Google I/O 2019, the annual developer conference for Google-powered services has just wrapped up yesterday. One thing for sure, it did not disappoint. Here are the 5 announcements that stood out to us.
Google I/O introduces Pixel 3A and 3A XL
Good news if you are a fan of Google’s flagship phone. the Pixel 3A and 3A XL start with an impressively affordable price point of $399.
Keeping up with the reputation Pixel phones have for their camera ability, these new devices will have features like Night Sight, Super Res Zoom, and portrait mode that can be used on either the rear or front-facing camera.
Unsurprisingly, the more budget-friendly Pixel phone will lack premium features like waterproofing, wireless charging, and headphone jack, instead of using USB-C. Furthermore, owners of these phones are going to have free access to Google Photos storage on the cloud, the quality will be capped to high quality instead of full resolution.
Duplex is coming to the web
If you followed last years Google I/O you may remember Duplex, the breakout star of that event. You may remember the claim that Duplex could use Google Assistant to make bookings over the phone on your behalf, mimicking an actual human assistant. Now Duplex can use your information to navigate the web to book things. You can buy things like movie tickets, using pre-stored personal and billing details like some sort of semi-autonomous autofill.
Android will offer live subtitles on all videos
Google will offer Live Caption or subtitles on all videos and we mean all videos. Regardless if it’ online, on an app, on your camera roll or even a live video chats, soon Android will be able to add subtitles in real-time. Google says emphasised its use for making content more accessible for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. However, some people might avail of this feature when watching videos in public, if they forgot their headphones. However, simply sometimes people like to have subtitles so they watch a don’t miss what’s said. Additionally, phone calls soon are going to have Live Caption. This shows a live transcription of the conversations that are being had.
As seen during this I/O conference, Google’s AI breakthroughs have been key to making these amazing ideas into reality. Another key factor in making this work is enabling complex natural language algorithms to be stored directly on the Android device. This removes the need for remote servers elsewhere to generate audio into subtitles.
Android Q beta now has a dark theme, digital wellbeing and smart reply
Today on every standard Android phone, the latest Android Q beta is available and it comes with the following features:
Dark theme update allowing users to select the inverted app colours manually or turn it on using battery saver mode. Colours are true black and not dark grey according to early tests. The aim is to help reduce battery power consumption.
Digital Wellbeing was launched last year, however, at this I/O, we learned Google is also introducing Focus Mode. Unlike Wind Down mode which simply greys out the screen, Focus Mode lets you choose selected apps to be avoided during an elected period of time.
Families will get the option of linked accounts so they can keep an eye on their kids’ online behaviour. Parents will have access to set app limitations to control their kids’ activity, in the same vein as Focus mode, except they will be able to do it remotely.
Smart Reply from Android Q will be offered in third-party messaging apps, in a similar fashion as initially tested with their standalone Reply app. Additionally, it will offer suggested actions, for instance opening Google Maps when a message containing addresses or referencing a commute.
Google Maps can be in incognito
Google along with other big tech giants faced scrutinisation in recent years for location and search tracking. In fact, security breaches played a part in shutting down Google Plus. As part of their efforts to correct this invasion of privacy, Incognito mode will be available on Google Maps to allow more private searches. This will be available on both web and app versions according to Google. The tech giant recently announced that it will enable users to automatically delete their location, web, and app activity.