Updated on 5/12/2017, Published on 19, May 2017 – Google Announces Android Go (Oreo Edition) and Google Assistant for JIO Phone.
Google held its 11th I/O keynote in May 2017. The company shared the ambitious projects & technological advancements they are working on currently and will shape up in next couple of years. At a recent event on 5th December, Google India added some more initiatives that I have updated in the below article.
As expected, various new announcements were shared, across all the Google products including Android, Apps, VR, Google Assistant, Google Home, etc.
Google I/O is a platform where the company shares its plans with developers and tech media.
Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, shared some of the most impressive technological advancements which will come from Google in 2017 and 2018. Sundar Pichai has completed 13 years with Google and in his keynote stated that this year has been as busy as any other year and they are working hard to organize the world’s information.
Google aims to provide the best information to all its users using search and artificial intelligence.
Sundar shared that the largest Google Products are Google Search, Android , Maps , App Store, Youtube, Gmail and Google Chrome.
While the Google I/O is primarily for developers, Google had made some announcements which reflect the average users. Here are the top 10 announcements from the Google I/O 2017 event concluded a couple of days ago.
1) Android Ecosystem is Present Over 2 Billion Devices!
Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google took center stage and announced that the Android ecosystem now has over two billion active users. This list includes Android OS for smartphones, Android TV OS, Android Wear OS, and Android Auto.
2) Android O First Beta Rolls Out
Along with the Android’s total active users, Google made the first beta of the Android O available for all the users. Users of the Google Pixel, Pixel, XL, Nexus 6P, and Nexus 5X can enroll in the beta program anytime to update to the next generation Android OS.
Google also released the Developer Preview 2 of the Android O with some bug fixes and new features such as Picture-to-Picture, Notifications Dots, etc.
3) Google Daydream, VR, and the AR!
Google announced the next generation Daydream headset, which doesn’t require a smartphone to use and that headset would use the Google Tango platform.
The search giant also announced that LG’s next flagship phone along with Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+ would support Daydream. Also, the Tango+Daydream ready phone- Asus Zenfone AR will be sold in the US and other countries in the next two months.
4) Google Lens
Google Assistant will be a lot more interactive in coming days with a new feature called ‘Google Lens.’ For example, you can scan the Wi-Fi network and its password using the Google Lens and the device will automatically connect to the Wi-Fi network.
Further, the Google Lens is a set of vision based computing capabilities that can identify things in the real world using Google’s AI and machine learning technology. The Google Lens will first make its way to Google Assistant and Google Photos.
5) Google Assistant for Apple iPhone and JIO Phone
The much-expected news is now official. Google said that its Google Assistant is currently available for over 100 million Android devices. With the overwhelming response, Google is expanding the support for Apple iPhones with all the basic functionalities such as sending a message, opening apps, etc.
At the Google India conclave, Google India has announced that they are bringing the Google Assistant support for the Reliance JIO Phone. The Google Assistant on the JIO Phone will support both Hindi and English, enabling first-time 4G users to talk to their phone with ease.
Apart from helping users to search the internet using voice commands, the Google Assistant will also help them to make phone calls, play music and videos using voice commands.
6) Android Go Oreo for Low-Cost Android Devices
Google also unveiled a new project called as Android Go, explicitly designed for low-cost Android smartphones. The Android Go is a lite version of the Android Oreo with lite versions of Google Apps including Google Play Store.
Alongside the Android Oreo Go, Google has also unveiled lighter Apps like Youtube, Gmail, Google Assistant, Youtube, Maps and Chrome which will be less taxing compared to the Apps available on regular Android play store.
Even if these Apps are customized by Google for a lighter experience, Oreo Go doesn’t solve the problem of using third party Apps that may not be optimized for the platform.
There will be smartphones with 512 MB or 1 GB Ram which will come with the Android Oreo Go edition. These will run smoothly as the light OS and App environment makes it feasible. Currently, the 512 MB Ram or even 1 GB Ram phones fail to offer a lag-free Android experience.
Additionally, the Android Oreo GO edition will take less storage space even the Go Edition Apps will take lower space as the low-end mobiles usually have less storage capacity.
Google has said the Oreo Go Edition mobiles would reach the market in early 2018, and they will collaborate with other brands like they have done with the Android One initiative.
7) New features to Google Photos
Of late, the Google Photos app is getting better and better with every new update. At the keynote, Google said it would be releasing three new features to the Google Photos- suggested sharing, shared libraries, and photo books.
Google launched the Google Photos 5 years back, and now there are 500 million plus active users for Google photos, primarily the growth has come from the Android ecosystem.
The suggested sharing feature will scan your photos up front and detect the faces in the photos and indicates the person with whom the picture to be shared.
The shared libraries will automatically share a particular photo with your family members when they are in the picture.
8). Cloud Computing and Storage
Google launched the Google Drive back in 2013, and there were around 100 million active users then. In 4 years, the Google Drive users have grown exponentially to 800 Million plus as more and more people are using the cloud as means for storage and backup.
9). Mobile First to AI First
Google couple of years back had a strategy to work on Mobile First as most users at that point in time were moving from desktops to mobiles. Since now the ecosystem for mobiles is matured, there is further advancement by Google to work on Artificial Intelligence more. Google is using machine learning to augment its products.
Smart Reply Emails is one example where Google proposes three replies based on the email conversation you are having with the other person. You don’t need to type an answer but can just click and choose.
10). Improved Speech Recognition – Deep learning allows Google to work better with speech recognition and error rate for speech recognition is coming down rapidly. In simple words, you will be able to talk to your phone as naturally as you speak to another human shortly.
11). Google Vision
Google can now understand your pictures very well and can improve them for you like seen never before. You don’t need to be expert in Photoshop to do some magical tricks Google will do it for you.
Sundar Pichai showcased the below picture and also showed that Google understands the fence obstructs the picture of the kid, and the algorithm can remove the fence to make the image much better.
Google Can remove that fence which was obstructing in the above image.
Apart from images, Google can also understand objects and places – if you point your phone camera to scan a flower – Google can tell you the type of flower it is. You can point your camera to a famous restaurant and Google can match the image to its database and tell you about the restaurant.
It is just the beginning Google is going to find lot more application of vision and make things fascinating for the end users.
The new Google.AI is going to help other users also to utilize the Google AI and machine learning. Sundar Pichai said ” “Machine learning and artificial intelligence are unlocking capabilities that were unthinkable only a few years ago.”
And Google is building the new AI with the help of tools like Google Cloud TPU (Tensor Processing Units) which are capable of 180 teraflops of floating-point performance. The cloud TPU’s can be used by developers along with Intel and Nvidia processors to develop their machine learning systems.
The TPUs are part of the Google Compute Engine and easy to program using the open source machine learning framework – Tensor flow.
So these are some of the Amazing things Google is building for the time to come, which one do you think will have a significant impact on the way we use technology, share with us in comments below. Google has also launched the new Pixel 2 phones which makes excellent use of AI and machine learning.