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Google unveiled a new wearable operating system, teased 3D video calling, and set a timetable for quantum computing at I/O

Google’s 13th annual I/O developer conference kicked off earlier this week and runs until Thursday. Here are the three biggest announcements from Day One likely to guide Google’s long-term strategy.

  • Google announced a unified wearables platform that combines its Wear operating system (OS) with Samsung’s Tizen software platform. The new OS will include tools that make it easier for developers to create apps. Google claims the unified platform will allow for 30% faster app startup times, smoother animations, and the integration of customizable features from the Tizen OS, like Samsung's watch face designer tool. With the unified platform, Wear will now support all Samsung wearable devices. That’s a huge win for Google since Samsung was the third-largest wearable company by shipments globally in Q4 2020, according to IDC. Incorporating Samsung apps will help Google tap into the growing global wearables market, which is expected to increase from 239 million users in 2021 to 388 million users by 2025, per CCS Insights.
  • Google unveiled Starline, a 3D video calling booth that creates the illusion of being in a room with another person. Starline uses cameras and sensors to create 3D models of users from multiple perspectives and uses a 65-inch light field display to present the image in 3D. Pandemic-induced remote work has increased the use of video communication—and Starline signals that Google expects it to continue to feature in the workplace.
  • The company revealed its new Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara, where researchers and engineers are working to create a “useful, error-corrected quantum computer” by the end of the decade. Google claims its future quantum computer could be used to build more energy-efficient batteries and rapidly increase training for machine learning algorithms among other use cases, per The Wall Street Journal. Though still nascent, IBM, Honeywell, and a slew of startups are racing to advance the quantum computing market, which Prescient & Strategic Intelligence forecasts will be worth nearly $65 billion by 2030.