Google's hot on Microsoft and Apple's heels, announcing a raft of new developments at its I/O Conference this week. But are the search giant's latest offerings enough to help it keep pace with its competitors? Read on to get the lowdown on the latest Google news … It's been a busy few weeks for tech experts, with big names like Microsoft and Apple making announcements about a range of new products likely to hit the market in the near future. And Google's thrown itself into the fray too, showing guests at its annual I/O developers' conference in San Francisco some tempting new treats. The hottest news from Mountain View is that the search specialist's about to head into the tablet warzone, but that's not all it's got planned.
Nexus 7 could singe Kindle Fire sales figures
Microsoft may have grabbed the headlines for a while with experts debating whether or not its new Surface tablet could be an iPad killer, but Google's now top of the news results with the announcement that it's launching an own-brand tablet to compete with the Kindle Fire. Due to go on sale mid-July - initially in the US, UK, Canada and Australia - the 8GB version of the Nexus 7 has been designed by Asus, will be about the same size as the Kindle Fire. It's set to incorporate a quad-core CPU and 12-core GPU, enabling it to cope with running programs with complex graphics or several programs at the same time, and will also be the first Android device to feature Google Chrome as its default option.
Nexus Q - changing the shape of streaming?
Streaming's become increasingly popular for TV addicts, music fans, movie buffs and gamers with home broadband, and Google's trying to make the most of that trend with the Nexus Q. Designed to be plugged into your TV / stereo system, this futuristic looking spherical creation is a screenless, Android-powered computer. Although there are other media streamers on the market, Google's described the Nexus Q as 'the world's first social streaming device', as it will enable you and other users to play media files, by streaming music and videos from other devices via Near Field Communication (NFC), WiFi and Bluetooth. Initially it's only being released in the US though, so we'll have to wait a while for it here.
Seeing the world through Google Glass
Google's been working on Project Glass for some time, but guests at the I/O Conference got a closer look at the augmented reality glasses in the form of some live footage from skydivers and cyclists wearing them. The glasses are designed to capture videos and photos of events while you're experiencing them and to provide real-time information like how fast you're moving and how to get to another location. Augmented reality is set to be a big thing in the future - as predicted in the report we commissioned from the Centre For Future Studies earlier in the year - so it's worth keeping a close eye on what Google's doing in this field.
Google Now could make Siri a thing of the past
Finally, Apple may be planning some serious Siri upgrades in time for the launch of the iPhone 5, but it's likely to have a new competitor in Google Now. The Californian firm's smart assistant will be one of the many features of its Android 4.1 (or Jelly Bean) upgrade, slated for launch in mid-July. Whether or not Google Now will be able to compete with Siri successfully will largely depend on how functional - and helpful - it is, as Siri's faced a lot of criticism in that department. And it's an issue Apple's trying to rectify with its latest version - so we'll have to see who gets it right first. Which Google developments do you think will be hits? Any that you don't see selling? Let us know…