Read up on everything Google unveiled at its 2018 I/O developer conference, including the future of Android and how Google-powered AI could soon become your PA...
Every year Google gathers an excited crowd of developers and journalists to its campus in California to show off the tech revolutions coming to our phones and homes in the near future. The event is called Google I/O, and the main keynote speech took place last night. So, what’s new? And what’s around the corner?
From the latest and greatest iteration of Android, to a slew of ground-breaking AI advancements, here’s everything any avid Google fan needs to know…
Let’s start with mobile. Android P is officially the newest version of Google’s flagship mobile operating system (OS), and – as you might expect – it brings with it a whole heap of improvements and changes.
The most obvious change here is a refreshed user interface (UI), which changes up the classic ‘home, back and multitasking’ button layout that we’ve all come to know and love. Instead of those digital stalwarts, Android P boasts a gesture-based set of controls that – much like iOS 11 on iPhone X – incorporates a swipe up from the base of the screen to access the multitasking view, and a further swipe to get to your app drawer.
Google’s hoping this shakeup makes things more cohesive, but the changes in Android P are much more than just skin deep. For instance, there’s an increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) across the OS, with Android now able to do things like shut down apps it knows you don’t need to keep running and adjust your display’s brightness based on your habits.
On a deeper level, you’ll be able to use app features in Android P from outside the app in question. An example here might be playing a track in Spotify that someone mentions in a WhatsApp chat, or calling an Uber home straight from the app search screen.
“There’s an increased focus on artificial intelligence (AI) across the OS, with Android now able to do things like shut down apps it knows you don’t need to keep running.”
The last of the big features coming to Android P is Google’s new focus ‘Digital Wellbeing’. In other words: helping you use your phone a bit less. It’s an effort centred around a dashboard that aims to show you how much you use each app, and how long for, before allowing you to set daily limits on each individual one to help curb addiction.
As is always the case, Android P will begin rolling out to existing and new phones from today, but if or when it lands on your phone will be made clearer in the coming weeks. Watch this space!
AI, Assistant, and other new Google news
As per usual, Google had a lot to talk through beyond just what’s coming to your smartphone. There are cool updates coming to almost all of its other services and products, including little touches like boarding passes coming to Google Pay and new Google Home products with displays built in, alongside big new AI advancements.
Google Maps, for example, could soon get a shot in the arm from AI-powered augmented reality. The onstage demo showed how the already super-useful turn-by-turn feature could end up sporting a camera-powered view that overlays directional arrows (and extra info) on top of the real world.
Google Photos, meanwhile, is about to learn how to colorize old black and white snaps, while Gmail will soon be able to write your emails for you. But the biggest, most impressive update came in the form of ‘Duplex’ – the name Google gives what its AI teams are working on with regards to the future of the Google Assistant.
All of which brings us to the standout moment from the whole show: The Google Assistant making a real phone call to a salon to book an appointment. It’s mind-blowing stuff; just take a look for yourself (from 01:56:00) in the below:
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