This year’s Google I/O was a ticket to an action-packed week with Android Q, Pixel phones, next generation Google assistant and much more. While the attention was towards Pixel 3a, the tech community was in for a surprise treat to what Google had to offer. The largest search engine proved it again, that whatever we are looking for, comes to us within no time when we least expect it. You could say the timing is right. This year, the announcements came thick and fast but many were not quite ready for general demoing or product release, so we’ll have to wait a little longer to see them in action. In the meantime, here’s a brief summary of all the major announcements made during Google I/O.
Android Q Beta 3
Android Q – the 10th generation of the Android operating system launched its beta 3 version at Google I/O. 3rd party phone makers are launching Android Q beta for their devices. It features a new system-wide dark theme to the advantage of AMOLED display. Android Q will also increase security and privacy features, such as a Maps incognito mode, reminders for location usage, sharing to 3rd party and TLSV3 encryption for low-end devices. Security updates will roll out faster too, updating over the air without a reboot needed for the device. Android Q will also help foldable form factor. Smart Reply now works across all messaging apps in Android Q, with the OS smartly predicting your next needs. Focus Mode is a new introduction, switching off the apps that pull you away from your work, such as email. It’s coming to both Android Q and the older Pie version of the operating system.
Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL
Google unveiled the long-awaited Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL. This phone is cheaper than Pixel 3 devices but packs Pixel camera sensor which offers impressive images even in low-light. In terms of specs, both Pixel 3a and 3a XL feature Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 processor paired with 4GB RAM and 64GB internal storage. Sure, the chipset is slow and the build quality is plastic, but who doesn’t want a good camera? Yes, the Camera sensors on Pixel devices similar to what we can find on expensive Pixel phones. Both the phones run Android Pie out of the box, though users can install the Android Q beta on these as well. Google is promising security updates for a minimum of three years and a minimum of three years of OS updates.
Google Assistant & Google Lens Improvements
Google Lens and Google Assistant are going to be smarter and faster. Assistant will be up to 10 times faster than before, says Google. It’s also going to further understand the context, while respecting your privacy, according to the company.
Google is touting performance improvements with the updated Assistant, claiming that it can process and understand voice requests “in real time” and deliver results “up to 10 times faster” than its current iteration. The company says the AI models can interpret speech down to a half a gigabyte, which is small enough for them to process directly on a smartphone instead of requiring remote servers. The Lens platform combines the company’s advanced computer vision and natural language processing with the power of Google Search. The lens is effectively Google’s engine for seeing, understanding and augmenting the real world. Google Lens can now recognize anything a human can recognize. That includes objects and environments, people and animals, and any text in any language.
Google still remains a search giant, and that’s something it’s not forgotten at Google IO 2019. However, the search is about to get visually rich, thanks to the inclusion of AR camera coming directly into search results. Google on-stage demonstrated how a medical student could search for a muscle group, and be presented within mobile search results with a 3D representation of the body part. Even larger things, like an AR shark, could be put into your AR screen, straight from the app. Google Duplex is getting smarter Remember Google Duplex, the slightly-creepy Google Assistant service that could make calls and book appointments on your behalf based on your requests? It’s getting smarter with new ‘Duplex on the web’ feature. Ask Google Assistant to plan a trip, and it’ll begin filling in website forms such as reservation details, hire car bookings and more. It just waits for you to confirm the details it’s inputted.
What wasn’t at Google I/O 2019
Google I/O 2019 was stuffed with hardware and software announcements, but it wasn’t what we all have expected. Specifically, we didn’t see the long rumoured Google Pixel Watch gets unveiled. As for Pixel 4, it’s too soon for the next version of Google’s flagship phone, especially with the budget-orientated announcements. Finally, there was no new Google laptops or tablets announcement.