Yesterday, May 10, Google hosted its annual developer conference, Google I/O, where in the keynote session it introduced a wide range of products and services to the public. The first hour of the event was entirely dedicated to all the AI technologies that were being developed by Google and were likely to be launched this year. The biggest news to emerge from this was a new AI-powered Search, which will also get a conversational chatbot, and Google Workspace which will now soon come with generative AI support to help users write emails, essays, fill in spreadsheets and more. On the product side, Google introduced the new Pixelf 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet to its range of products. Let us take a quick glance at everything that was announced during the event.
Google I/O Highlights: The focus on AI
Even before the event began, the pre-event show featured composer Dan Deacon who played groovy music that was entirely made by artificial intelligence. Google introduced MusicLM, an AI tool that can turn text descriptions into music. Google later announced in a press release that this tool is now available for testing by visiting AI Test Kitchen on the web, Android or iOS.
The event began with CEO Sundar Pichai taking the stage and speaking about how Google has been working in the AI space for years and has been perfecting these services that will allow people to interact with technology in a more seamless way.
Google Maps unveiled a new “Immersive View for Routes” feature in select cities. Immersive View uses computer vision and AI to fuse billions of Street View and aerial images together to create a digital model of the world. With this technology, users can see all the information they need about your route at once including previewing bike lanes, sidewalks and intersections, as well as air quality, route appearance with weather and traffic changes.
Magic Editor is an AI-powered feature in Google Photos that will allow users to edit a certain part of a photo without needing to use any editing tools or knowing anything about editing. Users can make use of a powerful set of features including a magic eraser to remove unwanted people or objects, perspective, and frame shifts as well as touch-ups to backgrounds.
PaLM 2 is Google’s latest language model with improved multilingual, reasoning and coding capabilities. It has been trained on more than 100 languages and was pre-trained on a large quantity of publicly available source code datasets.
Google announced that at present, more than 25 Google products were using the technology of PaLM 2 to bring AI capabilities to them. Among them was Bard which received new features.
Bard gets new features
Google is not only removing its waitlist for Bard and making it available, in English, in over 180 countries and territories, but it’s also launching support for Japanese and Korean with a goal of supporting 40 languages in the near future. It’s also working for Bard’s ability to surface images in its responses. In addition, Google is partnering with Adobe for some art generation capabilities via Bard.
Google is also focusing on making interactions with Bard more intuitive and visual in nature and has added features such as photo results along with text and the option to ask follow-up questions. It is also getting a dark theme.
Google is also bringing new features to Google Workspace. In addition to “Help me write” in Docs and Gmail, Duet AI in Google Workspace provides tools to generate images from text descriptions in Slides and Meet, create custom plans in Sheets, and more.
Google Search has two new features surrounding a better understanding of content and the context of an image the user is viewing in the search results. The new feature includes more information with an “About this Image” feature and new markup in the file itself that will allow images to be labeled as “AI-generated.” Both of these features are meant to reduce misinformation and increase transparency for users.
Search is also getting a generative AI that can find contextual answers to questions that can be refined further to get precise information. It is also getting a conversational chatbot where users can ask questions. Google claims that the answers it comes up with will be more accurate than Search at present and will allow users to ask questions that were previously not possible on Search.
Google is also bringing AI capabilities to Android. The features are meant to improve connectivity as the company aims to build its own ecosystem of products. Google claimed that a new ‘Fast Pair’ mode is being added that will speed up wirelessly connecting different devices. Find My Device is getting an upgrade and will now support a wider range of devices from different brands.
AI-based customization tools for the Wallpaper are also coming. Users can use features like Magic Compose, Cinematic Wallpaper and Generative AI Wallpaper to give their smartphone a unique look.
Google introduced the new Pixel 7a as the latest mid-range smartphone from the company. It gets a 6.1-inch display, the Google Tensor G2 chipset, a 64MP primary camera as well as all the Pixel-specific AI features. The smartphone starts at $499 and can be pre-ordered now.
After a year of teasing, Google has finally launched Pixel Tablet. It features a 10.95-inch LCD display with 60Hz refresh rate, Tensor G2 chipset, a single rear 8MP camera, an 8MP front camera, and a 7020 mAh battery. The 8GB RAM + 128GB internal storage variant with a Charging Speaker Dock can be purchased for $499.
Google also unveiled its first-ever foldable smartphone, Pixel Fold. It gets a 5.8-inch cover display and a 7.6-inch main display. Both are OLED screens with a 120Hz refresh rate. The smartphone is powered by the Tensor G2 chipset and comes in a single 12GB RAM variant. The rear camera panel gets a triple 48MP + 10.8MP + 10.8MP system, while both the cover and inner display get 8.3MP cameras. The device features a 4,800 mAh battery. Pixel Fold gets a starting price of $1799 and can be pre-ordered now.
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