Google I/O 2018 is the Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) company’s annual conference for developers. The keynote for the event just wrapped up. And as is usually the case, there were plenty of new developments in the Google and Android world. Here’s everything you need to know about Google I/O 2018.
Google I/O 2018 News: Google AI and Google Assistant
Naturally, Google is all-in on artificial intelligence after launching Google AI last year. Google created its own Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) chips to power its neural network and at Google I/0 2018 the company announced new, faster versions of the TPU chips. That additional power is being quickly put to use as AI becomes more central to everything the company is doing.
Google AI was talked up for its contributions to healthcare. Management also mentioned other applications, including more effective close captioning on TV shows (or YouTube videos), predictive typing, a “smart compose” feature for Gmail and Google Photos’ ability to convert text to PDFs and colorize black and white photos. Google AI is also making more natural human speech capabilities for Google Assistant possible. This will include conversational abilities and the voice of John Legend.
Also getting a leg up thanks to Google’s AI investment is Waymo. Alphabet’s self-driving car company got a few minutes on stage despite not technically being part of Google. Waymo has now driven over 6 million miles on public roads and runs a constant simulation with 25,000 cars in it.
But perhaps the most eye-opening demo of AI and Google Assistant was Google Duplex, a feature that lets Google Assistant make a call and make an appointment for you, including conversing naturally with the person who answers the phone. Alphabet is still taking the time to “get it right.” So the feature isn’t ready for prime time yet, but it was still a compelling demo of very futuristic technology.
Google Assistant now supports over 5,000 devices. And by the end of the year, it will be offered in over 80 countries and 30 languages.
Google I/O 2018 News: Android P
This year, the operating system that powers the majority of the world’s smartphones is merging mobile and AI. Android P — will it be Android Pineapple? — will be released today in beta for the Google Pixel and several other flagship smartphones.
Google is using AI extensively in predictive app behavior, and for an “adaptive battery” feature that uses machine learning to optimize battery life based on app usage and auto screen brightness. Android Dashboard will help users manage their digital “well being,” or to help them find life balance instead of spending all their time looking at a screen. Also on tap are further refinements of the user interface to make smartphones easier to use.
Google I/O 2018 News: Google News
Because of the issues of fake news and struggling publishers, the company picked a good time to focus on its Google News app. Google says it is using AI to improve Google News with three aims: keeping up with the news, understanding the full story and supporting your favorite publishers. The new Google News app is rolling out in Android, iOS and the web starting today.
Google I/O 2018 News: Android Things
Technically, Google let the cat out of the bag on this one before the Google I/0 2018 keynote. But there’s another new version of Android: Android Things.
This version of the operating system is aimed at smart home appliances like connected refrigerators. Google is playing up the security and ease of deployment, but getting Android on more devices is good for its bottom line. That’s more places for Google Assistant and more possible access points to watch YouTube.
Google I/O 2018 News: Google Maps (and Google Lens)
One of Google’s most popular apps will be getting some serious upgrades. Searches now support more complex requests such as “restaurants near me that are open now and serve pizza.” Additionally, a new “For You” section powered by AI will offer recommendations. Friends can even vote on where to eat or visit, directly from Maps.
A new Visual Positional System –or VPS– combines AI with Street View and Google Lens, to offer on-screen overlays to help you navigate based on visual cues from the environment.
Speaking of Google Lens, the company says most major smartphone manufacturers (Samsung excepted) will be integrating AI-powered Google Lens in their own smartphone apps.
Google I/O 2018 News: Google I/0 2018 Sets the Roadmap for Google’s Year
If you want to know what Google is going to be doing in 2018, the Google I/0 2018 keynote gives a pretty good idea of what to expect. As you can see, AI is part of virtually everything the company announced. And that investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning will pay off, giving Google a serious lead on the competition in 2018.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.