Google gave a glimpse into how pervasive—and almost scary, yet-cool—artificial intelligence will be at the Google I/O conference on Wednesday.
Imagine pointing your smartphone at a flower and having your phone tell you what type of flower it is. Or, point a phone at a Wi-Fi router’s sticker and get the password to display on the phone’s screen. This is a soon-to-be-rolled-out feature in the Google ecosystem: Google Lens.
Google Lens and more advanced technologies were unveiled at the tech titan’s annual developer’s conference.
Super Smart Technology Via Machine Learning
CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the conference with his keynote address. Pichai said that Google’s previous mantra of “mobile first” has now transitioned to “AI [Artificial Intelligence] first.”
Pichai referred to Google’s recent advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence. Computer systems’ image recognition now rates “even better than humans,” he said.
Another announcement that captivated the audience of almost 7,000 (with thousands and thousands more watching the livestream) was the new features of Google Assistant. An onstage demo showed someone taking a photo of a theater marquee with a band’s upcoming concert information. Assistant interacts with Google Lens to provide automated tasks and more information about the photo.
For instance, with the photo of the marquee, Assistant can recognize the image and play the band’s music, add the concert date to your calendar, and even purchase concert tickets.
Other Announcements from Google
Other interesting—and geeky—announcements from Google I/O include:
- Google Assistant is now available for iPhone.
- Google’s VR technology, Daydream, will be rolled out to the Samsung Galaxy 8 this summer via a software rollout.
- In partnerships with HTC and Lenovo, two new Daydream standalone virtual reality headsets will ship later this year.
- Google Photos can recognize friends and contacts in photos you take and make suggestions about the photos—a feature called Suggested Sharing. It asks if you want to send recognized people in photos the images and offers other automated capabilities. Shared Libraries allows you to share groups of images with others automatically; they can also contribute to the library.
- The next release of Android, dubbed “Android O” will be available as a beta in a Developer’s Preview.
- Android O has been designed to provide a more fluid user experience. New features include picture-in-picture, which allows you to do things such as watch a Netflix video in the background of your phone screen while you check email; Notification Dots, which add dots on your phone app’s icon indicating there is new activity; Smart Text Selection, a feature that improves copying and pasting on an Android phone, and more.