Google I/O 2021 Recap
Hey everyone! Today I am going to tell you what happened at I/O this week! Feel free to skip around in the post (each new section is in bold). Okay, let’s get started!
The Blob Opera:
Okay, so I logged into Google I/O a tiny bit late and right in the middle of this super random blob opera. If you didn’t see this part of I/O, you have absolutely no clue what I am talking about, so let me explain.
What is the blob opera:
Basically, it is an AI powered website that you can use to make music. Yes, it is available to use, and it is extremely fun 😂. I actually put together an example.
I love it and the presentation was superb! I loved the robotic camera moving around. When there are events like this, I always love it when they show what it looks like kind of behind the scenes which you can see in my screenshot.
To start off the presentation, Sundar Pichai talked about the additions to Google maps. They added 150k miles of bike lane maps! A new feature is coming that will give you the ability to find the most eco-friendly route to go places. Also, they added more sidewalk and crosswalk maps in more than just big cities. Finally, they added onto the localized people count so you can see how busy areas are, the difference is that it will be for more than just shops and parks.
Smart Canvas is a new addition to the Google Workspace. It will help link the collaboration in almost any Google service. The I/O example shows that you can basically do @Sundar Pichai to assign them to do notes or brainstorming. It looks like you can also have a meet call within any Google Service… Well see how it works once it rolls out but, It sounds pretty cool and will certainly help when collaborating in the Google Workspace.
LaMDA is a new Google Project making huge breakthroughs in AI conversational technology. It is most likely the future for the Google Assistant with things like it asking you follow-up questions and it was impersonating different things. They showed off it impersonating a planet and paper airplane. It is all still in development but isn’t going anywhere, it’ll be available soon enough.
A New TPU:
Google has made another generation of the tpu: TPU v4! TPU’s power ai machines, Google services and more. Google has continuously been innovating with them for years. Google will be using them to power their servers at data centers, and they will be available to purchase.
Google has also improved texting autoreply. The understanded that it wasn’t always getting things right and have worked to improve to make autorespond better.
Google has added a locked folder on your Google Photos cloud! You can hide photos in there and lock it securely with your fingerprint. This is going to be super useful and is very exciting!
Before I move on, I just wanted to comment on this sweet shot spelling out I/O with umbrellas. Sorry, I just really liked it 😂
There is a new power tool for Google Search. MUM: Multi Unified Model. It will help get better search results for you specifically based on the data it knows about you. It is going to replace Burt and be 1000x more powerful!
Google lens is going to be able to identify more things with the power of MUM. You can ask it things like, “can I use these to hike mount-fuji” and MUM will anylize your question and the photo to give you results! Super impressive!
There were some advertising sections for Google Lens and also a presentation of AR core improvements and additions. (RIP Google Poly)
Google is now baking a credibility checker directly into the browser. With one click, you can see the website description and how old the site is (first Google index). This is pretty awesome since it can be difficult sometimes to find a good credible source without going to third party site searching websites.
Google maps AR just got 3d! You can now navigate in places like train stations and shopping malls and your phone can tell you if you need to go up a floor or tell you what shops are around you!
Google Shopping Carts:
Google has created a UNIVERSAL shopping cart. You can now see what you have in your shopping carts across all sites that you use! Now you won’t forget what you were shopping for!
Google Photos AI:
The AI in Google Photos just got a lot better! Now AI can identify objects like a bowl, backpack, or Jacket and look across all of your photos to make groups of photos that you are wearing that thing or using that thing in! The example above is from a Google employee who went traveling with this backpack! Google grouped these photos together into a digital memory!
Moving Still Photos:
Last year we got Cinematic Photos on Google Photos which has actually been brought to tons of photo editors and video editors! Anyways, if you have multiple of a similar photo of the same thing close together. Google can generate photos of it’s own to emulate movement! The example above came from just a few photos!
Google’s next transition was this beautiful flower bed, again spelling out I/O.
Now it is time to talk Android. First we have a new version of Material Design with adaption to more devices in size and shape!
Android 12 UI Redesign:
Android 12 beta 1 is now available for select devices from Google, One Plus, and a few other phones! There is a new system that adapts colors based on your wallpaper! Different Google apps have been redesigned too like duo, gmail, and messages!
Google also annonced that Android just hit a huge milestone: There are now 3 BILLION Android devices in the world!
Android 12 Focus:
In the event they said that they have a few main focuses for Android 12:
- Personalization (UI Adaptation)
- Privacy and Security
- “Better Together”
I touched on this a lot above, so I’ll be brief. Adaptive UI based on the colors in your wallpaper, Screen animations (depending on which button you use to turn on your phone, the screen will light up differently), and a few smaller changes.
