Google execs are live on-stage at Google I/O to kick things off with the official unveiling of Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. The first aspect of the latest version of Android discussed at the event is “Project Butter,” which is a number of enhancements that improves touch responsiveness and overall smoothness of animations and the UI. It also brings the system frame rate up to a consistent 60 frames per second.

Google moved to demos of the redesigned widgets, which scale intelligently around other UI elements, and a new Predictive Keyboard that supports voice input. There was also a demo of redesigned notifications that Google explained are now fully customizable, expandable, and collapsible.

Execs gave a demo of new notifications that expand to offer more information as they reach the top of the list (such as sharing options or artwork related to notification), and they can be expanded and collapsed at any time via gestures. Google next showed improved voice search in Jelly Bean that appears to be its much-rumored Siri-like assistant feature.

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Google moved on to a new feature called “Google Now,” which is a search product that uses customizable cards—such as “Sports” or “Flights”—to keep you up-to-date on data that is important to you and provides personal assistant-like features. For example, cards would give up-to-date information based on your personal preferences, location- update travel information if you are running late, or it can give you sports scores for teams you like based on past Google searches.

Jelly Bean will roll out to Galaxy Nexus, Motorola Xoom, and Nexus S in mid-July with the developer SDK available today.

The 2012 Google I/O Developers Conference starts today at the Moscone Center West in San Francisco, Calif., with events continuing until June 29 at 4:30 p.m. PST.

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