Google I/O 2018: Everything You Need to Know

Google just announced a lot of exciting things at its annual developer conference, I/O. Starting from Android, to Google Maps — most of the company’s big products are some serious upgrades over the coming months and weeks. Here is everything you need to know.

Android P

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  • Android is getting new features to limit usage of apps and your phone, for your own wellbeing. You can set time limits for certain apps, a new Shush mode that automatically goes into Do Not Disturb when you turn over your phone facedown on a table. It’s also getting a new Wind Down feature that removes all the colours on the OS, replacing it with a greyscale before you go to bed.
  • Android is getting a new gesture-based navigation system, inspired by the iPhone X’s new home screen button. Tap to go home screen, long press to open Assistant, half swipe up to go to the multitasking screen, full swipe up to go to the app drawer. You can’t actually switch between apps with the simple and intuitive gesture that’s on the iPhone X, though.
  • Adaptive Battery: uses on-device machine learning to better adapt to your usage patterns, and spends resources on things that you’ll actually need and use.
  • Actions and Slices: uses AI to detect what actions you will perform on apps, and when you will perform them to help you be more productive.
  • Volume Controls in the OS are now vertical and now defaults to the media volume.
  • Improved rotation functionality now asks you for confirmation on the navigation bar before automatically rotating. Pretty amazing.

Google Assistant

  • Assistant can now call people and make appointments on your behalf. Yes. No joke. Literally.
  • Google Assistant is getting a male voice: John Legend. Later this year.
  • Assistant is getting improved natural conversational features with Continued Conversation that lets you carry out normal, human-like conversations and perform actions — even multiple actions.
  • A new Pretty Please option is coming for families with children that will essentially reward children for good manners.
  • Google is adding an immersive experience to Assistant on phones, so it makes full use of the display real estate with rich responses.
  • Assistant is getting a new “home screen” on the phone where users can keep up with their day, get important notifications such as meetings, journey times, etc.
  • Assistant is coming to Google Maps navigation this summer.

Google Photos

  • Smart Actions uses AI to provide smart suggestions such as editing tweaks (fixing brightness, colour pops, etc.), or suggest you share photos with people who are in the photo.
  • Google Photos can now detect documents, clean them up, and convert them into PDF.
  • Smart Actions are also able to intelligently add colour to your black and white photos.

Google News

  • Google News is getting completely redesigned.
  • It’s powered by AI to better understand what you want to read about, the publishers you like, etc.
  • Video integration, with relevant videos, pulled in from YouTube for news stories.
  • Newscasts: previews of stories that essentially encourage you to view the Full Coverage. Kind of like Snapchat Stories, but for news.
  • Full Coverage: helps you get a better idea of a growing story, with top stories, local stories, a timeline of the events, analysis, opinion, fact-checking, and tweets.
  • Google Play Newsstand is being integrated directly into News

Google Maps

  • Maps now uses your camera to direct you when walking, so you no longer have to move your phone around and see if you’re going in the right direction. Instead, you can just follow Maps’ guide with your phone’s camera and go in the right direction without looking like a fool.
  • Maps is getting a new For You tab that helps you find events, restaurants, etc. around you. Watch out, Yelp.
  • Your Match is a new feature that essentially rates a place, restaurant, bar, etc. depending on your reviews, previous habits, etc.
  • Shortlists: you can now make lists of different places, and share them with your friends when making plans. It even lets users vote for the different places in the shortlist.


  • Gmail’s new Smart Compose feature uses AI to predict what you are going to write in an email and suggests words/sentences as you go.
  • Google built a new AI that uses video and music data to get generate improved captions for people with hearing disabilities.
  • ML Kit: a new SDK for devs that let them integrate Google’s AI and ML tech into their apps, including things like image captioning, text recognition, face detection, barcode scanning, landmark detection, smart reply.
  • Google Lens now lets you copy-paste text from the real world into your clipboard. It’s also getting integrated into the default camera app on some phones, and getting new features such as Style Match that help you find visually similar furniture and clothing.
  • Google has a new generation of its TPU, 8x more powerful than last year’s model.

