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Reliving the good old days: Google I/O 2022 felt like a flashback
Google I/O 2022 had some exciting announcements. We saw details on the Pixel 6a, the Pixel 7, the long-anticipated Pixel Watch, and even a Pixel Tablet coming in 2023. However, buried among the intriguing reveals were a handful of mundane updates about tech and services that have existed for years. We’re not sure entirely why there was so much talk about old stuff, but we’re going to take a look at some of it now.
More apps on Wear OS, again
Despite being out for years at this point, only now do we have announcements for hit new music apps like Deezer and SoundCloud, with “many more” coming soon. In case the sarcasm wasn’t readily evident, Deezer and SoundCloud are ancient music services. Google’s inability to get developers to treat Wear OS as a development priority comes up on an almost yearly basis. To be honest, it was a little disheartening to be reminded that such apps weren’t available on Wear OS 3.0 already.
See also: The best Wear OS watches you can buy
Now here’s the real question: Do we believe that Wear OS is about to become the must-develop-for-wearables platform? Google has been beating this drum since Wear OS launched seven years ago, but things have changed a little bit in this space. Samsung has Wear OS watches now and the new Pixel Watch is finally a flagship watch. Perhaps the new wave of actually intriguing devices will motivate developers into making more Wear OS apps. We’ll have to see, but hearing it yet again in 2022 was a reminder of Google’s ongoing difficulties in the wearables space.
Google Wallet was announced, again
You weren’t alone doing a double-take during the keynote, as this is actually the second time Google has announced and released Google Wallet. Google Wallet originally launched in 2011 and this year’s release really felt like an announcement from 2011. The new one is basically the same as the old one. You input your cards, tap-to-pay at terminals, and you can add stuff like membership or rewards cards.
The new Google Wallet looks a lot like the old one.
It does have some new tricks, but even the new tricks feel old. You can add your driver’s license to this version of it — a feature Apple Wallet introduced in 2021. We even knew that was coming because it was one of the new features in Android 11 two years ago. Watching Google employees talk excitedly about Google Wallet felt like deja vu because those of us who have been in the tech blogging industry for a while have literally watched this happen before. It was awesome.
It turns out casting to a TV is a big deal, again
In Google’s defense, they did use the casting stuff as a segue into talking about the new Fast Pair feature. The new feature lets you quickly and automatically pair to devices over Bluetooth. We’re not sure why they opened this segment by touting the benefits of casting, which we’ve all been enjoying since 2013, but it was yet another flashback to an earlier era.
Google cares about tablets, again
Most of the other tablet-related announcements, though, sounded like 2011 when Android Honeycomb was announced. Among the announcements was that Google was updating a whopping 20 Google apps to give them tablet-specific UIs sometime this next week or so. We’ve been waiting for that for literally 11 years. I guess it’s better late than never.
The Pixel Tablet is exciting, but it's taken years for Google to optimize 20 apps for the form factor.
There were some good things, though. We saw some functionality from Android 12L, along with some neat tricks like dragging and dropping notifications to open an app. During the demo, Google showed the ability to drag a photo out of Photos and into Gmail. Granted, iPads have had many of those features for years and Microsoft Windows PCs have had that functionality for decades. It’s still nice seeing Google at least attempting to climb out of the massive hole they’re in when it comes to tablets.
Can’t wait until 2023: The best Android tablets to spend your money on
My Ad Center lets you customize your ad experience, again
So, how does My Ad Center change the experience? It doesn’t. It simply moves what already exists into a different place with a new name and a new UI. The only thing that seems different is that you may have more access to information in My Ad Center than you had previously on the Ads Settings website. We’ll have to wait for it to fully launch before we know for sure.
For the record, this isn’t a hit piece on Google. There were some genuinely interesting announcements and some of the work Google is doing seems like it’ll be beneficial in the long run. It was just humorous to see Google replaying its greatest hits alongside all the actual new stuff. Stay tuned to Android Authority for more Google I/O 2022 coverage.