now, here’s a look at everything we’re expecting to see (and, in some cases not see) at I/O.

Android O(reo?)

Though Google already released the first developer preview for Android O (the version of Android after N, or Nougat), I/O is when we’ll finally hear about what’s next for Android in much, much, more detail. Given what we’ve seen in the preview, though, we know improvements to notifications and battery life are likely to be a big focus. We also know customizable app icons for different device types, picture-in-picture and improved autofill are also on the table.

Image: oreo

As for the name, it’s anyone’s guess. The company could go the crowd-source route like it did last year, or it could have the name already picked out. The current favorite, though, seems to be Android Oreo — and not just because it’s one of the only sugary treats that starts with the letter “O.”

Earlier this year, Oreo released a mobile game that encourages users to snap photos of cookies with their phones in order to virtually “dunk” the cookies through space. The game, which uses…

Google published, and then pulled, an I/O action for Google Home

Google appears to have launched a voice app to talk to you about its annual I/O developer conference, set to take place May 17-19 at the Shoreline Ampitheatre in Mountain View, California. Unfortunately, the conversation action made by Google for its assistant on the Google Home smart speaker didn’t work.

Repeated attempts by VentureBeat to speak with the Google I/O 17 action about the I/O keynote speech, the date, and location — questions the action tells you to ask it on Google Home app — were met with silence.

Around 2 p.m. PT Monday the action was pulled from the Google Home app and could no longer be called upon when speaking with the Google Assistant on Google Home.

Based on news and activity in recent months, a broad range of potential announcements could be made at Google I/O as it relates to the Assistant and the Google Home smart speaker, both of which made their debut at I/O last year.

Perhaps Google could release its own smart speaker with computer vision to compete with Alexa’s new Echo Look.

Or, instead of going for fashion and computer vision, the next-gen Google Home could go for utility and quality. Last month The Information…