Google usually holds its annual developer conference, Google I/O in May.We get to see them announce new features that are rolling out immediately or in the future to developers and the world alike. This year was no different and here are some of the main announcements from the first day of the conference:
Beta version of Android P
The latest version of Android is codenamed Android P and Google was tight-lipped on its final name. However, they announced something cool: They are unveiling the beta version of the next major Android release today.
Android P comes with a variety of features:
Adaptive battery monitors your battery power and prioritizes for the apps and services you need the most
Adaptive Brightness uses machine learning to learn your display brightness settings according to your surroundings.
App Actions will predict what you want to do next. It involves giving you smart suggestions based on what you like and do the most so if you connect your headphones, it would surface an action to resume playing your Spotify playlist for example.
Slices will allow you to have an even deeper look about your favourite apps. Fr example if you search for an app like ‘Lyft’ on Search, you will see an interactive Slice that will give you your fare price for a trip to work.
There is also a new system navigation that looks akin to what we have seen employed on the iPhone X. It involves gestures like swiping up to show the new overview of your apps.
Lastly we have control over your digital wellbeing which involves apps that allow you achieve balance between using your devices and going on with your life. Dashboard shows you how much you spend on your device, App timer sets time limits on apps, Do Not Disturb mode now silences phone calls, notifications and even visual interruptions on your screen and Wind Down will switch on Night Light during nighttime.
Android P beta will be launched on the Google Pixel today as well as on other select partners on their phones: Sony Xperia XZ2, Nokia 7 Plus, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Oppo R15 Pro, Vivo X21, OnePlus 6 and Essential PH-1.
New Google News
Google News has been quite the boost thanks to artificial intelligence. Google says the new version will analyze stories in real time and organize it into storylines. There is a ‘For You’ tab that shows you what you like in one place and more you use it, the better it becomes. Other features like Full Coverage apparently show you the full picture of the story.
Google Maps with AR
Google Maps has become the defacto way of knowing where we are and finding directions of where we are going and Google is making it better. They redesigned the explore tab to find everything easier. They have a new ‘For You’ tab that shows you the points of interest near you.
However the coolest thing announced was the integration with Google Lens. It leverages on its huge computing power and AI to identify billions of words, phrases or places in a split second so that navigating things around you in Maps is seamless.
— Scott Stein (@jetscott) May 8, 2018
Google Lens was announced in an earlier I/O conference and it is still one of the coolest things Google has created. It leverages on AR and that requires a lot of computing power on the server end so that the experience is smooth on the end user.
Last year, Google Lens was on Photos and Assistant. Now, Google says that it will be available on supported devices from HMD/Nokia, Sony Mobile, Motorola, Xiaomi, LGE, Transsion, TCL, OnePlus, BQ, Asus and of course the Pixel.
In addition to the cool feature on Maps, Google Lens has been given two cool updates. You will be able to copy paste stuff from the real world via the camera to a notes app.
Style match will allow you to get information about items you see on the real world like clothes and see information like reviews or things of similar style.
Gmail was given a redesign recently and Google is not done with it yet. Continuing with its rampage of sprinkling artificial intelligence on all of its products, Gmail now has Smart Compose.
Smart compose will allow you to draft emails from scratch faster by suggesting complete sentences from your greeting to your closing thanks to AI. Google says this will allow you to cut back on repetitive writing as well as keep grammatical errors at bay.
This will appear in Gmail in the coming weeks while G Suite customers will have to wait a bit longer (coming months).
Google Photos was released 3 years ago and it was one of the first Google products to get AI features like the Assistant. Well now, Google has added more features on Google Photos.
From today, you’ll be able to see a range of suggested actions powered by machine learning when you’re viewing your photos like share, rotate, brighten or archive photos.
Google is also using AI to detect the subject of the photo and leave them in colour while rendering the background in monochrome. You can find these creations in the Assistant tab.
Google also announced that they are giving developers tools so that you will be able to see Google Photos in more apps and devices in the coming months.
Google Assistant has been with us for the last two years and has become the poster child to show Google’s work with AI. Now, Google is supercharging Assistant with a couple of new features:
Google Assistant will get new voices! Starting today, you will be able to choose from six voices and the famous singer, John Legend, will lend his later this year. This is thanks to the advancement in AI and WaveNet technology so now Google can create new voies in just few weeks.
Assistant also gets Continued Conversation which builds on the impressive contextual awareness of it. This is to avoid repeating “Hey Google” multiple times for a followup request, and Google says this has been one of their top requests.
Google Assistant will also get Multiple Actions which allows you to ask about many things at once. The demo was quite impressive on this one.
The coolest bit about the new Google Assistant features was getting stuff done powered by Google Duplex. This new technology allows Assistant to understand complex sentences so that it can respond naturally during a phone call. They made a demo of Assistant making a phone call to book a reservation, which was wicked cool!
Google Assistant will be able to make actual phone calls for you pic.twitter.com/AkQjVynER1
— The Verge (@verge) May 8, 2018