This year’s Google I/O presentation just wrapped up, it took place from the company’s Mountain View campus in California where the search engine giant gave announcements and updates on their suite of products plus more.
The annual event was kicked off by CEO, Sundar Pichai who addressing the virtual audience and the event’s on-site socially distanced audience on all the exciting announcements prepared for I/O 2021. The first major announcement was Smart Canvas, a newly added tool to the Google Work Suite. With the new tools, teams can create lists, tables and much more in a collaborated online environment.
The goal of Smart Canvas is to help people work better online by letting users Google Apps like Sheets and Slides in a smarter way while integrating Google Meet with them. Google Meet will also be coming to Docs later this year. Anyone familiar with Trello or other sites like it will see a lot of those sites in Smart Canvas, Google’s approach to team organization.
Up next, Google dived into a big topic in the technology industry, privacy. It was announced that it would be launching new privacy controls for Android devices plus introducing them to new apps. One ability users have in the privacy updates is deleting the last thing they search with an option to delete the last 15 minutes of ‘Googling’ history.
If you ever wanted to keep certain photos private, you can put them into a password-protected folder in Google Photos coming to Google Pixel devices first and more later on in the year. Plus password manager is getting an extra layer of protection, to find out check the full privacy updates.
Google’s search products are getting new features and improvements, including a follow-up to its Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers (BERT) called MUM. MUM(s) the word and it’s short for Multitask Unified Model, a new artificial intelligence model that’s purpose is to can a better understanding of the intent behind what a user is searching for.
Also announced was Language Model for Dialogue Applications or LaMDA for short, Google’s new AI technology aim to having a free-flowing conversation with a learned concept. The presentation showed off a conversation with Pluto and an airplane. Right now the project is in the research and development phase but internally is being used to ‘explore novel conversations’.
“We believe LaMDA’s natural conversation capabilities have the potential to make information and computing radically more accessible and easier to use. We look forward to incorporating better conversational features into products like Google Assistant, Search and Workspace,” said Pichai.
Another major announcement was Google’s push to making its camera technology more inclusive when the image of people of colour are captured. The tweak to Android camera technology aims to accurately capture skin tones and as well as curly hair by adjusting white balance and other camera algorithms. The changes is coming first to Pixel devices this fall, Google wants to work with other Android manufacturers so the camera works for everyone.
Google announced that it’s officially launching its Android 12 beta. The beta is available for 12 manufacturers including Google Pixel, Asus, OnePlus, Oppo, Realme, Sharp, Tecno, TCL, Vivo, Xiaomi, ZTE and TCL. The beta includes features like new personalization features, fluid motions, animations, privacy dashboards and more. If interested to enroll in the beta, check if your Android device is eligible for the beta. Google also announced that the collective amount of Android devices crossed the 3 billion thresholds.
One interesting announcement Google revealed was that it is working on new forms of video calls called project Starline. It displays a 3D model of the people you’re calling on a special hologram screen. The people in the video demonstration of the immersive experience all say how real it felt like the person they were talking were ‘right there’ in front of them.
The new technology blurs the lines of ‘normalized’ video calling and having a face-to-face conversation with someone in real life. The experience is much more dynamic than normal video calls and uses many gigabytes of data so it’s going to be a while before it’s practical, isn’t a hindrance on your internet connection or bill plus the price of using it.