But aside from all the fancy new things that got mentioned in the keynote, several other small changes and updates came out of Google’s annual developer conference that didn’t get quite as much attention. So here’s a quick roundup of some news and tidbits that could impact you in the not-too-distant future.
Tagged With google i/o
There are two kinds of people in the world: people who want dark mode everything, and people who for some reason don’t care about being blinded by apps with white backgrounds at night. As you’ve probably guessed, I fall into the first camp, which is why I was curious to check out the official Dark Theme in Android Q. So here’s a quick preview.
Google executives just made the first batch of announcements and took their bows at this year’s I/O Developer Conference in Mountain View, California. That means the world got a sneak peek at new Google products, including some fancy AI software and even a new phone. Some of it looks awesome! Some of it looks awful.
Alongside search, Android is one of the core pillars of Google’s success. It’s found on over a billion devices, and it’s often the first place to find new products like Google Assistant, AI-powered image recognition, and more. But at the same time, Android is also the foundation for Wear OS, Android Auto, and Google’s streaming TV platform Android TV.
And while I don’t want to take away from Google’s accomplishments on phones, this year at Google I/O 2019, it seems like Google’s broader Android ecosystem could steal some of the spotlight from Google’s ever-evolving mobile OS.
Among updates about new features coming to Android P, a new direction for Android Wear, and improved image recognition in Google Lens, the thing that really stole the show at Google I/O 2018 was Duplex, the automated phone service that can make a dinner reservation or an appointment at a hair salon without you ever needing to actually dial a number.
Remember when Google showed off a cool trick that would automatically remove things like fences or window panes from the foreground of your photos? Originally demoed at Google I/O 2017, the object-removal feature was supposed to be incorporated into Google Photos. But after waiting a year for the feature to go live, Google's annual dev conference swung 'round again and object removal was still a no show. So what happened?
Earlier this week at the Google I/O developer festival, the company debuted Duplex, its eerily accurate human voice system that impersonates a bumbling intern making calls on your behalf. According to Google, Duplex is able to schedule appointments and book restaurant reservations by making actual phone calls for you. What Google didn't say was whether the human on the other end would know it was talking to a bot.
When Google changed the name of its smartwatch OS from Android Wear to Wear OS, I was pissed. Not because the name sucked, as Wear OS does do a better job of reflecting the platform's support for both Android and iOS devices. The problem was that the rebranding didn't come with any new features or updates that advanced the capabilities of the platform. That meant the name change was more symbolic than anything, or at the very least, poorly timed.
Lens is Google's experimental, camera-powered search engine, but up until today, the service was buried inside Google's Assistant and the Google Photos app. Lens still isn't getting its own standalone app, but now Google is merging the feature into the default camera apps on a handful of Android devices, including the Pixel. With new prominence, Google is updating Lens with a handful of features that should land on your phone sometime "over the next few weeks".
Google Assistant is finally going to be easier to use, according to Google. Just a few days after the company announced that the virtual assistant now works with over 5000 devices, Google says that Assistant will soon not only sound more natural, but you'll also be able to have a conversation with it.
Video: Google I/O, the company's annual developer conference, kicks off today with a keynote at 3AM AEST led by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who will no doubt wax about the major projects Google's been working on since its last conference. Are you ready for extremely nerdy details about Android P? It's a bit too late to hop on a plane and grab a seat at the event, but fortunately, you can enjoy it from the comfort of your chair.