Last week Google hosted its developers conference - Google IO 2015 - at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. This was not a mobile-only event, but because Android is a massive end-point for collecting data and reaching users, almost every announcement had a mobile focus or application. Sure, there was an announcement about a revamped Google Photos that comes with unlimited storage for pics and videos. But the announcements from Google IO 2015 that will likely have the biggest impact on mobile marketing and mobile strategies are Android Pay, Now on Tap and Project Brillo - Android for your Smart Home.
Despite multiple attempts at creating a digital wallet, Google is moving Google Wallet on mobile devices to Android Pay. The challenge for Google has been and may continue to be they don't own the hardware. So when Samsung adds a payments app - do they pull Android Pay from their default Android OS? What could make this effort different from previous attempts is both the precedent set by Apple with Apple Pay, and broader partnership with financial institutions. A "Pay with Android Pay" button for mobile shopping apps should be an obvious addition as an option for shoppers. It is expected Android Pay (and Apple Pay for that matter) should function like Paypal has for the web - my details are already stored so entering my card info is not a roadblock to a sale, or customer leakage point.
Google Now on Tap
Part contextual awareness, part knowledge graph - Google Now on Tap looks to be almost a super-intuitive assistant in your pocket. Scenarios to explain the application include:
- clicking home button (to activate Now), and asking "What is his real name?" for the artist you are listening to on Spotify. (This was the example used in the I/O demo - and Skrillex's name is Sonny John Moore - FYI).
- texting restaurant plans, activating Now, seeing options for reviews of restaurant, option to reserve a table, a map etc...
A simpler version of Android specifically for the "Connected" or "Smart" home. The promise is that Project Brillo provides a platform for hardware manufacturers and developers that is cost effective enough to use for light bulbs. This is mobile news because Project Brillo enables a connection from a mobile app to the physical world. It is easy to think of use cases for turning off and on lights, shutting garage door, adjusting the thermostat. When a mobile app can control a connected physical object - not just lightbulbs but anything - we start to appreciate how ambitious this Google I/O event was.