Google’s I/O developer conference seeing an avalanche of announcements for the smartphone they’re focused on augmented reality and voice commands to really move your phone into the future. Google’s vision involves less of your tapping the display of your smartphone and a lot more pointing your phone at things and it reacting.
- Here are a list of everything heading to the Google apps that you’ve got on your smartphone. (We’re huge fans of the fact that they’re not dependent on an Android version)
- New search features embed AR content in results, so you can see what New Balance shoes or a shark look like in your real-world surroundings.
- In a restaurant, you can aim your phone’s camera at the menu to see photos, popular dishes, and reviews.
You can also point the camera at the bill to calculate a tip or split the check.
- Google Go, which targets users in developing economies, will read signs out loud, translating them on the fly if you wish. Google says that this code takes only 100KB of memory and can run on a $35 phone.
- A new Google Assistant feature called “Duplex for the Web” can do things like use a car-rental site to book a reservation for you (unlike last year’s Duplex, it doesn’t call a human on the phone).
- Google is crunching down 100GB of machine-learning models to fit in half a gigabyte, letting the Assistant do more things without having to access the internet, which the company says makes using your voice faster than tapping.
- Assistant is also getting a Drive mode aimed at minimal-distraction use in the car.
- A new Assistant feature called “Personal References” lets it use facts from your life, enabling voice commands such as “Remind me to order flowers a week before Mom’s birthday.”
Don’t expect all f these to appear on your smartphone today, many of these will only be previews and some will launch first on Google’s Pixel smartphones. We really like the heavy integration of AR into our daily life (all though we’ve been using AR maps for a few months now and we aren’t convinced that it’s better than voice. Sometimes it’s nice to be aware of your surroundings and not bound to seeing the world through the display of your smartphone. Having said that we can’t wait for the productive nature of these updates to appear on our handsets.
CEO Sundar Pichai dives into what these features are building up to:
“Our mission to make information universally accessible and useful hasn’t changed over the past 21 years, but our approach has evolved over time. Google is no longer a company that just helps you find answers. Today, Google products also help you get stuff done, whether it’s finding the right words with Smart Compose in Gmail, or the fastest way home with Maps.
Simply put, our vision is to build a more helpful Google for everyone, no matter who you are, where you live, or what you’re hoping to accomplish.”
This means that data in getting more useful and we’re moving beyond the hardware.