The yearly Google I/O conference is a much-awaited event not just for developers and tech geeks, but even for ordinary users of Google products since they usually make major announcements that will impact our digital life. But even Google I/O is not enough to stay Update Wednesday, as Google just announced massive updates to such apps and utilities like Drive, Search and Maps.
The Google Drive for Android is now updated to make it faster and easier to look for files, as well as features where you can see who else has access to the file, what were the last changes made and even enable offline access for your device for those times where the Internet will fail you. The web version of Google Drive will also be updated in the next few weeks with a new look and speedier access as well. They have also localised Google Drive into 70 different languages, and optimized some of the features to make it easier for visually impaired users. Meanwhile, Google Drive for Business now has a premium offering for companies at $10/user/month. This already includes unlimited storage, uploading files up to 5TB (what kind of file is that big?) and better security and admin controls.
Meanwhile, Google Search on Android got even easier as the update allows the “Ok google” hotword to be said from anywhere in your phone, not just on the Google search page. It will make it more convenient when you’re searching for something and you’re in other apps or even from the lock screen. You will also now have Audio History on your Google Search app where it takes a look at your past voice searches to build a profile and make your searches more accurate. It even studies how you pronounce certain words or even the cadence of your voice so it can understand you better. But if you think that’s a violation of your privacy already, you can opt-out of that feature.
Google Maps has also made small but significant changes to the app. When you view your map, there are now search results on the side which may help you make a quick decision on which restaurant to eat in that area. For those who spend most of their time walking or commuting, the transit results of your search now also show your total walking time to your destination or when is the next scheduled bus or train to that place. Maps also now has an Access Terrain view to give you a 3D view of the area if you’re looking for a place that has a wide landscape or elevated view.