Key Takeaways from the Google I/O Conference 2018
Exciting news with Google Assistant, Android, Maps, and more!
This past May, Softvisioner Puneet Kumar Dubey attended the Google I/O Conference, an annual festival that brings together developers from around the world. This year’s event was held in Mountain View, California, where Google attendees like Puneet heard talks, experienced hands-on learning with Google experts and got a first look at the company’s latest developer products. Read on for some of Puneet’s key takeaways from the 2018 Google I/O Conference.
First, some general Google updates:
- Google’s Chief Executive Officer, Sundar Pichai talked about a new Gmail feature that can auto-complete sentences as you type emails.
- People were very excited about a quick demo of taking a photo of a document and converting it into a PDF in Google Photos.
- Lilian Rincon, Google’s Director of Product Management, talked about the first Google-powered smart displays will ship in July this year.
What’s new with Google Lens?
- Three new features are coming to Lens in the next few weeks.
- Lens will be integrated into the native camera app on the Pixel and the LG G7, and will come to other major phones.
- A new feature called “Smart Text Selection” lets you copy and paste words from the real world around you.
Exciting Google Assistant news:
- Pichai said Wavenet will now power six new voices for Google Assistant. He also spoke about the difficulty of using software to parse language, and how to look for different requests in the same sentence.
- Food pickup and delivery from Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, DoorDash, and others will now work through Google Assistant.
- Later in the year, Google Assistant will be able to make real-world calls in the background as you talk to the Assistant. Google calls this technology “Google Duplex,” and demonstrated how it could call a salon for you to book an appointment.
- VP, Engineering of Google Assistant, Scott Huffman introduced “Continued Conversation,” a more natural way to talk to the Google Assistant (no more need to repeat “Hey, Google” over and over). He also discussed how there will be games, stories, and more family-focused Assistant features.
- The Google Assistant voice will also insert “uhhs” and “umms” to sound more natural.
Big Android news:
- Dave Burke, VP of Android engineering, announced that “Android P” is coming and it will focus on three themes: Intelligence, Simplicity, and Digital well being.
- With Android P, there will be a new machine learning feature called “Adaptive Brightness,” which will understand how bright you like your screen depending on how much light there is around you.
- A new feature called “Slices” is coming to Android P. If you type “Lyft” into the Google Search app, you’ll see a slice of the app in the search results, and you can order the app directly from that page.
- Android P emphasizes simplicity by addressing pain points about accessing features.
- Google is highlighting a new navigation system in Android, including a swipe-up gesture. Swipe up once and it brings you to open apps. Swipe up again to get to all apps.
- New rotation button appears on the navigation bar when you turn your phone sideways, which is supposed to prevent accidental rotations.
- Android P has a dashboard that tells you how much time you’re spending on your phone.
- There’s also a new gesture called “Shush.” If you turn your phone over on the table, the phone automatically goes into do not disturb mode.
Upcoming Google Maps features:
- Algorithms automatically update maps by extracting data from Street View images. Maps will get a new tab called “For you,” which will show you recommendations about what’s new in your area, as well as trending restaurants.
- The new Group Planning feature lets you and your friends suggest and vote on a dinner location without having to start a whole new chat group.
- A new feature called “VPS” (visual positioning system) can help make navigating easier.
Self-driving cars are almost here:
- Dmitri Dolgov, CTO & VP Engineering, Waymo, talked machine learning at Waymo, the self-driving car service that began with Google in 2009.
- Waymo’s cars have driven 6 million miles on public roads. Waymo has driven more than 5 billion miles in simulation, and can use its experience to teach its cars new skills.
- Dolgov showed how Waymo’s self-driving cars can recognize other vehicles on road, even if the data is muddied by heavy snow.
Our Softvisioner, Puneet also enjoyed noting that Google CEO, Sundar Pichai dropped a “FOMO” (fear of missing out) reference. “We think there’s a chance for us to do better,” Pichai says.