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Google I/O is happening now, but the keynote happened yesterday. You probably didn't have three hours free to watch it, but you may be curious about what's in the Google product pipeline.
Smartwatches. An Android visual overhaul. Car stereos. Fitness trackers. A major Google Docs update. And a clear vision: Google as your constant companion, handling everything.
Google Docs Just Became Viable
Google Docs is a great app, especially for collaborative writing. But for the most part, legal professionals still flock to Microsoft Office. Why? Familiarity is a big reason, but Google Docs also lacked a vital feature: redlining.
With "Suggestive Edits," Google finally adds a track changes equivalent to its already capable word processor.
Another huge upgrade: you can now seamlessly edit Microsoft Word documents, without losing formatting, and without converting back-and-forth between .docx and Google's format, reports Ars Technica.
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What is L? It's taking Google Now's card-based interface and stuffing it into the rest of the operating system. It's a minimalist visual tweak with lots of bright colors. Google calls the new scheme "Material Design" and it's not just for Android -- the bright colors, card-based interface, and minimalism will be pushed across all of Google's products in a quest for a singular design scheme, reports Engadget.
Also, and far more importantly: Google's adding a kill switch to allow users to remotely wipe their lost devices. Apple introduced the same feature in iOS7 and iPhone thefts plummeted shortly thereafter.
All Android Everything
Google wants to be your one, your only, your everything. In order to do this, it's putting Android in everything: Android TV, Android Wear (smartwatches and other wearables), Android Auto, and of course, your Android phone.
Android apps (and notifications) will now work on Google's low-cost Chromebooks, which makes those pseudo-netbooks an even more viable choice for a student's computer or an on-the-road laptop (especially with the Google Docs update).
This could be unspeakably convenient -- imagine texts from your office popping up on your watch while you're on the train, or your car stereo, and you can respond by voice-to-text. Or your watch alerts you that in order to make that deposition, you need to leave now, because there is traffic on the freeway.
Always connected. All the time. It's convenient. And creepy.