Google’s Modular ARA Phone Is An Incredible WIP

The Google ARA modular smartphone project, allowing users to swap out modules of the phone with new functions as desired, has been in works for a while now. We haven’t heard much from the project for some time, but it’s still very much active. Project Ara now has its own business unit within Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) group, and the group’s Head of Creative Blaise Bertrand confirmed Project Ara’s progress. The phone will be available in the last quarter of this year for developers, with a consumer release in 2017.

The prototype that was shown on stage at Google I/O developers conference was considerably thinner and sleeker than when it was first announced. It will support up to six modules, and has been dubbed the “world’s first UniPro network.” Partners and companies interested in the project include E Ink (possibly for tiny secondary displays), Toshiba, Gotenna, and Sony Pictures. Check out the video above to learn more about the Google Ara modular smartphone.

Google Introduces Android & iOS Compatible One-To-One Video Calling App

In addition to launching a new AI-powered instant messaging app, today Google also introduced its one-to-one video calling app. Aptly dubbed “Duo,” the app is a simple, fast video calling app for everyone – whether on Android or iOS, a fast or slow connection. Just like Allo, Duo is also based on the user’s phone number, allowing them to reach anyone in their phonebook.

Duo calls are in crisp HD video (up to 720p) and audio, and has been optimized to work well with all types of network, even if bandwidth is limited it adjusts quality so you’re still able to connect. It also seamlessly transitions calls between cellular and Wi-Fi, so you don’t need to worry about what network you’re on.

Additionally, Duo was also built with privacy and security in mind and all calls on Duo are end-to-end encrypted.

Watch the video above to learn more, and expect both Allo and Duo to become available this summer on Android and iOS.

Google Unveils New AI-Powered Instant Messaging App to Take On WhatsApp

Some hours back at the Google I/O developers conference, CEO Sundar Pichai unveiled Allo – the tech giant’s fresh start into instant messaging. Compatible for Android and iOS, Allo is absolutely different from Google Hangouts and G Chat programs that everyone is used to – it somewhat favors Whatsapp, but with more options.

For starters, users can guide their fingers to shrink or enlarge texts with a feature Google calls “WhisperShout.” Users can also doodle on photos before sending it out to their contacts.

Here’s the big deal about Allo, aside from regular conversation, the app uses artificial intelligence, which makes it capable of learning a user’s tendencies over time and, through its Smart Reply feature, can suggest responses. What’s more impressive, is the fact that Smart Reply can generate an automated report, to be used or not, when it identifies that a photo has been sent.

The bigger deal, is the fact that Allo will allow users to activate an in-built Google search assistant, a conversational interface that, upon receiving a question, will scan Google’s extensive database for an answer or perform a task like reserving a table at a restaurant, removing the need to navigate away from the app to use the Search function. Lastly, similar to Incognito Mode on the Chrome browser, Allo can encrypt conversations end-to-end to ensure a higher level of privacy.

Allo will be available for the public sometime this summer, for free download on Android and iOS.

Google Launches Project Sunroof

Google has just launched its latest online tool, Project Sunroof, to map the planet’s solar potential of planet, one rooftop at a time. Project Sunroof uses information from Google Maps, and takes into account everything from the angle of the roof, the weather, and obstructions like trees and chimneys, to tell users how many solar panels they would need for their structure and how much money one could save on electric bill by way of solar power. Users can then see how buying or leasing panels affects savings, and then send an estimate to local installers, instantly. Project Sunroof is currently limited to Boston, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Fresno, so if you live in one of these areas, you can proceed to google.com/sunroof to enter your address and figure out how much solar energy could save you. Anyone can also sign up via the website to be notified when Project Sunroof expands to their local neighborhood.