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Google I/O 2018 highlights: Artificial Intelligence, Android P Beta, revamped Google News, and more

Google’s I/O 2018 kicked off with a big focus on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning. Google also announced availability of Android P Beta.

tech Updated: May 09, 2018 01:10 IST
Kul Bhushan
Kul Bhushan
Hindustan Times
Google I/O 2018 focuses on Artificial Intelligence(REUTERS)

The I/O 2018, Google’s biggest event focused on developers, kicked off at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, on Tuesday. As expected, Google launched Android P beta version and new Google News. It also announced integrating smarter Artificial Intelligence tools in its existing services such as Google Assistant. Here are the top announcements Google made at the first day of I/O 2018 developer conference.

Smarter Gmail
Google had recently rolled out a new UI for Gmail. The email service is now getting a slew of AI-based features. Google introduced a new “Smart Compose” feature which helps autocomplete emails as you type. The new “Smart Compose” feature is an extension of Google’s “Smart Reply” which provides suggestions for auto responses. Gmail’s new feature will be rolled out users over the next few weeks. The feature will also be available for G suite customers in the coming weeks.

Google Photos
Google’s cloud-based photo service already uses a bunch of smart AI features. At this year’s I/O 2018, Google introduced new AI tools allowing improved image recognition. It also delivers suggestions for enhancing the images, for instance it will ask you to increase brightness for a photo taken in low-light conditions. Google Photos will also be able to colour your old black and white photos. The app can also now automatically recognise documents and images to help you easily convert them into PDFs. READ: Five tips to make most of Google Photos

Digital Wellbeing
Google has introduced a new initiative that is aimed at helping users curb their addiction to smartphones. The company has introduced a set of tools that help users control their time spent on applications. Users can also set a limit on time spent on a particular application. Google also launched new “Shush” feature that completely blocks notifications when you flip the device. Google has also introduced a Dashboard where users can monitor time spent on different applications. All of these new features will be integrated into Google’s new Android P mobile operating system.

Revamped Google News
Google has rolled out a new version of Google News that uses the company’s AI and Machine Learning tools to serve credible and relevant news to users. Google News now “understands the people, places and things involved in a story as it evolves, and connects how they relate to one another,” says the company on its website.

With a new “full coverage” feature, Google aims to deliver a complete picture of how a story is reported from different sources. This will include headlines from different sources, videos, local news reports, FAQs, social commentary, and a timeline for stories that have played out over time, said Google.

Google News with new UI and features will replace the existing Google Play Newsstand on mobile and desktop and the Google News & Weather app on mobile.

Google Assistant
Google Assistant has continued to become smarter. The company said it is working with Wavenet to make Google Assistant’s voice more human-like. In addition to six new voices, Google has also roped in R&B singer John Legend to get his voice on its digital assistant. ALSO READ:Google Assistant’s new features

Android P
Google announced availability of its latest beta of Android P for Pixel phones and select non-Google devices. Android P comes with a range of new features such as swipe gestures, app actions, adaptive brightness and adaptive battery controls among others. READ: Top features of Android P Beta

Here are the highlights from the Google I/O 2018 conference.

12:23am: Google also launched Google News with new user interface and AI-based features. Stay tuned for our comprehensive coverage.

12:19am: The opening keynote has concluded. At this year’s Google I/O conference, the company continued to push its efforts in the field of machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. These technologies are now being integrated into all Google services. Sundar Pichai also launched a Digital Wellbeing initiative to help decrease smartphone addiction among people.

12:14am: Users will be able to book Waymo self-driving cars through a dedicated application, similar to Uber.

12:12am: Waymo engineers teamed up with Google AI researchers to reduce errors for its self-driving cars.

12:09am: Waymo says its self-driving cars are helping people. Waymo will launch its fully self-driving cars later this year.

12:08am: Waymo, former Google self-driving car project, reveals its new milestones in autonomous car technology.

12:06am: Improved Google Lens to serve real-time information.

12:02am: Google Lens to be integrated within the camera app on Pixel and other select Android devices. Google Lens is an AI-driven visual search tool.

11:54pm: Google Maps now gets new Street View features. It also has AR-based features for visually richer navigation.

11:53pm: New version of Google Maps to show you popular events in your area. Google Maps will feature a new “For You” section. This will feature new and trending events in your area. Google Maps has created “Your Match” to deliver personalised recommendations.

11:52pm: Google Maps to show different routes depending on your mode of transportation.

11:51pm: Read everything new with Google Assistant

11:49pm: Android P Beta announced. The OS is available for Google Pixel and select Android devices from today.

11:48pm: Android P will come with more efficient DND feature. Read more about Digital Wellbeing here. The new feature will be rolled out to Google Pixel phones later this year.

11:45pm: Android P to let you set time limit for applications. Android P will nudge you when you have spent more time on an application. READ: New Android controls to help you spend less time on phone

11:44pm: Android P will also help users curb smartphone addiction as part of Google’s new “Digital Wellbeing” initiative.

Dashboard to provide in-depth information about the usage pattern. (Google)

11:42pm: Google has now improved the audio control feature. Android P will now let you control the media volume first. The new UI now shows a vertical swipe bar for controlling media and device audio.

