The Google I / O Developer Conference kicks off today, and we’re following all the juicy stuff in the main note that’s happening right now. It’s a virtual event, so anyone can join the YouTube stream to watch it all live, and we give you the best bits in this constantly updated post.
You can view the main note of Google I / O directly here:
Redesign of Android 12 (Material You)
Material You is the latest version in the official design language of Google and this fall comes on Android 1
We have a deeper dive in our material You post right here and let me tell you: we are excited. This is easily the biggest redesign of Android in years and looks just stunningly good – Google even brought Matias Duarte on stage to present it! Here is a mega gallery of some of the new external versions of Android.
Android 12 also promises big performance improvements to match this new new look, with fewer stutters and locks. Everything sounds a lot promising.
Oh, and a side note: there is already three billion Android devices out there!
Wear OS is completely rediscovered
Wear OS is undergoing the biggest change in the history of the platform: Google is merging with Samsung and combining the wearable operating systems Wear OS and Tizen into a single, unified platform. The announcement included a major redesign of the operating system and promises by Google of a renewed investment in smartwatches, along with the consequences of a strong partnership with Samsung for wearables.
Smartwatches have been a mistake for Google since day one. None of the company’s iterations for Android Wear (later Wear OS) really impressed anyone, and Qualcomm’s reliance on weak silicone left the platform feeling abandoned. We hope that this renewed investment will finally change the game for Android-compatible smartwatches and other wearable devices.
Google also announced that new powerful fitness and wellness features will come to this platform through Fitbit, which Google already owns. There’s still a lot to learn about Google’s new wearable platform and the future of the hardware that will use it, but it’s Google’s most confident sound for smartwatches in years. We can only hope that the subsequent matches coincide with today’s exciting new vision.
What about the new features? YouTube Music is coming to Wear OS. Finally.
Android Auto and Automotive
Wireless Android Auto comes with more manufacturers this year, as does Android Automotive. Google also announces that your Android phone will become a car key when used with vehicles from select manufacturers, which is pretty great (and something Apple announced last year).
New features for Google Photos, such as locked folders, photo grilles, cinematic moments and memory controls, also got us excited.
Locked folders in Google Photos
The new memory controls are especially notable, as they will allow you to hide memories with certain people, pets or even a specific image so that they do not appear as memory in the Photos app. The new AI for pattern recognition will make it even easier to find and create collections of objects and scenes you’ve captured.
Google Maps has announced a series of changes, such as new safe routing, that will help you avoid particularly dangerous bike routes or areas where pedestrians have poor access to sidewalks or are too exposed to traffic. There will also be new signals for particularly crowded neighborhoods and areas, unlike businesses and landmarks.
Quick demonstration of the new job on Google Maps
There are also some notable changes, such as more detailed street maps for 50 cities, some of which you should check out in our more detailed post related to the first sentence of this paragraph.
Advanced new search AI (MUM)
A new “Multitasking Unified Model” (codenamed “MUM”) will allow Google to interpret text, language and media in radically powerful new ways. Google says this will allow far, much more complex search queries, such as “I climbed Mount Adams and now I want to climb Mount Fuji, what do I have to do to prepare differently?” – a question that the climber may be able to answer without missing a beat, but which the search engine would be completely useless to solve when asked this way. Another crazy example: imagine showing Google a picture of your hiking boots and asking if they would be suitable for hiking in Mount Fuji.
Okay, Google, this is pretty crazy
This seems like the magical future that Google often offers, though rarely offers in practice, so for now, color us skeptically. But the fact that they even shoot for this kind of functionality is quite an amazing thing.
New privacy controls, such as deleting the last 15 minutes of your search history, allow you to quickly and easily get rid of recent queries. Google Maps receives reminders of your location history, with a quick switch to turn off location tracking, along with the aforementioned Google Photos lock folder.
Quickly and easily delete your last 15 minutes of searches
Google Chrome will also prompt you to change your password on sites directly where it knows you have a compromised password.
Major changes to Android’s privacy controls are also stored as part of the Android 12 update and are difficult to summarize in our overview, but you can find all the details in our description here.
LaMDA conversational AI
Later, Google introduced its brand new LaMDA conversational AI, which creates an amazingly human language in dialogue (one of Google’s demonstrations was a conversation with the former planet Pluto). Another demonstration included a chat with paper plane, one of the strangest abstract things I think I’ve ever seen making a computer. However, everything was extremely impressive, albeit a little strange.
Only Google would talk to a paper airplane to demonstrate new artificial intelligence technology
These new conversational models also have a practical application, but Google promises that its AI assistant will become radically smarter when it comes to understanding complex but natural queries like “find a beautiful mountain view” in Maps or show a video of a lion. who roars on YouTube. These are pretty wild things.
We’ve seen major changes to Workspaces, with support for integrating Google Meet directly into Google’s suite of applications such as Docs, Spreadsheets, and Slides – which should greatly facilitate project collaboration.
Many more changes to Documents and Spreadsheets are also in play, so be sure to check out our full post for those here.
Quantum calculations (we are just as confused as you)
Google then jumped into the world of quantum computing, but we would be lying if we said we had a good idea of the implications of these messages at the moment – it’s a cutting-edge science involving technology that can boost generational leaps in processing. That way, Google wants us to know that quantum computers need to be really, really, cool! Even this truly abstract work of art doesn’t help me much to understand what it’s all about, but it sounds exciting (and difficult).
I can’t say that I understand any of this better now