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 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.
- 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.
- 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 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
- 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.