Google I/O 2022 felt like a flashback

Google IO 2022 wallet on pixel watch

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.

Read more: Android 13 features — Everything we know so far

More apps on Wear OS, again

Google IO 2022 wear os growth in the last year
This one may need to be filed under “stuff we hear every year.” Although Google announced quite a few new things for Wear OS this year, it couldn’t resist another update on app compatibility.

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

Google IO 2022 digital id google wallet
For real, dear readers, did you hear that Google is launching something called Google Wallet?

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

Google IO 2022 fast pair
This one was a bit of a curiosity. During the Google I/O 2022 keynote, there was a whole segment about the importance of casting your phone screen to other screens like your TV. They even talked about how much better it would be if it were more widely available. In the real world, Chromecast is the most popular streaming stick and Google has sold 55 million of them since 2017. That indicates to me, at least, that Google has already won the war on TV casting and we’re not sure why they brought it up again like it’s only just now becoming relevant.

See also: Chromecast with Google TV — Everything you need to know

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

Google IO 2022 pixel tablet
At the very least, the end of the tablets segment resulted in the announcement of a new Pixel Tablet and that is genuinely exciting. I’m a huge fan of the old Nexus 7 devices and I’ve wanted Google to launch a tablet ever since.

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

Google IO 2022 my ad center
Google announced the My Ad Center experience during Google I/O 2022. It lets you tailor your own ad experience by telling Google what you do and don’t like manually. However, you’ve actually already been able to do this for ages. Hit this link while in a browser that is logged into your Google account and you’ll find your ads profile. You can see what Google thinks your age, gender, and spoken languages are along with a huge list of things Google believes you’re interested in. You can tap on any of the information and tell Google that you’re not interested in it and even change things like your age. The site has been around for quite some time.

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.


Read next: Google announces the Pixel Buds Pro, the first Pixel Buds with ANC

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.

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