Google IO Conference Keynote Rolls out Amazing New Features

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Remember watching Star Trek, where the crew members could just speak to their computer and it would instantly know what they were referring to and provide them with that information? Well, nerds are ahead of schedule on developing that computer, and they work at Google.

Google kicked off their sixth annual three-day IO conference for software developers today with a three-hour keynote talk announcing new developments. The tech behemoth has already announced some groundbreaking improvements to not only their flagship search product but to many of their other products as well. We’ve rounded up some of the big ones for you here:

The biggest change, of course, is the “Star Trek Computer,” a phrase used multiple times during the keynote. This change comes practically through an upgrade to Google’s new search feature as well as to their Chrome browser on both desktop and phone. While logged into the browser, users can simply say “Ok Google,” and then make their search. But instead of searching for things like you normally do, the new search is conversational. After searching for a place to go, you can simply say “Ok Google, how far is that from here?” and Search will automatically detect what “it” refers to and where “here” is, and provide you with your immediate answer (in minutes) as well as links to driving directions and other info. There are a lot of other upgrades to search as well to make it more conversational like being able to say “Ok Google, show me pictures of x” and it will automatically pull up images instead of the standard search results.

All of these changes are integrated into another of Google’s new Maps app. The app has been totally overhauled from its previous version and shifts its focus again to a more personalized approach. In addition to a completely new look and new back-end features, the app allows you to use the map in the way that you think of the world, instead of as a map. When you’re logged in, it will show you reviews from your friends, places you’ve visited, and contextual information based on where you’ve been and what you like. It also shows you results for your search like “sushi restaurant” directly on the map instead of as a sidebar.

One of the changes that probably won’t get as much attention, but is still significant, is the upgrade to Google+. The social networking site is getting a facelift to be more congruent with other Google services, but also has a host of impressive features that blow Facebook out of the water – at least to the few people who use it regularly. The new Google+ will automatically pick the best photos from your albums, and allows you to edit your photos with a simple interface that doesn’t require complex technical knowledge. New features will be rolling out today and over the next few days.

And the biggest business change that rolls out today is the announcement of Google Play‘s All Access service. This service allows users to stream music from Google Play’s massive database, create radio stations, and save music for later listening – all for $9.99 a month. The service poses a major threat to Spotify, which has most of the features of Google’s service for the same price, but with less integration into a huge app ecosystem like Google has.

As you can see, us nerds are incredibly excited about the future of what Google has to offer. Stay tuned for more announcements from this year’s Google IO!

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.