You’ve no doubt already become acutely aware that Google is in the midst of its big Google I/O developer conference and as always, there are some real gems that were announced during its opening keynote.
Not everything landed quite as Google might have hoped, but if you take everything at face value, there were some truly impressive announcements today.
Whether you’re a fan of artificial intelligence, smart displays, or just news, the chances are good that this Google I/O already has something that will be right up your street. There is just so much to cover that it’s likely you’ve missed some of Google’s best announcements from today, so we’re going to offer a rundown of what we think you should know about. We’d also love to know what your favorite announcement was because, in all honesty, we are just not sure we could pick one out for ourselves!
Here’s what you have to choose from.
- Google’s launched new Photos features that do all kinds of magic, not least adding color to images that were previously black & white. We call it magic because, really, that’s all it can be! One-tap fixes for over or underexposed images and more will also be added.
- If you’ve ever struggled for what to say in an email, then Smart Compose is your dream. Using machine learning, Google will suggest phrases for you, although we’re not sure how much we would trust this thing right out of the gate.
Google Assistant is getting a Continued Conversation feature, so you don’t need to keep saying “Hey Google.” This alone is a huge thing and one that we cannot overstate. Being able to converse with Google Assistant without having to bark the wake word is a thing of beauty and should be standard on all digital assistants (yes, Alexa has had this feature for a while). Users will also be able to make multiple requests of Assistant at once.
- If you’re a Google Assistant fan, then you’ll love the six new voices that are being added along with a special guest appearance – John Legend. No, we’re not sure either. Does it make it less awesome? Not one jot!
- Families who worry that digital assistants impact their kids’ manners can choose to request “pretty please” be part of the requirements following a request, before action is taken.
- Two more Google Assistant improvements here: a more visual approach to Assistant on devices with screens will see users presented with data and options where suitable. Ask a thermostat what the temperature is and be shown options for increasing or decreasing it. That’s nothing compared to Duplex, though, with the feature allowing Google Assistant to essentially call a business on your behalf and apparently hold a conversation. It’s creepy and amazing in ways only Google can manage.
- Google’s first Smart Displays powered by Assistant will launch in July.
- Ever wished that Google Assistant was built into Google Maps? We can’t say that we have, but if you did, then wish no more; Google has your back.
- Google Maps will now also allow better use of the camera for navigation thanks to AR.
- Google News has had a facelift and is now powered by AI, with iOS and Android apps available today following on from Apple News a couple of years ago.
- Actions and Slices are new ways for third-party app features to find their way into Android itself, particularly via search and, of course, Google Assistant.
- Android P will use DeepMind to improve battery life, with the feature able to “anticipate actions” that will result in fewer instances where a device is woken up to carry out a task. Everyone enjoys better battery life!
- With Google’s ML Kit, developers will be able to add Google’s AI technology to both Android and iOS apps more easily, which is something that can surely only benefit us all.
- Android P will include a new dashboard that will outline which apps users are using most as part of a digital wellbeing drive. Users can even limit how long they, or others, are able to use apps.
- Google Lens is still a thing, and now it will be able to take photos of text and then paste that text elsewhere. A bit like magic. Google does that a lot, even if it is really just OCR under the hood.
You can watch the full keynote in the video embedded below:
Phew! There’s much, more more to get excited about and we can’t wait for Google to show us everything it has in mind here. We just wish more people would get easy access to Android P when it launches later this year. Sort that software update issue out and we’ll love you forever, Google!
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