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Google I/O 2021: All The Major Announcements

On Tuesday, Google I/O 2021 keynote was aired live, where the company unveiled a huge number of announcements, including a new look coming to Android, a bunch of features coming to Google Maps and Google Workspace productivity suite, and even a new AI that talked as if it were Pluto.

Improvements to Google Maps’ AR Live View tool and more 

Google is making quite a few changes to Google Maps, including rolling out new features for its augmented reality Live View tool. Google is also adding features to make maps more informative, such as showing how busy a certain area is, showing different restaurants at different times of day, and pointing out local landmarks if you’re visiting a new city. 150,000 kilometers of bike lanes have been added to the app. Additionally, two new features have been added to the routes. You will be provided with an eco-friendly, most fuel efficient route. Also, Google’s AI will work on providing you with the safest routes where you don’t have to halt too much.

Google is making Workspace more interconnected

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Google announced a new initiative named “smart canvas” for its Workspace office software that will make it easier to work between products. Features include “smart chips” that let you link to other Workspace apps and a new interesting ability of being able to start a Meet video call right from Google Doc, Sheet, or Slide and being able to collaborate in a much easier fashion.

Android 12 has a new look

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Image: Google

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Google revealed that Android 12 will bring in a whole lot of changes and have a brand-new “Material You” (MY) design. A lot of color and customization will be offered along with some new privacy features, and the new mobile operating software will even be able to change system colors to be able to better match your wallpaper. A beta has been made available yesterday, and it works with phones from 11 device makers.

Google showed off its new AI language model called LaMDA

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai showed off some impressive (but pre-recorded) demos of someone having a conversation with an AI-powered by its new LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) conversation technology that is based on a multi-modal model. The technology is an open domain and it is designed to converse on any topic. In the demos, the AI “talked” as Pluto and a paper airplane.

Wear OS and Tizen are merging

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Google announced Wear OS (now called just Wear) and Samsung’s Tizen, which is Samsung’s OS for wearable and Smart TV devices, will be combined into a unified platform. That should lead to longer battery life and apps launching faster.

Google’s Project Starline creates a 3D model of a person sitting across from you

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Google is working on re-creating the feeling of having a face-to-face meeting by developing Project Starline. It uses high-resolution cameras and custom-built depth sensors and captures the appearance in multiple perspectives to create a real-time 3D model of a person who is “sitting” across you.

A camera that’s more inclusive of skin tone

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Image: Google

To make its cameras better at capturing and reproducing skin tones accurately in images, Google is working on updates to its camera and imaging products.

Google Photos will be able to join similar still shots and make animated photos

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Google Photos is getting impressive new “cinematic moments”. We generally click two to three pictures of the same thing hoping for one to be the perfect picture. Cinematic moments will use neural networks to combine these clicks and even add to them to create a moving image. Google is also adding new types of Memories, including ones based on visual patterns in your photos.

Google debuts new health tool so that you can identify skin conditions using your camera

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Image: Google

Google revealed a new health tool at the keynote that lets you take a photo of a skin area that is problematic and answer questions about the skin type and symptoms to help you better identify skin conditions. Google aims to launch a pilot of the tool this year.

Google announced that active users of Android devices are now more than 3 billion. That’s a lot!


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