Yesterday was day one of Google’s annual I/O conference where they get the opportunity to showcase new hardware and software to the world.
In this year’s conference, they did show a number of cool features that we can enjoy now or in the near future and here are the main ones.
Android Q Beta 3
Google I/O is usually the conference where Google announces the release of the beta version of the next version of Android, where in this case it is Android Q Beta 3. Android Q is the 10th major version of the operating system and it comes with a number of key updates.
First is system wide dark mode for every standard Android app. We have seen this being implemented by manufacturers from their skins and now Android will have it natively.
There is also Focus mode which is a compliment to Digital Wellbeing that was announced last year with Pie. Focus Mode will let you select certain apps that you’d want to avoid using and disable them.
There is also on device Smart reply in third party messaging apps where it will offer suggested replies in notifications and will intelligently predict your next action.
There is also Project Mainline which is a new way for Google to distribute security updates. Starting with Android Q, google will distribute security updates through its app store, making this process much faster than they are now.
This is one phone that was severely leaked before its final reveal. Google finally announced its ‘budget’ Pixel phone today and it is quite impressive.
It comes in a pair: Pixel 3A and 3A XL and they start at $399 for the 3A and $479 for the 3A XL.
They have either a 5.6 inch or 6 inch 1080p OLED display with no notch. They both have 4GB of RAM and 64GB of internal storage. The main camera seems like the exact one on the Pixel 3 which is a 12.2MP unit with f/1.8 aperture and OIS, which means it will take excellent photos judging from the brands success.
Other features include a 3000mAh battery for the 3A, 3700mAh for the 3A XL, Snapdragon 670 chip, USB-C, Stereo Speakers, 18W charger and it is made of plastic. It ships in three colours that are named using Google’s whimsical naming system : Just Black, Clearly White and Purple-ish.
This has to be the most interesting phone right now thanks to its crazy price and the features that it possesses.
Live subtitles on videos
Another interesting feature Google is adding is live caption to all videos. This will be a built in accessibility feature where when you watch a video anywhere, Google will add subtitles to what is being said. It will also be added to phone calls where it will add a live transcript of the conversation.
Next generation Assistant
This was an intriguing demo from Google. Google Assistant has grown quite well and the company has been improving on it year on year.
However, they decided to show to us the next generation Assistant and it is superior to what we have in one area: Speed.
Google was able to develop a completely new speech recognition and language understanding model that was 100 GB in the cloud down to less than half a GB. This allows the AI that powers the Assistant to run locally on phone and enables it to process speech on device with almost zero latency.
The demo was amazing to watch and Google says that we should expect to see it in the next major Pixel refresh this coming fall.
Improved Google Search
Google will roll out AR features where you can view and interact with 3D objects right from Search.
They are also interacting with NASA, Samsung, Visible Body, Volvo, Wayfair and New Balance to surface their content in Search so that you can interact with 3D models of a new pair of sneakers or the human body right from Search.
Improved Google Lens
Google Lens is one very interesting AR tool and it has a lot of capability. Now Google has supercharged this feature even more.
Google has used machine learning, computer vision and facts on Google’s Knowledge Graph to provide visual answers to visual questions. Example, in a restaurant, Lens can highlight what dishes are popular right from the menu and when you tap on a dish, you can see what it looks like.
Google Lens will also automatically detect languages from content you point the camera to and overlay the translation over the original words.
Google also added Lens to Google Go which is their Search app for basic smartphones. In Google Go, Lens will be used to help people read forms, bus schedules and other notices and read it out loud for you. this will help people who struggle to reach such content.