Google I/O 2019 Highlights: 11 Important Announcements From Google’s Big Event

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Google just made a ton of big announcements related to upcoming services and products at its annual developer conference, Google I/O 2019. This is where Google shared insights into where its ecosystem is evolving and tried to assure users that it can be trusted to follow a responsible approach. From a service that finds answers, it wants to transition to a company that “gets things done”.

“Our goal is to build a more helpful Google for everyone. To increase your knowledge, success, health, and happiness,” said Sunder Pichai starting the Google I/O 2019 Keynote.

Google I/o 2019: Everything you should know

1. Android Q

  • The 10th version of Android is themed on Innovation, security and privacy, and Digital Wellbeing. It will also accommodate new device trends, like foldable phones.
  • Screen continuity for foldable phones (as works on Samsung Fold) will be a native Android Q feature
  • Finally, the dark theme is coming to Android Q
  • Android Q supports 5G natively.
  • Live captions that caption all videos and audios on your phone in real time will be a native Android Q feature. This doesn’t require you to send data to the cloud. It works locally.
  • Smart reply is coming to notifications and many more places.
  • It would be easier to access your privacy and data settings on Android Q
  • You will get reminders when an App is actively sharing your location. You will get more location sharing control.
  • Some OS modules will now be able to update in the background, without requiring a reboot.
  • Focus mode is coming to Android Q that can be used to temporarily disable certain distracting apps.
  • Android Q beta 3 will be available on 21 devices from 12 OEMs plus all Pixels starting today.

2. Google Pixel 3a XL and Pixel 3a

  • New Google Pixel phones start at $399 and come in three colors: Just black, clearly white, and purple-ish.
  • All Pixel perks, including the magnificent camera and free Photos storage, 3 years of updates, Call screening, etc. have made it to the low-cost Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL.
  • Google promises 30 hours of usage on a single charge, and 7 hours worth of battery with 15 minutes of charging.
  • The Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL also retain the Audio Jack.
  • Leaked specs were spot on. They will be confirmed by official listing across markets very soon.
  • Pixel 3a and 3a XL will be available in 13 markets including India starting today. India availability starts from May 15.
  • Pixel 3a XL India price starts at Rs 44,999 (as we first reported). Pixel 3a starts at 40,000 in India.

Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL Specs and Price

Phone name Pixel 3A Pixel 3A XL
Display 5.6-inch, Full HD+ 6.0-inch, Full HD+
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 Qualcomm Snapdragon 710
Battery 3000mAh 3700mAh
Software Android Pie Android Pie
Storage 64GB 64GB
Rear camera 12.2MP,  f/1.8, OIS 12.2MP,  f/1.8, OIS
Front camera 8 MP, f/2.0 8 MP, f/2.0
Price in India Rs 39,999 Rs. 44,999

3. Google Home becomes Nest

  • All Google Home products are coming under Nest banner. Google will be publishing privacy commitments for the home and also released the new Nest Hub Max.
  • Nest Hub Max has a bigger display and has a useful camera you can use to peep into your homes or for video calls. A green light indicator will indicate when the camera is on.
  • The camera can also use Face match to detect a user and then shows only personally relevant information.
  • Of course, it can still an excellent photo frame, and thanks to the bigger screen and more powerful speakers, it also doubles as a kitchen TV.
  • Nest Hub Max will be available later this summer for $229. Original Nest Hub (Google Home Hub) will now cost $129.

4. Google Search gets AR

  • AR and camera are being deeply integrated into Google search. This has several use cases, for instance, you can see the shoe you wish to buy from all angles, or when you search for shark, you will get the option to see it in front of you using AR.
  • Podcast results are being deeply integrated into Google Search as well.

5. Google Lens

  • Google lens is getting way smarter and is coming right to the Google search bar. Lens will be able to read the menu and highlight popular dishes. It will also be able to calculate the tip and split total.
  • “With Lens, we’re indexing the physical world, much like search indexes the billions of pages on the web.” The statement succinctly defines Google’s vision.
  • You will be able to point lens recipes and see the pages come alive.
  • Google lens can translate or read the information (or both) from pictures and posters. It will also highlight important words.
  • Lens already works in over a dozen languages, and the code is just over 100KB, so it can work on phones that cost as little as $35.

6. Duplex on the Web

Duplex is now on the web. You can simply ask Google Assistant to book a car for you, and it will start by auto-filling all details. You just have to confirm with your taps.

It understands the dates of your trip and the car you prefer based on Gmail trip confirmations.

7. Google Assistant gets MUCH faster

  • Google Assistant gets a lot faster thanks to advances in machine learning. Google demonstrated how now they can process voice on the device in real time and deliver results 10x faster than before.
  • Users won’t have to say Ok Google every time, this is something Google calls continuous conversation. This next generation assistant will be available on Google phones “later this year.”
  • Also, you can just say “Stop” to stop alarms. No need to say “Hey Google” first!

8. Picks for you

You can ask Google personalized questions like, “What should I cook for dinner?” and it will revert with suggestions based on your interests and history. You can edit or delete your preferences from a “You” tab on the assistant.

9. Driving Mode

You can trigger the new driving mode by just saying, “Hey Google, Let’s drive.”  You won’t need any app on your phone.

This might also conflict with Another Google service, Andriod Auto.

10. AI and Privacy

  • AI has to be for everyone. Google is correcting biases that AI model grabs. It’s also working on enhancing privacy control. Google is making it easier for users to access their data settings, to monitor data in different apps, and to delete their data.
  • Google Maps and Youtube will get Incognito mode too.
  • Google is bringing 2 step authentication to Android. This shall be active today on 2 billion active devices.
  • Google is already using federated learning where instead of fetching your data to the cloud, it ships machine learning module to your phone, and then only carries away what it has learned to the cloud. This way, your data stays with you. Federated learning is already integrated into Gboard, which allows Google to learn new words like YOLO without reading what you type!
  • Google talked at length about new machine learning language BERT that can fill in the blanks and detect missing words.
  • Google is also training AI to better predict floods, detect early stages of cancer,

11. Project Euphonia: Live captions and Live Relay

  • Live Caption can turn on captions for a video, podcast, or videos you capture at home. It works locally and with any video or audio on your phone. This shall especially help people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • Live Relays can help mute people type and have their transcript read by Assistant. Live relay also transcribes a call from the other hand. This allows deaf and mute people to engage in conversation by turning a phone call into a chat.
  • Google also talked about using a trained neural network and machine learning to detect lung cancer. It will publish a paper on the same in Nature medicine soon.

Google I/O 2019: Everything you need to know

This covers everything major Google talked about at I/O this year. Google is really getting in your lives and home and this year, the focus was to convince consumers that they still retain control of their lives and to assure that Google is taking a responsible approach moving forward.

Deepak SinghDeepak Singh
Deepak has more than 8 years of experience in covering technology for several eminent publications in India. He currently leads an enthusiastic team of young writers at Smartprix and tries to uphold the highest quality standards.

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