Google I/O is one of the most awaited tech events of the year. Full of announcements, updates, eye-catching events and much more, the i/o 2018 got a kickstart yesterday with CEO Sundar Pichai delivering the Keynote speech. The event was jam-packed with news. Mr Pichai kicked things off by recognizing that the technology industry must always be responsible for the tools and services it creates. From there, the chain of big announcements started.
We’ve got a new, ambitious Android update on the way; the Android P. John Legend is lending his voice to Google Assistant. Gmail can write emails almost entirely by itself. The infamous assistant makes a call and talks on itself. AI was a big theme throughout.
Here is a sneak-peak at the announcements made in Pichai’s Keynote stand:
Yes, as rumoured, we finally got a look at the upcoming updated version of the Android saga. Android P and it’s various features and functionalities were revealed. The look is very fresh. The three-buttoned navigation bar is gone. A digital bar replaced the same. It supports the iPhone like gestures to swap through the apps. There is dashboard which tells you about the time spent on the phone, and on individual and particular apps, the number of times you unlocked your device, how many notifications you have received. It also allows you to set time limits for the app so you can avoid the compulsive staring at your phone and cut back the time spent on apps.
A public Beta version is launched for selective devices, of course including the pixel range and other brands like Xiaomi, Vivo, Essential, etc.
NEW GOOGLE ASSISTANT VOICES
Google has made efforts to maker the Assistants voice more and more human-like. Earlier this year it launched various samples showing that how its assistant’s tone and the accent is indistinguishable from the human voice. Now, as per the latest announcements by Pichai, Google’s infamous virtual assistant is getting some more voice variety. Users will get to pick from six additional, natural sounding voices in addition to the original one users are familiar with. Google calls that original voice “Holly.” Noteworthily, John Legend voice is also coming to Assistant later this year.
Everyone listening to the Keynote was astonished by this one. Sundar Pichai played a recording in which Google assistant placed an appointment at a hair salon on call. It sounded so real and legitimate that the salon employee had no hint of talking to a robotic voice. Undoubtedly, it was one of the best parts of yesterday’s keynote speech.
Google announced its first Smart Displays with built-in Assistant. There was a demonstration on stage showing the display pulling up Jimmy Kimmel Live on YouTube TV as just one example of content that Google offers that Amazon can’t. Yes, Amazon’s Echo and its AI assistant named Alexa are about to face some serious competition.
GMAIL CAN NOW DRAFT EMAILS FOR YOU (ALMOST) BY ITSELF
Expanding on its helpful Smart Reply feature, Google has now entered a new zone. With “Smart Compose” Gmail will draft emails for you. Well, almost draft. Does it sound scary, AI sending emails on your behalf? Don’t worry that is not exactly what it is meant for (as for now at least). The feature helps you draft the mail. It suggests complete sentence as you’re typing. Smart Compose is coming to the new Gmail for consumers first over the next few weeks; G Suite users will have to wait a few months.
ADDING AUGMENTED REALITY DIRECTIONS TO THE MAPS
The new AI feature in the maps is impressive. It is a revolutionary feature for navigating a new city. Just point your camera in a direction, and Google will pair AI with Street View data to give you an interactive, AR turn-by-turn experience when you’re on the move. There’s even a cute little fox to help keep you on course.
GOOGLE PHOTOS GETS EVEN SMARTER
Google photos has many smart features like the face recognition and grouping. But the new updates are even more tempting. Google Photos is gaining new features like the ability to separate subjects from the background in photos and pop the colour or turn the background black and white. Photos can also now colourise your older photos, even if they weren’t shot in colour, to begin with. Both of these capabilities use AI. And when you’re just swiping through your gallery, Photos will analyse your pics and make recommendations for quick fixes like “fix brightness.”
GOOGLE NEWS GETS AN AI TOUCH TOO
Google uses artificial intelligence to analyse all the content published on the web at any moment, and organise all of those articles, videos, and more into storylines. It bifurcates the content based on its nature like Videos, News, Image, etc. The AI spots the ones you might be interested in and puts them in your briefing. It uses AI to enhance its editorial focus. News will also deliver “a range of perspectives” to bring you a little bit outside your bubble.
GOOGLE LENS – COPY TEXT
Users will be able to point their camera at text in the real world and grab it, and then paste it into a text field. The feature has been conceptualised and demonstrated even before by Google. By now it looks like it is ready to come to Google Lens. The company is introducing a new “style match” feature that will scan something the camera is pointed at and help you buy it from internet retailers.
Well, Google has been a hell of an innovative brand, and not just in the smartphones, but around it too. This i/o looks promising.