Google I/O: Announcements & Updates For Hotel Software

Google I/O is Google’s annual event made for tech-junkies to announce all of the projects that have been worked on behind closed doors. Many large projects have been announced at these events throughout the years and one thing that stays constant with each event is the success of the announced projects. The biggest announcement at last year’s Google I/O was the Android Wear SDK. This is the developer toolkit for developers to take advantage of Android’s wearable technology. Take a second to think of the large increase in sales over the past year for wearable technology. This is partially due to the ability for developers to create valuable apps and widgets for your Android smart watches and other wearable technology. This is just one of the many successful announcements Google has made over the years at this popular event, and this year has plenty more as well.

Project Jacquard

Electronic clothing interacting with wirelessly connected devicesProject Jacquard is a work-in-progress concept of adding “[weaving] multitouch sensors” into textiles. Google’s ATAP (Advanced Technology and Projects) team invented conductive yarn in multiple colors to be used within clothes and garments to allow for the multitouch sensors to interact with your cell phone, smart watch, and other Android powered devices. The ATAP team had a demo of a piece of cloth that included the sensor. When swiping your hand above the fabric a nearby Android phone then made a phone call from the sensors being activated. Later on in the demo, it was announced that Levi’s has partnered with Google to help bring this technology into their fashion lines.

Project ARA

Project ARA hProject ARAas been in development for quite some time. It is Google’s concept of being able to buy cell phone parts separately to be able to upgrade your phone’s components without the need of buying a whole new cell phone. Google demoed the technology by assembling a cell phone on the fly, and then purposely leaving the camera disconnected. When the phone powered on, a prompt read that the camera is missing. The camera was then inserted into its corresponding location on the device, and a picture was taken. This could be a huge market for manufacturers. Being able to create and develop attachments that relate to their specializations. The camera is just one of the many attachment types that will be sold with this device, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Canon and Nikon competing for the market.

Android M

Android M is the new Android software update that is in the works. Many features were announced inside of this update:

  • Chrome Custom Tabs and an Improved Web Experience – As of now, if there is a link inside of an app, the Chrome app itself is then started up separately from the app you were previously running to open up the link. With Chrome custom tabs apps will be able to run a Chrome tab from within the app itself. This allows for users to stay within your app,and stay engaged within your app, rather than within a separate Chrome app. Apps are also able to customize the new custom Chrome tab through color and branding and/or add options to the options menu.
  • Fingerprint Support – Yes, the iPhone 6 and 6+ have this technology already, but Google announced that it plans to expose an API for developers which would allow them to take advantage of fingerprint sensors in their apps. An example that was used during the event was confirming a purchase inside of the Target app with a fingerprint.
  • Android Pay – One of the biggest announcements made at Google I/O! And again, yes, this is already technology inside iOS, but this is still a huge feature of Android M. The Android Pay app is a unified mobile payments experience that allows Android users to pay with their phone and even use the previously mentioned fingerprint capability. The app can be activated via the mobile app or through a user’s bank. It will allow for credit cards, gift cards, and reward cards to be added onto the app. Then using the added methods of payment, a user could purchase products that accept Android Pay. We’ve seen this in the past with this virtual form of payment when Marriott began accepting Apple Pay as a form of payment. At Google I/O, Coca-Cola placed a soda machine that accepted Android Pay payments. Using NFC technology that is already prevalent in most Android cell phones, a customer is able to tap their phone against the Coca-Cola machine. The phone registers the action and pops up the Android Pay app where you are able to select your method of payment. The app is even smart enough to tell where you are attempting to purchase a product, and if you have a rewards card that coincides with your purchase, it will also prompt you to add points. So, once the purchase was verified, if you had a MyCokeRewards profile, it would automatically know to add the points of that purchase.

Per every Android software update, Google likes to name their versioning alphabetically with sweet treats. Last update was Android Lollipop, and it seems that Google is still brainstorming ideas for what M should stand for. Marshmallow, Mint, Milkshake? Let us know what you think the new “M” update will be!

So, what do these updates mean for you as a hotelier or hotel marketer?

All of these Android software updates were created with the goal of allowing developers to have more flexibility to flesh out your business’s goals. Apps have become a way of life and providing an app that makes a customer’s life easier will always be extremely valuable.

If the thought of a mobile app sounds intimidating – fret not. Our Guestdesk Mobile App will allow you to reach customers on the right device at the right time and is a ready-to-use product that Fuel offers. And, all hotels that use our mobile booking app are eligible to receive real time analytics data through our new Fuel Gauge Dashboard.

Let us help your hotel implement some of these emerging hotel trends – contact us today for a free website evaluation and marketing consultation!

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Cory ShawGoogle I/O: Announcements & Updates For Hotel Software
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