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Android M Announced By Google At Annual I/O Conference

Google announced the upcoming version of the Android operating system, Android M, at its annual Google I/O developer conference on May 28. The Android M operating system, which the developer oriented pre-release version of was made available on May 30, will primarily concentrate on the platform’s usability and stability.

The full version of the Android M operating system will become available later this year and there’s to be a lot more emphasis on the quality of the platform instead of its appearance. In tradition with last year’s Google I/O, where Android (5.0) Lollipop was announced as the “Android L” OS, the Android M platform has yet to receive an official codename.

The preview will only be available for Google Nexus 5, 6, 9 and Nexus Player.

Speaking at Google I/O, David Burke, the vice president of engineering at Google, was quoted in a First Post report as having said that the tech giant plans to integrate a lot of the features made by Android developers.

Just like Apple’s upcoming iOS 9, Android M will also focus on optimization when it comes to the speed and battery life that are central to the user experience. By far the biggest news in Android M is the expanded role of Google Now. Up until now, Google Now has been a dedicated Google feature which ties together the information stored between Google apps in order to provide useful contextual data as its needed. But the feature, according to Forbes, is now taking a huge leap forward with Android M, as Google Now expands to offer third-party app integration capable of generating contextual responses from their data.

Google calls their new implementation of Google Now their “Now on Tap” feature; a new feature which opens up a lot of possibilities. A new shortcut, activated by a long press the home button, triggers Now on Tap within a compatible app and, in the example of Gmail, pulls up useful data based on email content. The company’s demo shows a discussion of the Tomorrowland movie in which the Now On Tap feature pulls up a summary of the film as well as its ratings and local screening times all done within Gmail itself.

The web browsing experience with the Chrome browser is also to receive a shot in the arm, as Chrome Custom tabs, a new feature, is designed to let users include webviews within a particular app without the need to switch to the Chrome browser on a smartphone. The Chrome browser will run atop apps user’s clicking links within apps.

Android M will let developers add in an auto-verify feature within their code, which is intended to help open links within respective apps – provided that the apps are installed on the phone. In the background, the Android M OS will verify the link with the app’s server and post-authentication will proceed to open the link within the app itself, without asking the user where he or she wants to open the link, according to the aforementioned First Post report.

Having beaten Apple to the punch with Google Wallet some years ago, the stagnation of the service has translated into the company having been left nipping at the heels of Apple Pay since it was introduced with iOS 8 just last year. The company is looking to change all that with its similarly named service, Android Pay.

Google claims its new mobile payment system will work with any merchant who employs touch-free terminals which there are over 700,000 of in the United States alone and Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discovery, Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T. Android Pay support will be built directly into the core of Android M, giving users the ability to pay for apps in Google Play and make purchases within third party apps. Google indicated that Groupon, GrubHub, Lift, Target and OpenTable are just some of the companies which have begun to prepare their own apps for the debut of Android M and Google Pay.

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