Wednesday, August 12, 2020

In brief: A summary of Google’s announcement at the I/O 2019 Keynote

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Vincent Wee
Vincent Wee
Singapore | Vincent is a dynamic and versatile marketing strategist primarily focused on digital marketing. He also has a keen passion for gaming and collecting designer toys.

Google announced tons of stuff in the two-hour keynote session at the annual Google I/O Conference. Here is a quick summary of the announcements.

  • Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL: Google is launching more affordable versions of its Pixel 3 phones. The Pixel 3a retails at US$399, featuring a 5.6″ display, 12.2mp rear camera and runing on Android P. The Pixel 3a XL, on the other hand, will retail at US$479, with a screen upgrade up to 6.0″.
  • Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max: Google Home Hub is being rebranded as the “Nest Hub,” with the price dropping from US$149 to US$129. The Nest Hub Max will be with a display up from 7″ to 10″ and adding a camera.
  • Augmented reality in search: Users can soon search for something like the “great white shark” and see it in front of you via your phone’s camera in AR.
  • Google Lens upgrades: New features will be added to Google Lens. It will be able to highlight the most popular items at a restuarant menu or calcualte tips and totals on a receipt.
  • Duplex on the web: Google will be opening up Duplex to the web after launching at last year’s I/O.
  • Google’s “next-gen” Assistant: Google shrinks its voice recognition models down from hundreds of gigabytes to half a gigabyte, so that they now are able to fit into a phone. The next-gen Assistant will hit new Pixel phones later this year.
  • Google Assistant in Waze: Google Assistant will be built into the Waze.
  • Google Assistant driving mode: By saying “Hey Google, let’s drive” will now transform Assistant into driving mode, a minimalist dashboard focusing on what you might need while behind the wheel, like directions to your daily spots and music control.
  • Incognito mode in Google Maps: The new Incognito mode in Google Maps will prevent your searches/routes on Google Map from being saved to your Google account history.
  • Live caption and live transcribe: Android will soon be able to automatically generate captions for media on your phone, which includes podcasts.
  • Project Euphonia: Google is researching how to adapt its current AI voice algorithms to better understand users with speech impairments.
  • Dark Theme: Android Q will have a dark mode which can be triggered manually, or automatically via the battery saver mode.
  • Focus mode: With Focus Mode, you will be able to make a list of the apps which you don’t like — flip a switch, and they’ll disappear until the Focus Mode is off.
  • Google Maps AR mode rolls out to Pixel phones: A few months back, Google introduced a new augmented reality (AR) mode that it’s been working on for Google Maps. This mode has been in beta for quite some time, and should start hitting the Pixel phones soon.
  • Kotlin as the new preferred language for app development: Google announced that Android development would become increasingly ‘Kotlin-first.’ The company also introduced Jetpack Compose, a new unbundled Kotlin toolkit.
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