Five things we learned from Google I/O 2015 today

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Today marked the start of Google’s annual developer conference, I/O. Google announced its plans for the future of Android and its hardware. Here are five of the biggest things we learned from the keynote today.

According to a report by TechRadar, Google spent most of the keynote going over the next iteration in the Android OS, Android M. Although the new OS doesn’t look much different from Lollipop, the way it works is much more streamlined. Users will have a much better sense and great control of what apps of access to on the device running Android M. In addition to permissions, Android M is really focussed on power saving and Google introduced two new features to help with that. Android devices will begin to utilize USB-C conncetivity for faster charging times. Android M will also introduce a new “Doze” mode which Google says intelligently powers down your device when not in use to increase standby time. The Verge reports that Google describes the new features functionality as “trading a little bit of app freshness for longer battery life,” and noted that in testing this feature on Nexus 9 tablets “devices with M [lasted] up to two times longer in standby.”

Android Pay is also coming with Android M and will be accepted at 700,000 stores. Users can authorize payments by pressing the phone screen and the feature also supports fingerprint security. Android Pay will be available on Android M devices, but compatibility will go back as far as KitKat.

Google announced its new photo service called Google Photos. This service, which originated as part of Google+, is now a stand alone service that allows users to better organize their photos and more easily share photos across social media, regardless of age of the photo. The service also offers unlimited storage for photos up to 16MP and videos in 1080p – for free! Google Photos is available on Android, iOS, and the web starting today.

Google Maps will soon be able to be used offline including turn-by-turn directions. This is a great feature and will be particularly useful to those that are in rural areas with poor connectivity. In addition to maps and directions, reviews and business hours will also be available offline. Also coming to Maps are transit directions for major cities.

Lastly, HBO Now will be coming to Android this year! The service, originally launched on Apple devices, will soon be available for Android allowing users to watch their favorite HBO shows on their Android devices without having to have a cable or satellite service. All that is needed is a HBO Now subscription service.

Android M is expected to reach Nexus devices late 2015.

Have something to add to this story? What is your favorite feature coming? Keep the conversation going in the comments below.

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