Developers eager to try their hand at something new were given a lot of options as Google IO 2016 kicked off today.
A lot of the news was focused on platforms enhancements and completely new experiences, like video calling app Allo and virtual reality platform Daydream. There were also a host of improvements for the hear and now. One of the biggest rounds of applause was for new automated testing features that lets you record a series of taps in your app, and then turn that recording into Espresso code that can be used for automated testing in the future.
Google also announced a number of improvements to Firebase, the mobile cloud services company it acquired 18 months ago. One key component is user analytics, similar to Google Analytics for mobile apps:
Google's existing push messaging tools were also integrated into Firebase and rebranded Firebase Cloud Messaging (FCM).
For those looking a little farther to the future, Google gave a video demo of its new VR framework Daydream, including hardware specifications that it said it would be making available to select partners for a launch date of this fall.
Oh, and Google also opened up a new feature that makes it easy for users to get a little bit of the benefit of your app without actually having to install it, a technique Google calls Instant Apps that provides a slimmed-down experience for users to quickly make purchase, browse a catalogue, and more without having to commit.
In short, Google had a lot to offer developers to get excited about in both the near and long term.