At Google I/O 2016, the Mountain View company decided — although admittedly not an entirely new theme — that it would be a good idea to spread its announcements across three days. The keynote showed off Google’s vision for the future: virtual reality, its new AI and machine learning initiatives, Google Home hardware to take advantage of them, and a few sprinkles of Android Wear 2.0 goodness. The second day saw the announcement of the Play Store coming to Chrome OS.
But the third day was ATAP day, admittedly my favorite day of Google I/O. Last year the Advanced Technologies and Projects group at Google showed off Project Jacquard, Project Soli, some more details on Project Ara, and more. And then the company went silent. For pretty much an entire year.
Maybe that’s a good thing, as Google tends to show its projects and technologies off a little early in general. It’s not exactly out of Google’s character to show a product or service, say that it’s coming in 6 months, it not arrive for 12 months or 18 months, and then the final product share hardly any resemblance to what was originally announced. Admittedly that’s happening with some of ATAP’s projects either way (I’m looking at you, Ara), but at least it’s not a constant barrage of teases and false hope.
Anyway, Google ATAP finally came out of hiding on the third day of I/O yesterday, and with it came updates on Project Jacquard, Project Soli, Project Ara, and Spotlight Stories. Jacquard brought the announcement of the first retail product based on the tech, Ara brought a little update on how progress is coming including the most current prototype device with new module connectors (and promise of a dev kit coming soon), and the Spotlight Stories mention came with some progress in VR storytelling. All cool stuff.
But Soli is what makes my jaw drop.