Tag Archives: Virtual Reality

Google I/O 2017: What you need to know

Google I/O 2017 (17th-19th May) has come to a close and the internet giant has yet again blown away our minds with their adventurous yet futuristic vision.

The predominant theme for this year’s event was AI — Google is adding AI to anything and everything and it is, to be honest, pretty damn cool!

In case you missed the event, we’ve got you covered. Here are the key announcements which we, at PRDXN, are very excited about:

  • Google.ai — Research and tools from Google and its Brain Team are made available to everyone. This is AI done the right way!
  • Kotlin + Android — Now you can code your Android apps in Kotlin instead of Java, adds more features, more options for developers.
  • Daydream 2.0 — You won’t need a PC or phone to experience VR. It will track virtual space with “WorldSense” powered by its Tango augmented reality system. Google is partnering up with HTC and Lenovo to build these standalone VR headsets.
Standalone VR headsets with Daydream
  • Google Assistant — Started from Pixel, this has made its way to millions of Android AND — wait for it — iOS devices! It now adds third-party apps support, allowing you to do more with such integrations.
  • Android O — This was one of the most anticipated news with 2 Billion people using Android devices, 800 million monthly active users. Now available in beta, Android O (still not named) adds in features like picture-in-picture, notification dots and lots more.

No, that’s not all, by no means. Here are some of the other things that Google is showcased in its annual developer conference:

  • Google Home v2 — Stepping up the game, adds proactive assistance — nudges when Google thinks you need it. Have an upcoming appointment? It can alert you to traffic delays in advance for the event, and more.
  • Google Lens — Point the camera at something and it will figure out what that is. Whoa! (Coming soon)

With all the buzz this year around AI and VR/AR, it is an exhilarating time for us here at PRDXN (and developers everywhere) as we take steps toward embracing these into our products and services.

Lowdown on the highs from F8 2017

Facebook’s F8 2017 conference (April 18/19th) is over now and there is a lot to takeaway from it. Here are some of the things that we, at PRDXN, are HYPED about:

React VR

  • Anybody with experience in building React apps should be able to build React VR apps pretty easily
  • React VR allows developers to build 360-degree virtual reality experiences with the help of JavaScript
  • Sweet! React combined with Virtual Reality! We (PRDXN) have been working with React for about 2 years now. So we’re damn excited that Facebook is using React to build Virtual Reality experiences. Woot woot!

Facebook Spaces (VR — Virtual Reality)

  • Oculus Rift + Facebook = 3D virtual hangout with friends
  • More than chat messages; it brings voice and avatar body language
  • WILL expand to other VR platforms

What we (PRDXN) love about this…Facebook’s cracked the “human experience” again without any (?!?) warning. Firstly, they brought us a social platform we didn’t even know we wanted or would enjoy. Now there’s this…

As humans, part of what we love about being with each other is observing things together, and sharing our observations, impressions, analysis, etc. on what we’ve jointly observed — i.e., seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time with your best bud, etc. This is what Facebook Spaces is all about.

Camera Effects Platform (AR — Augmented Reality)

  • Facebook copying Snapchat? No, they’re just getting started
  • Opens up Facebook’s “AR Studio” to the developer community, unlike Snapchat (come on, share!)
  • Wearables still need time to evolve/reach customers; cameras are already there!
  • Facebook: ‘We want to make cameras the first augmented reality platform’

…Got to this point and confused as to how Augmented Reality differs from Virtual Reality? Then check this out.

React Fiber

  • Incoming React 16, will be a rewrite of React based on their learnings with emphasis on extensibility
  • “We wanted to start with a new foundation that could power everything we do going forward” says Ben Alpert
  • Designed to improve React’s suitability in areas such as animation, layout and gestures
  • Fully backwards compatible with existing React-based applications and Facebook is confident that this would not be a problem; still something for Developers to keep an eye out for

Relay Modern

  • New version of Relay, used for building data-heavy applications
  • Rewritten for performance and extensibility, same as React Fiber
  • Simplifies the API, adds features and improves performance; more here

Other highlights:

  • Litho — declarative UI framework for Android, already in use in Facebook’s Android app
  • 360-degree Cameras: Paving the way for future of VR by enabling content creators
  • Bots for Facebook Workplace, adds file integration, partners its way into enterprise-grade compliance
  • Brain-computer interfaceDetects you speaking silently in your head, and translates it into text; all this without invasive implants
  • If Brain-computer interface sounds too futuristic, here comes skin-hearing(!?) — ability to hear through the skin
  • Instagram gets offline mode for Android, coming soon for iOS
  • Updates to Facebook Analytics, Facebook Login and Facebook Account Kit