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Google I/O– the biggest event of the year that kicked off on 7th May and ended by 9th May has unveiled ample of revolutionary projects that are worked on behind the closed doors. The Google Developers Conference takes the world on a journey through the collective efforts to push the boundaries of technology, tools, and products. Google I/O has always mesmerized the tech lovers with what they have exhibited during the event all these years and stayed true to the slogan – “Google Innovations in the Open”, which is what it means.
Just as a recap of Google I/O 2018, Sunder Pichai kicked off this year’s Google I/O event. The event started with a keynote about Pixel 3A and 3A XL, and Android Q around which many rumours were going around since the past few months. Following it were the major updates made to Google Assistant, Google Lens, Google Duplex, and Google Search alongside the Nest Hub Max release, that’s the larger version of the Nest Hub.
Buying a new smartphone with a good camera costs much higher to an average Joe. That’s where Android phones are a good alternative, but their cameras are almost ordinary. Breaking the rule of tech reviews, Google has launched Pixel 3A that has an excellent camera, and the latest version of Android, which goes on sale at $399, the starting price.
The phone looks similar to expensive Pixel 3 phones and supports all the camera features like- night sight, top shot, dancing AR cartoon, and time lapse. However, this cost-cutting also results in the absence of premium features on Pixel 3A such as no waterproofing, no wireless charging, slow processor, no front-facing stereo speakers, and no support for Daydream VR. Moreover, Google has facilitated free Google photo storage on the cloud, but original resolution backup is missing, which hints full resolution is not viable.
The biggest catch- the Pixel 3A has a good camera, if it captures your attention, you can buy it from any of the carriers- Verizon, Google Fi, T-Mobile, US Cellular, and Sprint.
Just like the four years in a row, in this year’s Google I/O event the tenth version of Android- Android Q was announced. The new Android version is jam-packed with innovative AI features, privacy and security updates, and new digital wellbeing mode.
Heeding to the request from many, the support for the dark theme is offered which allow the users to turn the interface from white to black quickly. The dark theme activation is a straightforward process that helps in increasing battery life. The dark theme is said to be available for all first-party Android apps, and an API created enables the third-party developers to incorporate a quick-and-dirty dark theme with a single line of code.
Now moving ahead with the initiative for digital wellbeing, the new features are added to curb the mobile addiction. So this includes the new focus mode that allows users to choose the particular apps that they find distracting and don’t want to use for a specific period of day by disabling them. The new parental controls where the parent and kid accounts are linked enables the parent to put limitations on the app that their kids are using the most.
The tweaks brought to notifications include- swipe in one direction to dismiss the notification while doing the same on the other direction unearths different options; the smart and quick reply to the incoming messages where the OS make the recommendations based on the context of the message.
With a motive to provide security updates to Android devices at a faster rate, the smaller security patches are distributed through Google Play Store infrastructure using the new project mainline initiative. It’s a great solution to get the security updates out to more phones without having to wait for manufacturers or carriers to distribute them.
Under the hub of new permission and privacy update, the user gets an option to restrict the location access to the apps, that’s open and active on the screen. Even after the permission denial, if the app tries to access the location data, the user will get an instant notification for the same.
The last, but the most impressive feature that will undoubtedly be an exciting part of the Android Q is the live caption. The feature rolled out for video chat, video calls, or watching video on app or web, where the real-time transcription is done of what’s being said by the users. The addition of live subtitles will be a great help to the people who have difficulty in hearing or instances of watching a video in public or want to keep the volume low during the video call. The on-device machine learning technology is used to add live captions to the videos or podcasts that are running on the user’s phones in the real-time, irrespective of the user is online or offline. Shortly, support for more languages will be provided.
Last year, it was brought to light that Google continuously tracks the users even when the location history settings are off. Thus, to respect the user’s location data privacy, the new Incognito mode feature is introduced to Google Maps that stop the search giant entirely from tracking the user’s location.
The feature allows the users to delete the location history, app and web activity data collected, since the past three to 18 months manually, or in the other option provided it will be auto-deleted on a rolling basis. Its availability to the users is said to be in a couple of weeks.
Nest Hub Max – the upgraded home device where the users get three- Google Home Hub, Nest Camera, and Google Home Max under the hood. The officially launched 10-inch device costs around $229, while it works as a security camera, smart display, and control panel.
The in-built cameras serve the purpose of a security camera by streaming a live feed of your home directly on the connected phone. With local facial recognition technology, the Nest Hub Max can analyze the face of people living in the house and create a personalized homepage using Google photos.
Like other smart displays, the device can also make video calls; control other smart devices in the home; perform different activities such as playing videos, live streaming shows, or display photos at the voice command.
The not-so-old launched device is gaining traction in the market with new use-cases coming out. Under the new update made to Google Lens, the ability envisioned to contextualize on what’s written on the piece of paper is a reality now. For instance, when you want to order a dish, Google Lens searches for the exact dish on the restaurant menu and even shows the photos of the dish in a particular area. When the lens hovered over restaurant magazine, the textual recipes come alive showcasing the cooking process as a video. Google Lens has come a long way and has gotten smarter over the years.
The other Google Go feature update, where when people point the lens at a sign that they don’t understand, the text-to-speech translation read it aloud, or the text gets translated in the local language. It’s designed to support various languages so that users can sign in a language that they don’t know while traveling in foreign countries.
Last year, one of the biggest AI surprise- Google Duplex that Google has brought to the world to make hair appointments, or book restaurant tables have amazed us. This event is all set to take the human-sounding AI experience to a new level by extending the duplex services to the web. The web enhancement indeed ends up the web-based chats to book movie tickets or a car for rent.
For instance, after the table reservations, when the user request for car rental booking, the AI assistant in Google Duplex pulls the information (name, address, and booking time) from the existing reservation and uses it to auto-fill the form of car rental booking. Here, Duplex before moving forward to confirm the car rental booking requires the user to scan the form filled quickly.
In addition to text, image, and voice search, now, the Google search results are enhanced with a significant update. The podcast will henceforth appear in search results which allows the users to listen to them directly in the search results with a single tap.
The AR capabilities added to search results enables the users to get 3D models of particular objects in the search result. The update allows industries to create innovative use cases. When the user searches for furniture online, they can view the 3D model of it, and check how it would look inside the home.
From the minutest aspect to the bigger ones every announcement is an addition towards making the journey of the user an enthralling one. So to make things easier, for the developers, to provide such experiences –
As promised, Google delivered the stepping stone for the developers.
Google I/O event, that’s marked as the developer’s conference, where innovation is revealed in the open, ended this year with the note of bringing new hardware and software to the world that enables developers – to engineer immersive experiences. The latest products- Pixel 3A/3A XL, and Nest Hub Max, platform innovations- Android Q, and the wide range of updates to Google Search, Duplex, Assistant, Map, and lens have drawn special attention at the event.
This year the I/O event was focused on building a more helpful Google for everyone. The developers are believed to take up these announcements as the opportunities and translate them into innovative use cases to craft world-class applications that fascinate and inspires its users.
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