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Conversation 36 comments

  • Daekar

    08 May, 2018 - 3:12 pm

    <p>Well, as much as I believe everyone should drop as many Google services as possible because of their blatant predatory-monopoly status, those all sound lovely. The one that will make the biggest difference in my life, ironically, is defaulting the volume rocker to media. </p><p>Will be interesting to see how well the Google Assistant actually calling places for you and making an appointment actually goes over in the real world. I have a feeling it's not going to be quite as seamless as they want us to believe.</p>

  • Jules Wombat

    08 May, 2018 - 3:26 pm

    <p>Pretty impressive upgrades to their Assistant, six new voices, and more conversational interactions. Google Duplex demonstrate d how close Google are to Turin machine performance, really stunning demo. Cortana looks pretty lame compared. Lots of subtle improvements. They really have the self driving car technology wrapped up.</p><p>And wrapped up the more exciting and succinct keynote in less than 90 mins, than the 3 hours tedious fest from Microsoft.</p>

    • shameermulji

      08 May, 2018 - 4:10 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#272960"><em>In reply to Jules_Wombat:</em></a></blockquote><p>Self-driving cars are still in the 1st inning. There's a long way to go and no one company is close to having it wrapped up right now.</p>

      • PeteB

        08 May, 2018 - 7:31 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#273049"><em>In reply to shameermulji:</em></a></blockquote><p>You must be new to the world of technology and the dotcom era. Because in this world, the first inning is everything, and he who wins it usually wins the game and the competition never quite catches up. It's called first mover advantage. You're welcome.</p>

        • VancouverNinja

          Premium Member
          08 May, 2018 - 10:10 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#273406"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>Tell that to the Beta Video tape format…or the Palm…or Blackberry…or I could go on.</p>

        • Daekar

          08 May, 2018 - 10:37 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#273406"><em>In reply to PeteB:</em></a></blockquote><p>If that were true, Microsoft would rule the world several times over and the iPhone would've been stifled in its cradle before it had a chance to make an impact since Microsoft and others had been making very similar products for years. It is self-evidently NOT true that the first to market with a product necessarily wins. In fact… just think of practically everything ever made by Apple since… a really long time. Definitely not first out the gate in anything, but winning quite a lot.</p>

          • Jorge Garcia

            09 May, 2018 - 6:54 pm

            <blockquote><a href="#273426"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p>Totally true. Apple has a knack for distilling an existing product down to only those things that will really draw in the average moth-breather on the street…then adding a lot of glitter and style to seal the deal. Oh, then they invest a bit more into the build quality so you don't feel like you got THAT ripped off. That being said, there is no way for Apple to follow Google down the road they are currently on. If Apple does hit a Trillion before Google, it will be a short-lived celebration.</p>

            • jedwards87

              19 June, 2018 - 10:32 am

              <blockquote><a href="#273958"><em>In reply to JG1170:</em></a></blockquote><p>I think you under estimate the average iPhone user. Also, Google is the one with 80%+ of marketshare so I think their users are better described as average moth-breathers. But whatever makes you feel better about what you use.</p>

    • skane2600

      08 May, 2018 - 4:51 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#272960"><em>In reply to Jules_Wombat:</em></a></blockquote><p>It seems when self-driving cars come up our minds turn to jello. They should be treated as complex hardware/software systems with the same probability for bugs as any other system except that the harmful consequences are much more severe. What is needed is a thorough testing and approval process similar to what medical devices are required to adhere to because they are equally dangerous.</p>

  • Mike Brady

    08 May, 2018 - 3:39 pm

    <p>"<span style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0);">Android is getting new features to limit usage of app"</span></p><p><br></p><p>Oh, I was hoping that this was to keep apps from hogging my phone's CPU and battery. Android is great if I don't install anything.</p>

    • Pedro Vieira

      08 May, 2018 - 4:40 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#272962"><em>In reply to Mike_Brady:</em></a></blockquote><p>So true. You'd think a company that controls 80% of the worldwide mobile OS market would try to improve it as much as possible with every new version, but with Google it's the opposite. Maybe we'll get efficient background app handling with Android Zucchini in 2027.</p>