11:40pm: Android P now has new swipe gestures. For instance, you can scroll the on-screen navigation bar to switch screens.

11:38pm:Google launches MLKit for developers. The new platform will help developers build smarter tools and applications.

11:35pm: Android P gets App Action feature which is based on users’ patterns to easily switch between the applications.

Android P adds machine learning-based features (Google)

11:34pm:Google launches Adaptive Brightness for controlling screen brightness.

11:32pm: Android P to come with new battery optimisations. Google unveils Adaptive Battery feature which uses on-device learning to understand usage patterns to optimise the battery life. This also includes identifying which apps work in the background.

11:30pm: It has been 10 years since the first Android phone was launched.

11:26pm: Subscribe with Google allows users to access their paid content by just signing with their Google credentials. Google already has 60 content partners.

11:25pm:Google News to now feature fact checks, background information and relevant tweets as well.

11:22pm: Google News revamp is focused on making the app lite. The UI is now in line with the company’s Material Design. Google launches Newscasts for customised and visually rich information on different topics.

11:19pm: Google to use AI to help users serve credible news.

11:17pm: “It’s a challenging time for news industry,” says Sundar Pichai on the growing concerns over fake news.

11:14pm: Sundar Pichai stresses the need for digital well being. The company will help users switch off when they need to. It will be part of new Android version. READ: New Android controls to help you spend less time on phone

11:12pm: Google Assistant can now understand context of conversations. The improved AI will be rolled out to both users and businesses.

11:10pm: Google shows the new Assistant with smarter tools.

Now, use Google Assistant to make appointments. (Google)

11:08pm: Google Assistant can schedule an appointment on your behalf. It can even make calls directly to the service provider.

11:07pm: Google Assistant now lets you order food. The UI is now more visually appealing with richer snippets.

Google ties up with Domino’s and Dunkin’ Donuts (Google)

11:05pm: Google Assistant for mobile phones is also getting a big update. The company to make the experience more immersive for users.

11:03pm: Google’stouch screen smart speakers can run videos on YouTube.

You can make video calls on Google’s Smart Displays. (Google)

11:02pm: Google’sAmazon Echo spot-rival, smart speakers with touchscreens, will be rolled out soon.

10:59pm: Google is improving Family experience for its Assistant platform.

10:56pm: Google shows the viral video of Italian grandmother struggling to use Google Home speaker . Now, you will be no longer required to say “Hey Google” each time you interact with Google Assistant. This is quite similar to Microsoft’s demonstration with Cortana AI.

10:55pm: Google Assistant usage has tripled in India since the launch.

10:54pm: Google Assistant to soon reply in John Legend’s voice. The update will be rolled out later this year.

10:51pm: Google Assistant adds new six new voices as the company aims to make the AI closer to the way humans interact. Sundar Pichai says Google aims to make the AI more accurate.

10:50pm:Google launches tensor processor unit (TPU) version 3.0.

10:47pm: Google Photos will get “suggested actions” feature. The built-in AI will suggest users to enhance the photos, say increase brightness. It will also suggest users to share photos with their friends.

10:46pm:Google launches smart compose feature for Gmail. The AI-driven feature is based on the company’s smart reply. Gmail will get “smart compose” feature later this month.

10:45pm:Google’s Gboard keyboard will get Morse code support soon. A beta version will be released today.

10:41pm: Google demonstrates how AI can be used in older technologies such as Morse code.

Google launches morse code to text input platform. (Google)

10:40pm: Google to partner with health institutions and hospitals for adoption of its AI. The company will be releasing a research paper later today.

10:38pm: Google AI helps detect cardiac issues.

AI to boost health care sector. (Google)

10:37pm: Sundar Pichai brings up Google AI platform launched at the last year’s Google I/O platform. He highlights usage of AI in different categories, such as health care.

10:36pm: “It’s clear that technology can be a positive force,” says Sundar Pichai while highlighting growth in internet adoption worldwide.

10:34pm: Sundar Pichai addresses the burger emoji controversy. “Hopefully, we got it right,” he said. Read about the burger emoji controversy here.

10:34pm: Sundar Pichai takes the stage.

10:31pm: One of the recent examples of Google’s advanced machine learning technology is a basic Emoji Scavenger Hunt browser game.

10:27pm: Google has gradually shifted its focus towards Artificial Intelligence. With an AI-first approach, the company has been integrating machine learning technologies in its various services such as Gmail and Google Assistant. A similar approach was seen when the company launched its Pixel 2 range of phones last year. Check out our Google Pixel 2 XL Review

10:25pm: It’s a packed house at the Shoreline Amphitheatre.

Google I/O 2018 to kick off shortly (Google)

10:22pm: Just like Microsoft’s Build 2018, Google is likely to announce new initiatives under its Augmented Reality (ARCore) and Virtual Reality platforms. There is also going to be a big focus on its digital assistant.

10:20pm: One of the big announcements at Google I/O 2018 is going to be the latest version of Android P. Google is expected to announce a new developer preview of Android P. According to reports, Android P Developer Preview 2 will come with new gestures and security features. ALSO READ: Android P Developer Preview: Top features

10:17pm: Google’s I/O 2018 conference is scheduled to begin at 10:30pm. Here’s how you can watch the live stream on your phone and on your browser.