Google I/O is all about transforming information technologies into more useful, accessible and beneficial to the society. Every year the event brings out massive advancement to what Google can offer to its users. Google I/O 2018 turned out to be an interesting event with several announcements and developments in Android, Google Assistant, Google Maps, Google Photos, artificial intelligence, and much more.
This year the motto was “Digital wellbeing and smart usage of technology”
If you are in business or in a technical role, or you are an ardent user of Google products, you should look at the latest announcements. With a deep sense of responsibility to get this right, Sundar Pichai stunned the audience with several new announcements at his keynote speech. Read the article further and understand what is in store for you from Google I/O 2018.
Google launched Google Photos App for Android, iOS and the web with a massive feature list back at its 2015 I/O. This photo sharing and storage service allowed users to enjoy free, unlimited storage of photos capped at 16 megapixels and videos up to 1080p resolution. This app is getting a lot of attention this year. Google made some interesting updates to this service in Google I/O 2018.
Storing, organizing and sharing your photos will now get smarter, faster and easier with the all-new version of Google Photos. Built with machine learning along with the power of AI, the new Google Photos version 3.15 comes with several new capabilities that include;
- More AI-powered fixes and suggested actions
- “Like” function for photos and videos
- Facility to colourize old photos
- Exposure adjustments
- Improvements to photo quality
- Colour pop feature
- Facility to convert images of documents to PDF files
- Efficient categorization and organizational features
- Efficient editing tools for both photos and videos
- Facility to create photo books
For developers, Google announced new APIs that allows them to plug into Google Photos services directly.
Hey Google! Yes, this is the way you speak to Google Assistant. Rest, make Google do it!
Good news for all owners of Google Home, Home Mini, and Home Max voice assistant smart speakers. This year, at the Google I/O, Google announced a whole set of assistant features including new voice option and enhanced conversational capabilities. John Legend fans can now cherish as his voice will also be made available later this year.
Right from waking you up till finding you your favourite music playlist, Google Assistant is more of a personal Google now for you, always ready to help you wherever you are, says the company.
New Enhancements include;
- Six new voices
- Choice of British, Canadian and Indian accent
- Continued conversation
- Better compatibility
- Can now understand more complex queries
- Three smart displays
- Visually assistive
- Added features for Kids like “Pretty Please” for a more polite conversation
- Custom routines – A facility to create your own routine
- From later this year users can get assistant from navigation in Google Maps
Another interesting aspect that comes with the new Google Assistant is that it conveniently takes off tasks from your plate. Now ordering a pizza or buying a ticket for your favourite event is going to be so simple without you actually involving. Google Assistant is now powered by Google Duplex, a new technology that you can rely upon for any phone calls.
Duplex makes the whole conversation over the phone so smooth and natural. Duplex can understand complex sentences, fast speech and can easily accomplish the task along with adding a reminder to your calendar too.
Currently available on 500 million mobile phones with 5000 connected home devices, Google Assistant will soon be made available in 80 countries.
Google Assistant is now more conversational and friendly.
# Android P
The next release of Android
Smarter, intelligent, simple and approachable, the Android P is the ninth version of the Google’s mobile operating system. What makes this so smart? The answer is Machine learning!
The new version brings in loads of enhancements including;
- Simple and better navigation system – Facility to navigate right from your homescreen; full-screen previews of all your recently used apps; smart text selection.
- Gesture Navigation
- App Actions is one facility that shows up throughout Android in all places. The feature is set to basically help you get your next task by predicting what you want. Now, suppose you connect your headphones, Android will automatically resume your playlist.
- Slices is another feature that gives preference and gives you a deeper insight.
- Quick Settings – a facility to take and edit screenshots
- Simplified volume controls
- More Approachable
- Adaptive battery
- Adaptive brightness
- Screenshot editing
- A new dashboard – App time limits: Google will give you insight on you how much time you spend in every app. Also, it will allow you set time limits for each of your usage. This way, you can limit your time spent on each app every day and once you cross the set time limit, the app’s icon will automatically go grey.
- Smart suggestions
- Do not disturb – Silences even the visual interruptions apart from phone calls and notifications
- Wind Down – Fades down the screen to greyscale and switches on the “do not disturb” facility automatically with an intention to remind you to get you to sleep at the time you want…
- Improved security
- Improved privacy and more.
With a plenty of added features, the new Google Maps is more assistive and customized now.
- One of the top most facilities added to the Google Maps is that it now comes with a new augmented reality feature that makes navigation much easier, more personalized. Added to this, users will soon be cherishing the process of navigation with a real-time view of the street too. (Move beyond directions!) You can view your way in a camera view.
- Re-designed explore tab – It is not just about maps, it is about events, activities, and even your most visited place in that area.
- A new tab called, “FOR YOU” – a customized view of trending places.
- Lists like foodie list, trending list and even the popular brunch spot – all depending on the context of your search and time.
- Suggestions and recommendations that match your own preferences and ratings – a feature that uses machine learning and data.
- A new group planning feature to help users create shareable shortlists
Drafting emails are going to be much faster and simple with a new feature called Smart Compose powered by artificial intelligence.
- The facility will help you save time by avoiding on repetitive writing.
- It also contributes to the reduction of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Suggestions of relevant contextual phrases.
# New Google News App
The all-new re-imagined Google News App comes with Artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. Google calls this as a move to deliver its news content as one unified experience.
Key add-ons include;
- Organized news with real-time AI/ML
- “For You” feature that allows you to stay up to date on the topics that you are interested in.
- Easy to use controls
- Easy to access controls
- Filtered and unfiltered news
- Visual enhancement with images and videos from YouTube
- Newscasts – A unique facility that allows you to dive deep into the stories – It brings the latest news, articles, visuals, quotes etc related to a particular topic under one tab facilitated with natural language understanding.
- Full coverage – A complete picture of the various sources that report the same story. For example, in one tap you can get the headlines of the same story in the different news source.
- Newsstand – Easy way to find and follow sources, to discover the latest news and much more – all in mobile-optimized reading format.
# Linux app support on Chrome OS
Google announced the availability of Linux app support on Chrome OS. Chrome books can now run Linux app and execute Linux commands. The support is not a default service. Users who wish to use this support service can explicitly enable the service, said the company.
The first preview of Linux on Chrome OS is currently made available on the Pixelbook. Google announced the support of this service to more devices in the days to come.
Recognized for simplicity, functionality, speediness and security, Chrome OS required much more to make it more attractive and usable. Adding Linux app support to the OS is a major step forward to meet that goal.
Google Lens gets Smarter
Google unveiled new capabilities for its Google Lens at the Google I/O 2018 event. The idea is to do more with what you see, said Sundar Pichai.
Three new features were introduced;
- Smart text Selection is one major improvement seen in Google Lens. Till now, Lens could recognize words in pictures, but with this enhancement, the machine learning driven program Google Lens can now understand the meaning and context of words. Smart Selection feature directly allows you to point out your lens on a specific text, copy the text and paste into a virtual document.
- Style match – Google Lens will try and give you similar results of the object being recognized. You can point your Lens on an image and Google will enable you to see similar images available online. You can access Google Lens through the Google Assistant and point out your phone on any object and get a series of the similar object.
- Google Lens now works in real-time.
Launched back in 2017, Google Lens was first made available for Google Pixel handsets and slowly it moved to Google photos and Google Assistant. Now, the platform is now made available directly through a number of third-party smartphone camera apps.
Google I/O 2018 Announcements Matter
So, that is it for now. These are announcements that held our attention at Google I/O 2018.