It’s that time of year again, where all the big names in tech congregate to talk about the innovations they’ve been working tirelessly on. It all happens at the annual Google I/O developer conference, held in Mountain View, California at the Shoreline Amphitheater.
There’s Android updates and AI galore, so if you missed the keynote, take a look at some of the most exciting announcements.
It’s not Google I/O without an Android OS update. So what should we expect from Android P?
Perhaps the biggest addition to Android P is the integration of Digital Well Being. The new dashboard will clue you in to some of your phone activity, showing how much time you spend in different apps and how often you unlock your screen to help you come to terms with your phone addiction. You can also set time limits on usage, and the phone will screen will turn to gray if you go over. It’s interesting the Google’s mobile OS is actually encouraging you to use your mobile less, which probably isn’t a bad thing.
In addition, you might notice is that they took away the home button. Instead you swipe up to see an overview screen of your apps. There are a few other improvements on the interface that are supposed to make navigation and gestures more intuitive. This is probably the biggest change Google has made to Android in terms of how you actually use and interact with it.
There’s also going to be some fancy AI that will adjust your brightness and close apps that are using up battery — for those of us that always keep them running in the background, this might be a lifesaver.
Following in the footsteps of Android’s other OS’s, (the last being Android Oreo) Android P is still waiting to be dubbed a dessert. So what will the P stand for?y Popsicle? Poptart? Pie? Pudding? There’s no solar eclipse this year to reveal the name, so we’ll just have to wait and see. In the meantime, the beta version is already available on a selection of Android phones.
Amid all the competition in voice recognition software, the name of the game is creating the most natural experience to make interactions feel like real conversations, which is exactly what Google is doing.
Whereas you had to say “Hey Google” or “OK Google” everytime you talk to Google Assistant before, now it only takes one time to continue a conversation, and Google will listen up to eight seconds. This makes it easier to get the response you’re looking for, even if you have follow up questions.
Google also has made improvements in the voice to make it more like a real person and less robotic thanks to Google Duplex. In fact, in the demo, Google Assistant made an actual phone call to schedule a hair appointment and didn’t sound too far off from a real human.
Additionally, you have have your choice in voice because Google Assistant can speak in six new voices, including John Legend. If nothing else works, using John Legend’s voice should be a good way for Google to get a leg up against Alexa.
Ever wish people could just read your mind? Well Google AI might make that a reality. Smart Compose will use machine learning to help finish your sentences in Gmail.
It’s a little bit like autocorrect or the suggested text feature you see on apps like iMessage and Facebook, but with longer phrases and sentences. Because Google has a lot of your data to go off of, it’s bound to be much smarter, which is either very cool or a little scary.
If you’ve ever been confused at the direction you’re supposed to be going in Google Maps, there’s a new AI integration that will make your life a lot easier. Now with Google Lens as a part of Google Maps, the directional arrows on your screen on give you foolproof navigation.
All you have to do is point your phone and the StreetView AR overlay will show you which way to go, while keeping the map at the bottom of the screen. There’s no release date in store for this feature yet, but it gives some hope to those who have a bad sense of direction.
For You and Your Match will personalize Google Maps to tell you about what’s happening in the area and use machine learning to show you how likely you are to enjoy a specific place.
In addition, Google Maps is getting safer for drivers with the ability to read your text messages when you’re following a route. You can also ask Google to share your ETA, and it will estimate and send your time of arrival to a contact.
At the end of the day, it’s all about the ‘gram. That’s why Google is making it easier to become the designated photographer of your group with new upgrades to Photos. Suggested actions can actually identify your friends when you take pictures and will offer to send them those photos. This way, you can avoid the constant reminders to send last night’s pictures in your group chat.
You’ll also have the ability to re-colorize black-and-white photos, which we imagine would be really useful if you ever decide to dig up those old family photo albums.
As usual, Google did not disappoint. Whether you’re into the latest and greatest in AI and machine learning or just want to get to your desination without getting lost, there’s something for everyone at the I/O developers conference. It seems like Google knows exactly where the future of tech is heading, and we’re happy to be along for the ride.