So I finally had a chance to watch the almost two hour keynote from Google. Here are some of my observations.
For one thing, Google is getting a little more hip. Like Apple there presentations are getting better. More video. Good product demonstrations. A very smooth transition from speaker to speaker. Good on you Google. Much better than in the past.
I think the thing that struck me most was Googles collection and use of data. Now we all know that they are using our data, but the way they are using it is incredible.
The real focus is the Assistant. They really want the Assistant to be everything to you, and the way they are going they will get there.
One of my favorite demonstrations was the use of the Assistant and AR to help you find a product in Lowe’s. They said that this is working, and sounds like they are anxious to roll it out. Imagine asking the assistant to help you find a #10 wood screw, and having AR guide you through the store to the aisle and shelf. That will be amazing.
The big push is voice recognition, and sight. Yes sight! It is hard to believe but they said that computer vision is as good as a humans vision. Think about what they are doing with Google Photos. You give them a bunch of photos, and they start to sort, and learn things. They learn faces and can collect them for you.
As a personal note, you should be backing up to Google Photos. I have been using this service for years, and I love it. In the last two months I decided to give Google my entire photo library, and I’m glad I did. They have been busy, building albums for me, and making it very easy to find photos I had completely forgotten about.
Google I/O In summary:
- Android has over 2 billion users. They want to see Android everywhere, and it looks like that is going to happen.
- Google Lens was introduced and this technology will understand what it is looking at. Point at a flower, and it will tell you what it is. They are also allowing you to type into the Assistant in case you don’t want to speak.
- Chromecast will continue to be put into TVs and other devices.
- AR is coming along nicely, and will help us with visual search.
- VR is already very popular and there will be stand-alone headsets soon.
- Google Assistant is available on the iPhone and is a primary focus of Google future.
- This summer the Google Assistant SDK will allow developers to add the Assistant to their products.
- Actions on Google will allow you to deal with transactions, like ordering a salad from Panera Bread all with voice.
- Google home will now recognize up to 6 voices, so home is catering to you when you speak. It is also being integrated with your TV so you can get visual information, like show me my calendar. It will show you your calendar on your TV.
- Speech is the way Google wants us to communicate with their systems. (Me Too!)
- Machine learning is hugely important to the point that they made their own TPU. Massive processing power, design just for machine learning. Cloud TPU is optimized for training and inference, and is coming to Google Compute Engine.
- Google Photos is going to allow you to share your library. It will also allow you to select what is shared automatically. They are introducing Photo Books which allows you to select photos, and it will select the best photos and arrange them. You can then customize.
- Android O: Picture in Picture will be integrated. Notification dots will allow you to know when you have a notification. Logging into services will be easier with the help of Google Chrome and stored usernames. Double-tap will allow you to easily select a company name, address, and phone number. Boot time will be much faster. Apps will be faster, and battery life will be improved.
- Kotlin is a new supported programming language on Android.
So there it is. Google wants to understand our world through speech and sight. They want devices to perform better, and they want our phones to become an Assistant that can help us with anything from ordering food to finding a product on the shelf of a store.
Apple’s WWDC is coming. The bar has been set pretty high Apple. Good luck!