At Google I/O 2017, there have been a slew of bulletins in regards to the ascendency of the Google Assistant and the continued enlargement of Android. However smack between these two was information about updates to Android TV, the area the place a lot of Google’s current efforts overlap.
One of many huge modifications Android TV customers will see within the coming months is Android O arriving on their units. The brand new TV homescreen for O strikes six content material shortcuts to the highest, which customers can edit and reorder. That is the place you’d put the Netflix or YouTube app.
The remainder of the web page is given over to new channels supplied by content material producers. Netflix, for instance, can put a pattern of its choices in a horizontal scrolling bar. Suppliers may create particular channels. In a hands-on demo with Android O, I noticed each a YouTube channel and a separate channel for trending content material on YouTube.
Content material suppliers create the channels, however customers can edit which of them seem on their homescreens and the order wherein they seem. A brand new onboarding expertise will give customers an opportunity to decide on some channels, comparable to enterprise or know-how information. Android TV O may detect when you’ve got content material apps put in in your telephone, and can robotically add these to the homescreen.
Movies on Android TV will even have auto-playing previews in Android O. As you spotlight the static pictures displaying completely different reveals, they start to play after a brief delay. It is definitely partaking, however personally I used to be turned off by the concept of auto-playing something.
This 12 months, Google introduced that the Google Assistant will probably be coming to much more platforms — including iPhones. However Android TV will even be enjoying host to Google’s Alexa competitor. It’s going to even be a large rollout, coming to Android TV units operating Marshmallow, Nougat, and O. The Assistant will even be out there on skinned Android TV units, just like the Nvidia Shield streaming field and even branded cable bins from cable suppliers.
On TV, Google Assistant will operate a lot the identical as Alexa and Siri on their respective streaming bins. You’ll be able to ask it to play films, carry out searches, and so forth. The Assistant does deliver some extra delicate tips to the TV, nevertheless.
For instance, you possibly can proceed to have a dialog with the Assistant, and reference earlier outcomes. You’ll be able to ask “What’s Stranger Issues” and see a card speaking in regards to the hit Netflix present. You’ll be able to comply with that up with a second query asking “what number of episodes is it?” The Assistant understands that by “it” you imply Stranger Issues and it’ll show the reply. All of that is accomplished on-screen, even whereas different video content material is enjoying.
I’ve an Apple TV at residence, and I have been shocked at how way more succesful Siri on the iPhone is in comparison with its TV counterpart. The Google Assistant on Android TV, alternatively, appears to be as succesful as ever. You’ll be able to ask the Assistant how lengthy it is going to take to get to work when you’re watching Netflix, and a card will seem on the underside third of the display screen with the related data.
This final level was briefly touched on through the Google I/O keynote presentation. The Google Assistant and the Google Dwelling will quickly be making the most of close by screens to current related data in response to voice queries. It may push driving instructions to your telephone or show a climate report on a Chromecast related TV, for instance.
This 12 months’s Google I/O was very much centered around the concept of Google being an “AI first” firm. Placing the Google Assistant into the corporate’s big-screen expertise is certainly a step in that route, however whether or not folks will change their habits, asking questions in regards to the climate or shares to a TV, stays to be seen.