Historically Google has been a little behind the curve with regard to gadgets, but with all their clout with YouTube, Chrome, Gmail and power over search, maps and business class storage and document solutions – they’re starting to become more relevant for business owners with regard to IT. If you weren’t aware of the Google I/O 2015 conference – this is where Google makes their big announcements.

Here’s the implication of some of those points and how they’ll impact business:

  1. Google Maps Available Offline.
    If you have employees that are often on the go (who doesn’t?), they have likely experienced at one time or another an interruption in service or a low service area causing issues with the map application. Google has made maps available offline, accessible at any time from anywhere regardless of phone service. This is huge for businesses that rely on routes, deliveries, a mobile Salesforce or any other employee that operates on the go or goes from appointment to appointment.
  1. Android Pay for retail businesses.
    Google also announced that Android Pay (their response to Apple Pay) will be on any phones running KitKat OS and higher and will come pre-installed by AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. This is a big deal for businesses that operate on a storefront and sell products. Restaurants, retail stores and other consumer businesses should look into how they can begin accepting both Android and Apple Pay to ensure that they remain on the cutting edge of technology. (Don’t forget the famous statistic: 90% of consumers would take their business elsewhere rather than work with a company that uses outdated technology.)
  1. Android OS enhancements improve BYOD integration with Android devices.
    While the BYOD market his has been historically much more successful with iDevices, the improvements to the Android OS (namely reduced app permissions, Chrome browser integration across applications and better battery life) are making BYOD a more integrated reality for businesses. These improvements move Android back into the game for BYOD and can be a huge cost-savings for businesses that want to bring tablets into the mix.
  1. Security boost with Android phones fingerprint access.
    While the technology has existed on iPhones for quite some time, Google has announced fingerprint recognition on mobile. This is great for businesses that want to adopt BYOD, but have been hesitant regarding security. The open authentication API means that any app can be built to integrate with the fingerprint access – so customized business applications can be significantly more secure.
  1. Chromecast for conference rooms.
    Okay, we cheated a little here. While not a new innovation, it’s a great opportunity to bring up that conference room options (save Microsoft’s expensive SmartHub) have been limited for those not using AppleTV. Chromecast is a great alternative that can plug into any smart TV and allow users to easily broadcast their screen and integrate with popular applications. It also comes at a much nicer price point for small business at $35.00. Over 17 million have been sold so the technology is catching on quickly.

Ah, technology. While some of this stuff is overwhelming for a small business owner, this is what we live and breathe. If you’re having trouble understanding how your business can take advantage of some of this new technology, you’ll want to reach out to your IT department or managed services provider that can help shed light on how these new features can enhance your business processes and workflows.