      • jrickel96

        08 May, 2018 - 6:16 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#273349"><em>In reply to PeteMiles:</em></a></blockquote><p>They're limited in what they can really do. Some features can be overridden by the OEM because they don't really have control of what you see on your phone with a few exceptions (that don't sell very well). That's at the heart of issues with an open source OS and I would not be surprised if Fuchsia is much less open source. </p>

  • Stooks

    08 May, 2018 - 3:40 pm

    <p>That new system navigation looks like the iPhone X gestures. Just sayin.</p><p><br></p><p>The Google keynote was kind of boring, but not as bad as the 2 day bore-fest that Build turned out to be.</p>

    • shameermulji

      08 May, 2018 - 4:10 pm

      <blockquote><a href="#272963"><em>In reply to Stooks:</em></a></blockquote><p>That's because they are borrowed from the iPhone X but they work well so no big deal.</p>

  • Travis

    08 May, 2018 - 3:57 pm

    <p>Ok Google cancel my Comcast cable tv </p><p>Ok Google get me a better deal on Sirius radio</p><p>The possibilities are endless.</p>

  • F4IL

    08 May, 2018 - 4:00 pm

    <p>Unlike build, the main keynote was certainly a consumer oriented show. There was a clear focus on consumer products and services and what people should be expecting in the following months.</p><p>This goes a long way to show how time has altered the roles of these companies and how google's products and services are front and center, deeply affecting people's daily lives.</p>

  • Chris_Kez

    Premium Member
    08 May, 2018 - 5:33 pm

    <p>Will all of this work with G Suite (nee Google Apps) accounts?</p>

  • Jorge Garcia

    08 May, 2018 - 6:40 pm

    <p>This is getting insane. Not sure if in a good or bad way.</p>

  • PeteB

    08 May, 2018 - 7:26 pm

    <p>Wow. Google's knocking it out of the park if they deliver even half that stuff. Impressed.</p>

  • mrdrwest

    08 May, 2018 - 10:19 pm

    <p>No Live Tiles, no interest…out of spite.</p>

  • RonV42

    Premium Member
    08 May, 2018 - 10:48 pm

    <p>Any word on how much more private data they are going to collect to sell to their paying customers (advertisers)?</p>

  • red.radar

    Premium Member
    08 May, 2018 - 11:25 pm

    <p>The AI is wandered from creepy to scary…. i am assuming the google photo suggest only works if you let Google train on the photos locally? or does it just pull the meta data from the cloud when others submit data to google? … So if I take a picture of random dude on the street, is it going to just tell me hey this is "john smith" we think you should share this photo with him? How the hell do I keep people from identifying me? </p><p><br></p><p>Finish my sentence…. how the hell… does it know how to do that? What is it learning about me… sweet jesus i want to hide in a hole now… I feel so violated and I let it happen … I am so discusted with my dependance on technology. </p><p><br></p><p>I am ready to cook dinner by rubbing sticks together tonight…</p><p><br></p><p>screw a contact list …whats that round spinning thing my grandpa used… a Rolex? … a Rolodex? </p><p><br></p><p>I want off this crazy train…</p><p><br></p><p>I am amazed and literally nervous to the power Google has on us. </p>

  • dcdevito

    08 May, 2018 - 11:26 pm

    <p>The Google Duplex preview was the most exciting (tech) demo I've seen in possibly a decade. That was truly mind blowing. </p><p>And unlike Al other companies touting AI, Google is seriously stuffing it in just about every damn product and service it offers. </p>

    • Daekar

      09 May, 2018 - 11:11 am

      <blockquote><a href="#273447"><em>In reply to dcdevito:</em></a></blockquote><p>It was exciting and creepy as hell. An AI assistant POSING as a human is not what I consider a good idea. If Assistant is going to be my proxy, it damn sure isn't going to be pretending to be anything other than what it is. If it doesn't identify itself as an AI assistant beforehand that's just bad. Kudos to them for their natural language processing chops, but the things they choose to implement just make me shake my head. It's like they never learned from Jurassic Park – they're so busy trying to figure whether they CAN do something that they never stopped to consider whether they SHOULD.</p>

