Google I/O is that time of the year for Android Developers to see what’s next for the company’s mobile operating system, and get a peek at the hardware and services that will take advantage of its skill. Google typically hops between either its Hardware or Software each I/O year. This year brought more devices than last year.
In the past, Google’s mission was to “Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful”. This made it possible for us to find the exact distance to the moon to the capital of some remote country whose name you have not even heard of before with just a few keystrokes. These days Google has greater ambition. Google Executives shared their vision for the future of the company – one where its services work everywhere, for everyone and for everything.
Google is doing this in ways both big and small. Let’ see.
Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
Nest hub max
Android Q Beta Launched
New and improved Google Duplex, Search Results, Lens and what Google calls the Next Gen. Google Assistant.
Google has integrated new features within its search results known as “full coverage”. This feature mainly allows people to view news related topics easily. There is also a timeline of events shown in the search results. Alongside this Google has also introduced listening as part of the Google search results in which you are able to listen to podcasts from the search results itself. But this is not the only upgrade Google has done to its search results. It has also made search results visually more rich thanks to 3D images and AR camera trickery coming directly to search results.
Google Lens is getting some updates from last year. It is already a very fine app being able to recognize items just by pointing your camera at it. But Google takes it a step further this year by making it able to contextualize a restaurant menu or information on a piece of paper. According to Google “Lens can search for exact dishes on a menu and surface photos of that dish based on Google Maps information to show you just how it looks before you order it and also show reviews on the dish.” But this is not the only thing Google Lens can do no, it is but one of the few things Lens can do. Other things being text to speech live translation, or even bring up a calculator just by hovering your camera over the bill. Hovering camera over the magazines partnered with Google can also bring images to life, such as a recipe on Bon Appétit Magazine.
Last year Google introduced Duplex in their mobile devices through which the Google AI places a call to book appointments and reservation at a salon or a restaurant. But this year they are bringing the Duplex to the web. Duplex will pull your information and navigate through the web to book other things like car rentals, movie tickets. Instead of just confirming the booking users are in control of the information they are providing and can change the auto-filled info to approve what Duplex has written in before confirming your booking.
We all know the personal Google Assistant which pops up when we say “Hey Google” well there’s new and improve Google assistant coming in the future, they call it Next-gen Google Assistant. Google says it can now process and understand requests in real time up to 10 times faster. During the onstage demo, Google showed how easy it is to switch between tasks and toggle across apps without the need for “Hey Google” every time. According to Google, this will make tapping apps across the device a slow experience. The assistant can even also distinguish the difference between requesting an action like “send an email to John” or “Reply” and dictating the message itself. This will be available in Pixel phones later this year.
Other features include Personal Reference and Driving Mode
Personal Reference allows Google Assistant better understand what you mean when you say “What is the weather like at Mom’s House” or “Show me the picture of my Brother”.
Driving Mode pulls up a personalized dashboard for when you are in the car. Say “Hey Google, let’s drive” and it shows you the things most likely to need while driving with voice controls to control everything and everything hands-free.
These two features are available on all android devices with Google Assistant.
Privacy Aspect of things
With all the new features added and made available, there is a serious issue of Privacy infringement. Just like everyone else in Silicon Valley. Google showed just how serious they are and showed us new features to better control them. Incognito mode is now available in Google Maps, so the places you search and navigate cannot be linked to your account, and Google also promises to bring Incognito Mode in Youtube and other platforms as well. All of your privacy and security settings have been moved to a more accessible location on your Google account, with the most relevant controls appearing first. Also, you can choose to auto-delete your data after a certain number of months.
Well as always Google’s I/O is not complete without talking about the new version of Android OS. Google announced the launch of Beta of Android Q. The as of yet unnamed Android Q comes with cool updates like a smart reply feature that works across all messaging platforms and a live caption tool that translates videos when the sound isn’t on. The key here as Google puts it, is that the data never leaves the phone the focus is on-device machine learning. You can easily monitor app permissions and Google will prompt you to review which apps have access to data like your location. New parental controls offer better oversight of kids’ screen time and a new focus mode/do not disturb mode lets you neutralize distracting apps like email and news when you are trying to be productive. It also comes with a dark theme that will swap out bright interface colors for black and greys, cutting down on the blue light streaming onto your eyeballs and saving battery life in the process.
Android Q also offers a glimpse at what Google sees as the future of mobile technology with its inbuilt support for 5G and foldable phones.
Pixel 3A and 3A XL
Over the past few years, the sales of the flagship smartphones have gone down. Which is now clear with the rise of the brands like Oppo and Vivo. People are not looking to buy new flagship smartphone every year if you look at the recent trends add to that the mid-range smartphones providing features similar to the flagship phones at a much cheaper price has forced Google to launch their own set of mid-range smartphones to compete with other cheaper brands. With the announcement of Pixel 3A and 3A XL, the rumors have been put to the rest of Google launching its own mid-range smartphone. The price begins at $399.
Also, the Google maps in pixel 3A and 3A XL comes with the AR maps instead of the 2D map we normally see in Google maps. Add updates and support up to 3 years after launching is another benefit.
Nest Hub Max
This is another piece of hardware announced at Google’s annual I/O 2019. Priced at $229 smart display with a 10-inch screen and a front-facing camera for video calls. This is basically the upgrade version of last year’s 7 inch Nest Hub with improvements such as the switch to disable camera and microphone for added privacy. Gesture control for play pause music, and camera tracking to keep you in the middle of the frame all the time. Use the Google Duo app to leave a message to household members. Or with its Face Match feature, you can walk in front of the device and it will show you all your information (your events, meetings, appointments). Notifies you when the camera detects the motion of someone or sees someone the camera does not recognize in your home.
This year Google has taken steps towards making the information not just available but much more easily understandable. With recent developments is Camera technology and the rise of AR and 3D Google’s introduction to the 3D image in search result and capability inserting it in the real world using AR technology shows us the future of search and Navigation. With the help of AI and Machine Learning Google has taken steps toward making life easier, especially with Translate and Text to speech. Google is taking steps to make the world a lot more accessible and understandable with all the features they have unveiled in this year’s Google I/O.