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Google I/O 2018: The 10 Biggest Announcements

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Google kicked off its annual I/O 2018 conference at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, California, the event was packed with the biggest announcements from Android update on the way. John Legend is lending his voice to Google Assistant. Gmail can almost write emails entirely by itself and more.

Smart Compose in Gmail

This is a new feature in Gmail that uses AI to not just predict words users plan to type, but the entire phrases that are suggested based on context and users history. The feature will roll out in the next month.

Google Photos AI features

Google Photos is getting many new features based on AI and machine learning. For example, the app can take an old restored black and white photo, convert it to realistic color and touch it up in the process.

 

Google Assistant Voices

Google Assistant will get six new voice which totals to eight voices including the  original two voices GA had. Google Assistant voices will also include John Legend!

To make the voices more realistic Google is using WaveNet and soon it will perfect all accents and languages around the world. By the end of 20018, Google Assistant will support 30 different languages.

 

Natural conversation

Google is making a alot of upgrades to Google Assistant revolving around natural conversation. For one, conversations can continue following an initial wake command (“Hey Google”). The new feature is called continued conversation and it’ll be available in the coming weeks.

 

Multiple Actions support is coming also that allows Google Assistant to handle multiple commands at one time.

“Pretty Please” is another new feature that all roll out later this year which will help young children learn politeness by responding with positive reinforcement when children say please.

 

New visual canvas for Google Assistant

The first Smart Displays powered by Google Assistant will be released in July with a new visual interface for a better experience.

Also, Google Assistant’s visual UI is getting updated for mobile devices as well in 2018.

The Google app will show a snapshot of the user’s entire day. The new UI is coming to Android this summer and to iOS later this year.

 

Google Duplex

At Google announcement I/O 2018, they announced a revamp of Google Assistant where the speaker stated that it can be a real assistant where Google Assistant can make a real call to a hair salon and speak back and forth conversation with an hair salon employee and ultimately book an actual woman’s haircut appointment in the time span requested by the user.

This feature will not roll out anytime soon as Google is still working on this. sfea not a feature that will roll out anytime soon, but an initial version of the service that will call businesses to get store hours will roll out in the coming weeks, and the data collected will allow Google to update open and close hours under company profiles online.

 

Google News

Google News is getting an update that focussing on highlighting quality journalism which will make it easier for users to be updated with news by showing a briefing at the top with five important stories and Local news will be highlighted as well. The Google News app will constantly improve and learn user’s preferences as he or she uses the app.

Videos from YouTube and elsewhere will be showcased more times and a new feature called Newscasts will be updated for news (Like Instagram stories).

The revamped Google News will also take steps to help users understand the full scope of a story, showcasing a variety of sources and formats. The new feature, which is called “Full Coverage,” will also help by providing related stories, background, timelines of key related events, and more.

Finally, a new Newsstand section will let users choose specific publications that they can subscribe to paid news services right inside the app. Paid subscriptions will make content available not just in the Google News app, but on the publisher’s website and elsewhere as well.

The updated Google News app is rolling out on the web, iOS, and Android beginning today.

 

Android P

Google had already released the first build of Android P for developers, the company has discussed a number of new features that fall into three core categories.

Intelligence

Google partnered with DeepMind to create a feature called Adaptive Battery. It uses machine learning to determine which apps you use frequently and which ones you use only sporadically, and it restricts background processes for seldom used apps in order to save battery live.

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Another new feature called Adaptive Brightness learns a user’s brightness preferences in different ambient lighting scenarios to improve auto-brightness settings.

App Actions is a new feature in Android P that predicts actions based on a user’s usage patterns. It helps users get to their next task more quickly. For example, if you search for a movie in Google, you might get an App Action that offers to open Fandango so you can buy tickets.

Slices is another new feature that allows developers to take a small piece of their apps — or “slice” — that can be rendered in different places. For example, a Google search for hotels might open a slice from Booking.com that lets users begin the booking process without leaving the search screen. Think of it as a widget, but inside another app instead of on the home screen.

Simplicity

Google wants to help technology fade to the background so that it gets out of the user’s way.

First, Android P’s navigation has been overhauled. Swipe up on a small home button at the bottom and a new app switcher will open. Swipe up again and the app drawer will open. The new app switcher is now horizontal, and it looks a lot like the iPhone app switcher in iOS 11.

Also appreciated is a new rotation button that lets users choose which apps can auto-rotate and which ones cannot.

Digital well-being

Android P brings some important changes to Android that focus on wellbeing.

There’s a new dashboard that shows users exactly how their spent their day on their phone. It’ll show you which apps you use and for how long, and it provides other important info as well. Controls will be available to help users limit the amount of time they spend in certain apps.

An enhanced Do Not Disturb mode will stop visual notifications as well as audio notifications and vibrations. There’s also a new “shush” feature that automatically enables Do Not Disturb when a phone is turned face down on a table. Important contacts will still be able to call even when the new Do Not Disturb mode is enabled.

There’s also a new wind-down mode that fades the display to grayscale when someone uses his or her phone late at night before bed.

Google announced a new Android P Beta program just like Apple’s public iOS beta program. It allows end users to try Android P on their phones beginning today.

Google Maps

A new “For You” tab in Google Maps shows you new businesses in your area as well as restaurants that are trending around you. Google also added a new “Your Match” score to display the likelihood of you liking a new restaurant based on your historical ratings.

Have trouble choosing a restaurant when you go out in a group? A long-press on any restaurant will add it to a new short list, and you can then share that list with friends. They can add other options, and the group can then choose a restaurant from the group list.

These new features will roll out to Maps this summer.

Computer Vision

A bit further down the road, Google is working on a fascinating new feature that combines computer vision courtesy of the camera with Google Maps Street View to create an AR experience in Google Maps.

Google Lens is also coming to additional devices in the coming weeks, and there are new features coming as well.

 

Lens can now understand words, and you can copy and paste words on a sign or a piece of paper to the phone’s clipboard. You can also get context — for example, Google Lens can see a dish on a menu and tell you the ingredients.

 

A new shopping features let you point your camera at an item to get prices and reviews. And finally, Google Lens now works in real time to constant scan items in the camera frame to give information and, soon, to overlay live results on items in your camera’s view.

BONUS: Waymo self-driving taxi service

Waymo is the only company that currently has a fleet of fully self-driving cars with no driver needed in the driver’s seat. On Tuesday, Waymo announced a new self-driving taxi service that will soon launch in Phoenix, Arizona. Customers will be able to hail autonomous cars with no one in the driver’s seat, and use those self-driving cars to travel to any local destination. The service will launch before the end of 2018.

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