      • dcdevito

        09 May, 2018 - 12:32 pm

        <blockquote><a href="#273718"><em>In reply to Daekar:</em></a></blockquote><p>I understand where you're coming from, but what's an assistant? An assistant helps you get things done, right? So this is perhaps the most extreme, and most difficult, of Google Assistant functions that lie ahead in its product roadmap. Yes, a message starting with "this is an automated message" or something to that effect should preface the conversation, but does it matter? If you're a business owner, do you turn it away? It's a hard spot for them to be in. This is for traditional phone-only reservation type settings, this might motivate business owners to build smarter/electronic systems into their sites, etc. I think this may spawn legal action prior/after launch, but isn't the most disruptive tech built this way?? </p><p>I think in addition to this, Google Assistant will also be able to send emails to people on my behalf, send out calendar invites, follow up with folks. I'm excited to say the least, this will save me so much time daily. </p>

        • Matt Lohr

          09 May, 2018 - 12:58 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#273738"><em>In reply to dcdevito:</em></a></blockquote><p>I'll have my virtual people talk to your virtual people.</p>

        • Daekar

          09 May, 2018 - 1:38 pm

          <blockquote><a href="#273738"><em>In reply to dcdevito:</em></a></blockquote><p>Have an upvote for a good response. I don't know about how people will react as a whole, but I know for sure that if it doesn't identify itself, a huge percentage of people that I know will just hang up on the AI if they don't believe it's human. Robo-calls have already driven many people to literally not answer their phones when numbers they don't know appear, this will have to break through that by being SO good that it is completely indistinguishable from real people. </p><p><br></p><p>I expect that it will become accepted after a while and this will be just another way in which people are separated from normal social interactions… </p>

  • wright_is

    Premium Member
    09 May, 2018 - 2:52 am

    <p>Hmm, nothing there that has me jumping up and down. </p><p>But there again, Assistant is deactivated on my phone and I don't use Photos, Maps, GMail or News…</p>

  • mariusmuntensky

    09 May, 2018 - 8:52 am

    <p>Much more interesting than that joke of a conference from Microsoft. Google showed actual useful stuff for which they are committed, delivered when ready, not early, half baked and full of bugs like Microcrap does with their updates and features.</p>

    • jedwards87

      19 June, 2018 - 10:28 am

      <blockquote><a href="#273692"><em>In reply to mariusmuntensky:</em></a></blockquote><p>Sorry for the late reply but you really made me laugh out loud. "Google showed actual useful stuff for which they are committed, delivered when ready, not early, half baked and full of bugs" Have you ever used Google stuff in your life ?? Committed ? They abandon more services/products than anyone. Not early, half baked and full of bugs ? Everything they release is early, half baked and full of bugs. Google = BETA period.</p>

  • Bats

    09 May, 2018 - 10:35 pm

    <p>What? Medhi, you don't even mention Google Duplex. Duplex is huge. Not only does it embarrass Cortana but sets it back 5 years.</p>

  • nbplopes

    15 May, 2018 - 3:28 am

    <p>Android:</p><p><br></p><ol><li>New gestures, notch support, no home button.The biggest, mostly a follow up on Apple stance.</li><li>Google News, again a follow up on Apple stance.</li><li>Google Maps improvements, I like them.</li><li>Photos, ok. </li><li>AI, seams like we are going around in circles. I mean, Lens stuff has been here for quite awhile. Smart compose its nice, but don't see it improving the writing in anyway significant. Improved captions its nice, but doesn't Youtube have that feature for years in a not so easy to access way? Style match is geeky, will see.</li><li>The assistant calling sure did a great demo of the future. A bit like MS Hololens. But if there is a company that can pull that one of in practical terms, its Google.</li></ol><p><br></p><p>What I like the most is the different ways one can control app usage. Nice.</p>

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