Privacy and Security:
Now I don’t want to get into an Apple and Google argument in the comments so: both companies are great, I personally prefer Google devices, and both companies have pros and cons. Okay, now I’ll say why I needed to say that:
I saw quite a lot of arguments on Twitter about how Google is copying Apple. Google is adding a little dot to say if cameras and mics are being used just like Apple did in IOS 14 last year. I do want to remind Apple fans that IOS added widgets and also totally wrote them up to be a “new” thing. Both companies copy each other, so please don’t start a comment section war😂.
Also, Google has added the ability to easily see what apps are using your device cameras or microphones, and they specifically said that this would include ALL Google softwares as well! You can also revoke permission very easily.
Next we have the connectivity part of Android 12. You will be able to get phone notifications on Chromebooks just like Windows and Mac both already have.
Android Auto is expanding. More car manufacturers are adding support for it in their cars. Also, Android is adding support for phones to be used as remote car keys. Car manufactures can allow you to use your phone to remotely start your car, unlock it, and more.
Wear OS Confusion:
Wear OS is not being discontinued, but something else might be. Wear OS is receiving new updates, some of which came out days before I/O. Google, Samsung, and Fitbit are collaborating to make a better Wear OS and improve it.
What is confusing is the fact that they said in the event that Fitbit would be making premium Wear OS smartwatches. What? Now I don’t have anything to confirm anything that I am about to say, but it is pretty suspicious: Is Fitbit OS being discontinued? Fitbits use Fitbit OS on the Premium watches so it is weird… Another thing is that I am almost certain Fitbits will stop using Alexa and instead switch to the Google Assistant. Personally, I prefer the Google Assistant anyways, so I think that is a plus.
This is a big one, probably one of the biggest things in this whole event. Google is making a universal Image Processing algorithm to help cameras properly portray darker skin tones. If you look at most mobile cameras, faces are under exposed and put in shadow or blown out. Photos just don’t come out looking natural and that has caused a lot of issues with mental health and how people view themselves. Photography is important and in smartphones, the image processing algorithm needs to portray everyone, of any race, equally.
Pixel Portrait Mode:
Google Pixels will be getting improvements to portrait mode specifically to improve it for anyone with curly hair! This is pretty awesome because I do find it annoying when I take photos of people, or pets, with curly hair.
What I love about Google that is shown in all example photos is that you know that it was actually taken on their own devices. You can tell that Google really isn’t perfect because some of her hair in the photo is blurred still when it shouldn’t be. It is awesome that they don’t try to hide it!
I really love these transitions. 😂
Google has been researching with NorthWestern to have AI and even smartphones detect health problems. Google has started with Mammogram analysis and made it so that in Gmail, a case will be flagged if the AI thinks that the person being looked at possibly has breast cancer.
Next, Google has worked with dermatologists to use cameras to detect skin conditions:
This is another big announcement. Although this is still in research stages, it is still exciting. Google has been working on a device that uses 3d cameras to make a 3d image when talking to others. This will me almost like talking to someone in the same room because of the high quality cameras and screen portraying people in 3d.
They have tested it with certain poeple and during the event had videos of people using the device for the very first time and how cool it was.
Renewable Energy Goals:
Google has reached their Goal for becoming being the first major company to become Carbon Neutral in 2007. In 2017 they became the first major company to be operating on 100% renewable energy. Next, they have a goal that right now is basically inpossible: Become the first major company to operate 24/7 on carbon free energy. They want to achieve this by 2030.
Google has taken the first steps with current tech by having five solar farms in denmark. What is the issue with our tech today? Solar energy is a daytime and sun dependent thing. Google uses wind power but can’t use that soley. Solution: Google made this graph to explain:
During the night and early hours of the day when there is no sun, Google will use wind energy. During the daytime, they will use solar energy when the sun is up. They are developing an AI that can switch between the sources of energy. Finally, they will be using geothermal energy.
A New HQ:
Google is making a new HQ to help accomplish the 2030 goal. It is going to have Solar panel roofing and geothermal poles underneath it to heat it in the summer and cool it in the winter:
This looks impressive! That was the end of the Keynote!
Wow, with no I/O last year, Google had a lot of things to annonce. They have really have been inovating. For a breif overview and a bit more here is vid from Linus Tech Tips that summarizes Android changes perfectly, so check the vid out if you want to get more on Android:
Thanks a ton for reading! Please consider dropping a comment, applaud and possibly even a follow! This post took hours to make and it is always wonderful to get some feedback!
-Digital Wonders & Smiles
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