50 Things Google Announced This Week

50 Things Google Announced This Week
Image: Google

Google I/O has been running this week and some things sure were announced.

Unlike previous years, there was no hardware focus. It was all about the software, AI and improvements.

That being said, if you were itching to find out about the upcoming Google Pixel 6, the leakers have you covered.

So let’s take a look at just some of the many things Google announced this week.


AI

AI was also s big deal at Google I/O 2020 — so much so that Google even announced a dedicated AI campus.

  1. A closer look at Google’s AI campus
  2.  LaMDA, a machine learning model that improves on an AI’s conversational skills
  3. Project Starline — a technology project that combines advances in hardware and software to enable friends, families and coworkers to feel together, even when they’re cities (or countries) apart.
  4. Improved carbon intelligent computing: Google can now shift moveable compute tasks between different data centers, based on regional hourly carbon-free energy availability.
  5. A deep learning system to detect active pulmonary tuberculosis
  6. Teaching Maps to identify and forecast when people are hitting the brakes
  7. In Google Workspace, assisted writing will suggest more inclusive language when applicable.
  8. Shopping Graph: our AI-enhanced model tracks products, sellers, brands, reviews, product information and inventory data — as well as how all these attributes relate to one another.
  9. AI-powered dermatology assist tool — a web-based application that we aim to make available for early testing in the EU later this year, it’s easier to figure out what might be going on with your skin. Simply use your phone’s camera to take three images of the skin, hair or nail concern from different angles.

Privacy

Privacy has been one of the key talking points of I/O 2020. Some of the big changes include increased password security and options, new permission features for Android 12 and a Quick Delete function in Chrome.

  1. Quick delete in Search — a new, “quick delete” option to delete the last 15 minutes of your Search history with a single tap from the Google Account Menu.
  2. Location History reminders in your Maps Timeline.
  3. New transparency and permission features on Android 12
  4. A new tool that makes it easy to import passwords from other password managers.
  5. Deeper integrations with Chrome and Android to seamlessly fill your passwords across sites and apps, regardless of whether you’re on desktop or on mobile.
  6. Password Alerts that automatically warn you if we detect one of your saved passwords has been compromised via a third party breach.
  7. A smart way to fix compromised passwords in Chrome with a simple tap.
  8. Android’s Private Compute Core, which keeps your information safe and private for a number of popular AI-driven features like Live Caption (which displays captions based on audio), Now Playing (which tells you the song that’s playing) and Smart Reply (which suggests short responses to messages and emails). For these features, the audio and language processing happens exclusively on your device.
  9. New ability to unlock and sign-in to a nearby Chromebook from your phone.
  10. In the future the ability to see recently snapped photos taken on your phone on your Chromebook.

Read more here.


Android 12

The Android 12 Beta was officially unveiled at the conference, and it brought a nice slew of features with it.

And for for anyone interested in trying out the beta, you can find out how to install it here.

  1. A new Material Design Language which allows Android’s UI and home screen to adapt to your favourite colour scheme while still maintaining a cohesive look.
  2. Android 12’s interface and design are also getting an overhaul allowing you to create a custom home screen palette based on your home screen wallpaper.
  3. Lock screen has also been updated with more dynamic lighting and a clock that changes size depending on if you have unread notifications or not.
  4. New haptic feedback options
  5. Revamped ‘At A Glance’ feature to better highlight things like currently playing music, while updates to the Quick Settings menu adds new icons for home controls, Google Pay, and more.
  6. New way to summon Google Assistant by holding the power button down for a couple of seconds
  7. CPU system server time reduced by 22 per cent
  8. New indicator that will let you know anytime an app is using your device’s microphones or cameras
  9. Improved camera support for quad and nona bayer sensors. This is said to help with image quality and low-light performance.

Wear OS

Wear OS has needed a serious overhaul for awhile now, so it was kinda cool to see an actual big announcement this week. Google and Samsung are blending Wear and Tizen into a single platform.

Here’s what else was announced:

  1. There can be only one: Wear OS and Tizen are becoming one.
  2. Increased battery life by optimising the lower layers of the operating system – taking advantage of low-power hardware cores to enable better battery life.
  3. Ease of use for developers: all device makers will be able to add a customised user experience on top of the platform, and developers will be able to use the Android tools they already know and love to build for one platform and ecosystem.
  4. New tools, like a Tiles API and a watch face design editor built by Samsung to WatchOS to run more apps.
  5. New shortcuts from anywhere on the smart watch.
  6. More ways to customise your home screen carousel with Tiles from your favourite apps like Calm, Sleep Cycle and Flo. You can read more here.
  7. Google Pay is getting redesigned and is adding support for 26 new countries
  8. YouTube Music will also arrive on Wear later this year, equipped with features like smart downloads.
  9. Fitbit upgrades in the latest Wear OS update: tracking your health progress throughout your day and on-wrist goal celebrations.


Photos

There’s also some upgrades to Google Photos, particularly when it comes to blending AI and the Memories function.

  1. Locked Folder — a passcode-protected space where you can save photos separately, so they won’t show up as you scroll through Google Photos or any other apps on your device.
  2. Photo memories: Using machine learning, we can now go beyond resurfacing photos based on themes to doing so based on not-so-obvious visual patterns in your photos. Starting later this winter, when we find a set of three or more photos that share things like shape or colour, we’ll highlight these little patterns for you in your Memories.
  3. New Best of Month Memories and Trip highlights
  4. New memory types being added later this year. These include Diwali, Lunar New Year and Hanukkah
  5. The use of computational photography to really bring Cinematic Photos (introduced last year) to life.
  6. Google Photos already includes controls to hide photos of certain people or time periods, and we’re continuing to add new ones to improve the experience as a result of this continued partnership [with GLAAD]. Later this winter we’re making these controls easier to find, so you can choose what you look back on in just a few taps.
  7. New ability to rename a Trip highlight, or remove it completely.
  8. Upcoming ability to remove a single photo from a Memory, remove Best of Month Memories and rename or remove Memories based on the moments you celebrate.

You can read more here.


Everything Else

But wait, there’s more!

  1. Detailed street maps introduced last year will expand to 50 more cities by the end of 2021.
  2. Fast Pair to even more devices such as Beats headphones as well as cars from BMW and Ford
  3. Building remote-control features directly into your Android phone, so you can watch your favourite show even if your actual remote is missing
  4. Soon Phone Hub will provide access to recently taken photos from your phone, so when you need to edit a picture or share on social media, you can access it instantly on your Chromebook without having to email it to yourself.
  5. Digital car key for select car manufacturers with Android 12
  6. Securely and remotely share your digital car key with friends and family if they need to borrow your car.
  7. New smart chips in Google Docs for recommended files and meetings.
  8. Inclusive language recommendations and other new assisted writing features
  9. Page docs that let you remove the boundaries of a page to create a surface that expands to whatever device or screen you’re using
  10. Emoji reactions in Docs.
  11. Connected checklists in Docs
  12. Table templates in Docs
  13. Smarter meeting notes template in Docs
  14. Work in Meet directly from your Doc, Sheet or Slide