We had a pretty good idea of what to expect at Google I / 0 2021 before the event kicked off on Tuesday morning. The developer conference focuses on announcements about tools and software that developers will soon have access to. But not everything is intended for developers. For example, we expected Google to show us a preview of Android 12, with a revamped interface and privacy features that are sure to please users.
So here’s everything Google announced at Google I / O 2021.
The keynote began with the mantra “Building a more useful Google for all”. Google recently added 150,000 km of cycle paths to Google Maps. Google Maps will also offer a new eco-route option that will give you the most fuel-efficient routes. Another feature, called Safer Routing, will use machine learning to determine the safest route based on weather and traffic.
Google Workspaces acquires Smart Canvas
Google is adding a new collaboration tool to Workspaces: Smart Canvas. It looks like a mix of Google Sheets, Docs, and the Asana task management service. Google Meet is also built into the bundle, and later this year you’ll be able to join a Meet video call while collaborating on a Google Slide document, spreadsheet, or doc.
Google Meet also benefits from improvements in noise cancellation, video quality that uses AI for lighting, framing and focus, and translations.
New for Google Translate and voice control
Last month, Google translated 20 billion web pages in Chrome. It is a huge number. On Tuesday, Google announced LaMDA, a natural language platform that is still in the research and development phase. A simulation of a conversation with LaMDA was presented, with the platform playing the role of the planet Pluto.
Both conversations were a bit odd, but it really feels like Google is working hard on the future of voice interactions. Eventually, Google will use LaMDA in Google Assistant and Search, and is looking for ways to give developers access to this futuristic platform.
Google and quantum computing
Google Cloud customers will soon have access to Google’s new TPUv4 pods, each of which offers processing power of an exaflop. Google also announced its new Quantum AI campus, a quantum computing facility where the company works on quantum computers, qubits, and processors.
Google Chrome acquires new password management tools
You can now import passwords from other managers into the Google tool. Further integration of password managers is also planned for Google and Android users. But the most notable improvement in Google Chrome’s built-in password manager is that it will now recommend you to change your password and automatically guide you through the process when it finds a password that has been compromised.
If you choose to change your password, Chrome will go to the site and walk you through the password change process – but in reality it looks like all you have to do is press a few buttons and have Chrome take care of it for you. This feature is first deployed in Chrome on Android.
New privacy controls apply to more apps
For example, you can now delete recent search history from your Google account with just a few clicks. Maps will give you the option to turn off location history, and Google Photos will have a locked folder to help keep your most private photos private. All data relating to account activity is automatically deleted after 18 months.
You can change the length of time you want Google to keep your personal and private data linked to your account. Currently, automatic deletion is enabled for 2 billion accounts.
Search receives important updates
Google is working on new tools to improve search results and give users more search options. One of the examples used in the keynote was taking the photo of a pair of boots and asking if they could be used to climb Mount Fuji.
The system then analyzes the boots in the photo and provides the requested response. Google adds “About This Result” to all English search results around the world, providing key information and context for various websites and services. The aim is to provide valuable, useful and accurate information from reliable sources.
New Augmented Reality Experiences
Using your Android phone, you can now see the performance of top athletes through an augmented reality experience. For example, you can watch gymnast Simone Biles move on a balance beam in augmented reality on your phone.
Google Maps receives its share of new features
Get more business insights using Google Maps live view in augmented reality. Hold your phone and point the camera at a restaurant. The new Live View feature will show you reviews, highlight road signs, and possibly work indoors (starting this week in select countries). This is an attempt to facilitate navigation and the discovery of new cities. In addition, Google Maps also benefits from a more detailed view of the streets, which makes it look more realistic.
Google Maps search results will also automatically adjust based on the time of day. For example, cafes will have larger pins early in the morning, or sandwich shops later in the day. Convenience stores will now show you the activity of a neighborhood, instead of only showing you the activity of a specific business.
Google shopping improves
Google now has a shopping graph that incorporates information from all over the web, including reviews. You can use Google Lens to review a photo or screenshot and then search for products that you can buy online. For example, if you take a photo of someone wearing a pair of shoes that you want, Google Lens can identify the shoes and tell you where to buy them.
Google Chrome will soon have the ability to show you all of your online shopping carts that contain items. Google will then search for available coupons and examine your loyalty programs to see if there is any way to save even more money. Chrome will also monitor an item and alert you if the price drops.
Google Photos contains 4 trillion photos, but hardly any are ever viewed
Google brings to Google Photos a new artificial intelligence function called “Little Patterns”. These templates allow you to spot photos in your account that have three similar objects – think coffee mugs – and group them into photo albums. Google also wants to improve your photo viewing experience. Google will now create cinematic photos, which use two similar photos to create a moving image using AI.
Finally, Google Photos is working on a tool that will easily remove a person or a period of your life from your memories. For example, to hide an ex who keeps coming back in your memories.
Android 12: a new look, more privacy features and a first public beta
Google has finally introduced the full version of Android 12 and its new approach to design called Material You. In the developer beta phase, we didn’t see a lot of mainstream features.
But with the release of the first public beta, Google has unveiled a fairly significant update to its Android operating system. For example, there’s a whole new look, privacy features, and improvements.
Android users will soon have an app built into their phone that will turn the phone into a remote to control Android TV OS. Car makers are also integrating Android Auto wirelessly, and some cars will even let you use your Android phone as a digital key for your car. It will work with the Pixel and the Samsung Galaxy, starting with BMW.
Google WearOS and Tizen are now identical
Samsung and Google have joined forces and combined Google’s WearOS with Samsung’s Tizen wearable operating systems. The result is faster apps, longer battery life, even with constant heart rate monitoring, and massive developer support. The developers will create apps for a single platform and list them in the Play Store.
Fitbit, which is owned by Google, also announced that it will begin integrating its platform into Wear later this year. The company will even begin designing Wear-based Fitbit devices this fall.
Google uses AI to identify skin diseases and for tuberculosis screening
To get a correct diagnosis, it will soon be enough to point your phone’s camera at a bump or rash for a response seconds later.
The Starline project
Google has demonstrated a new project that it is testing that makes video calls look realistic. A person sits on one side of a half wall, and on the other side of the wall is a very realistic image of the person you are talking to. The demonstration was brief, but it was astonishing.
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