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Google I/O 2016 - The key announcements

Google is hosting its annual developer conference, I/O, at which the tech giant has unveiled a number of major announcements and new products.

Google Assistant
We've long had Google Now, which responded to voice queries, but it always seemed a little clunky and impersonal compared to the likes of Siri and Cortana. At I/O it upgraded Now to "Google Assistant", which can respond to queries by searching Google for answers.

Google Assistant can book tickets, order food and, apparently just about anything else.
The advantage of Assistant is that it isn't just built into a phone, it spans Google's new messaging app Allo, the new Google Home speaker, Android Auto, and so on.

Google Home
Amazon's voice-controlled computer, the Echo, has taken the US by storm since it was released. Google, not being particularly amenable to letting other robots into your life has unveiled its own version, Home.

Just by speaking, you can order an Uber, play Spotify, set alarms or just ask questions. Google Home has Assistant built in, and Google claims its voice-recognition technology is the best in class. It will be released later this year.

Allo and Duo
Don't have enough messaging apps? Google doesn't think so. Allo (as in, Allo, Allo) is Google's new "smart" messaging app.

What does that mean? Well, it works like any one of dozens of messaging apps - WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Hangouts etc - but Google's AI is built in. For example, a feature called "Smart Reply" can suggest responses for when you don't want to type your own. You can also call on Google Assistant within Allo, asking it questions within chats.

Duo, meanwhile, is quite simply Google's answer to FaceTime or Skype, allowing internet video calls. Both are coming for iOS and Android in the summer.
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