Google kicked off its annual I/O developer conference at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California on 8th May. Here are the 11 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2018:

Google AI:

Google goes all in on artificial intelligence and announced it is re branding its research division to Google AI. This clearly shows how Google is betting big on artificial intelligence and has increased its R&D focus on computer vision, natural language processing, and neural networks.

Google Assistant:

Google announced a “continued conversation” update to Google Assistant that makes talking to the Assistant feel more natural. Now, you don’t have to say ‘Hey Google’ anymore while making a request to Assistant. You’ll only have to do so the first time. In coming few weeks, you will be able to speak to Google Assistant in a manner of a natural conversation without having to say ‘Hey’ or ‘Ok Google’ intermittently. Google is also adding a new feature that allows you to ask multiple questions within the same request.

Google is getting 6 new natural sounding voices to its virtual assistant in addition to the original one you’re probably familiar with which Google calls “Holly”. And yes, you will hear none other than John Legend’s voice on Google Assistant later this year. Scott Huffman looks excited about Indian market as within one year it has seen three times the growth.

Google Duplex:

Google has taken our problem of fixing appointments quite seriously and transformed Assistant in a way that it can call up the salon and fix you an appointment. This conversation sounds like two humans are talking to each other. One can’t make out a robotic voice or salon employee is talking to AI powered bot.

Google Photos:

Google Photos already has built-in editing tools and AI-supported features for automatically creating collages, movies and stylized photos. Going one step further, Google has given an AI boost to Google Photos. Now, Photos is gaining more AI-powered features like the ability to separate subjects from the background in photos, turn old black and white pictures into colored, adjust the brightness, make colors pop, fix exposure, convert document photo into PDF and suggest rotations.

Smart Displays with Google Assistant and You Tube:

Smart Displays are considered to be the competitor to Amazon’s Echo Show. At I/O, Google announced that the first Smart Displays powered by Google Assistant and You Tube will begin shipping in July. Smart displays clearly indicate Google’s vision to build a visual-first version of Assistant, justifying the addition of a screen to the customer experience.

Google Maps:

Google is getting Assistant to Google Maps to provide better and more personalised user experience. The idea is to think far more than just directions and grow into a full-on social experience that can target apps like Yelp and Foursquare. Maps will now let you search for experiences, from specific neighbourhoods to see new restaurants, dance classes, business that are trending among other users.

Maps is also introducing VPS: Visual Positioning System that integrates your mobile camera, computer vision technology, and Google Maps with Street View. With this camera/Maps combination, you can simple invoke the camera, point it in a direction and Google will pair AI with Street View data to give you an interactive, AR turn-by-turn experience when you’re on the move.

Google Lens:

Google Lens can do things like identify clothing items, buildings or even dog breeds, just by pointing your camera at the object in question. It will also let you copy text from real world and able to paste into text field on your smartphone.

New generation of TPU Machine Learning hardware:

To handle machine operations several companies are looking to create customized AI hardware. By rolling out its third generation of silicon, the Tensor Processor Unit 3.0, Google has joined this league. Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the new TPU is 8x more powerful than last year per pod, with up to 100 petaflops in performance.

Google News:

Google is overhauling its news app and making it more powerful largely by artificial intelligence. This AI powered news app will analyse all the content published to the web at any moment and spot the ones users might be interested in. It will then organise all those relevant articles, videos into stroylines and puts them in your briefing. Google is also introducing features like “newscasts” and “full coverage” to help people get a summary or more holistic view of a news story.

Smart Compose in Gmail:

People who don’t like writing emails couldn’t be more happier as Google is getting Smart Compose feature in Gmail soon. Smart Compose will help you draft email from scratch and faster so that you will now email a lot more than ever. Behind this super cool feature lies a Machine Learning based word recommendation engine that suggests on next word of a line in contextual way and makes email writing easy.

Android P:

Google saved the best for the last. Google is one of those tech giants who cares about you and your digital well being. So, goodbye three button navigation and hello digital well being dashboard. Android P has got a fresh look where interactions are accomplished through iPhone X-like features and digital dashboard shows “how you’re spending time on your device, including time spent in apps, how many times you’ve unlocked your phone, and how many notifications you’ve received.” It has also added features like adaptive brightness, Shush which will automatically mute your phone once you put the device screen down on a table and Wind Down mode which turn the screen into a grayscale mode and deters people from spending excessive amount of time before bed.

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