Here’s everything that was revealed at Google I/O 2021


Google’s I/O developer conference made its big return to the (virtual) stage with a keynote event Tuesday, and the tech giant had plenty to unveil in the software department. But despite plenty of rumors, Google didn’t drop any of the new wearables or smartphones we were hoping for.

From Google Maps updates to AR-based hologram projects, here’s everything the company did reveal.

Smart Canvas

Now You Can Video Chat And Work In Docs At The Same Time.

Now you can video chat and work in Docs at the same time.

Image: Screenshot: google

Google introduced 12 new updates to Google Workspace apps, dubbed Smart Canvas. Some of the new features are already live and some will be live in the coming weeks. They include: 

  • New smart chips for @-mentions (Docs)

  • The option to remove page boundaries (Docs)

  • Emoji reactions (Docs)

  • Inclusive language recommendations (Docs)

  • Smarter meeting notes templates (Docs)

  • Connected checklists (Docs)

  • Table templates (Docs)

  • Google Meet integrated directly into the interface of Docs, Sheets, and Slides

  • Live captions and translations (Meet)

  • Timeline view (Sheets)

  • Assisted functionality like formula suggestions (Sheets)

  • The option to create and edit Docs, Sheets, and Slides in Google Chat

LaMDA

Talking To Pluto Is, Uh, Interesting.

Talking to Pluto is, uh, interesting.

Image: screenshot: google

Still in the research stage, Google revealed LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) as its latest breakthrough in conversational AI. 

The service is meant to provide free-flowing conversation that feels much more like natural dialogue than previous chatbots. It’s built on Transformer, a neural network architecture from Google Research, and the company demonstrated it at the keynote with riveting conversations with LaMDA speaking from the perspective of Pluto (yes, the planet) and a paper airplane. 

Password Manager updates

Admit It, You Use The Same Password For Everything.

Admit it, you use the same password for everything.

Image: screenshot: google

Many of us probably use Google’s Password Manager without even realizing it, especially if you’re a Chrome browser fan. The latest update makes it easier to detect when a password may be compromised, and makes it easier to change it. On supported sites, Google Assistant will use a single tap to navigate to the site and walk you through changing your password in one place. 

Other updates also make it easier to import passwords from other password managers and fill in passwords across desktop and mobile.

New safety and privacy features

Some Photos Aren'T Meant To Be Seen.

Some photos aren’t meant to be seen.

Image: screenshot: google

Google introduced a variety of features that aims to put you in control of your data, including:

  • Quick Delete in Search: Just looked up something embarrassing? You can now get rid of the last 15 minutes of your search history with s single tap. 

  • Locked Folders: You can now hide away any photos you don’t want casual perusers to come across in a passcode protected locked folder in the Google Photos app.  This feature is coming to Pixel phones first, and other Android phones later in the year.

  • Location History Reminders: If you keep seeing the last locations you’ve visited in your Maps Timeline, Google will remind you it’s because you have Location History turned on — and will make it easy to turn it off in the same place. 

AI advances

I'Ve Definitely Looked At A Freckle And Wondered If I Should Be Worried Before.

I’ve definitely looked at a freckle and wondered if I should be worried before.

Image: screenshot: google

Google is working on using artificial intelligence to do a number of things, from solving health issues to improving search capabilities. New AI projects that Google revealed include:

Google Maps updates

More Features  Have Been Added For The Directionally-Challenged.

More features  have been added for the directionally-challenged.

Image: screenshot: google

The well-loved navigation app got its own set of AI-powered enhancements, including:

  • Routing updates: The app will calculate multiple route options using several factors to reduce hard-braking incidents, ideally reducing car accidents.

  • Live View: Using AR, Live View can help you explore neighborhoods and see helpful details within the app while walking around, like how busy a restaurant is or exactly which street you’re on. 

  • Detailed and tailored maps: More detailed maps will be launching in 50 cities, better depicting complicated intersections and pedestrian routes. Tailored maps will take into account aspects such as the time of the day to better present map elements, like coffee shops in the morning. 

  • Area busyness: This takes the live busyness feature for specific places and applies it to wider areas, so you can check how bustling a neighborhood is before heading out.

I'M Into The Pretty Pastels.

I’m into the pretty pastels.

Image: screenshot: google

Android 12 

The anticipated competitor to iOS 15 is now available in its first beta form. New features include:

  • A redesigned UI: Many design elements can now be personalized on Pixel phones, like color palettes, animations, and system spaces. 

  • More security: Android 12 includes new transparency features, a Privacy Dashboard, and camera status within apps.

Google Photos and Camera

Google Is Actively Working To Make Its Camera Less Racist.

Google is actively working to make its camera less racist.

Image: screenshot: google

The app is about more than just storing your photos, and the new features make that clear.

  • A new Memories feature: This will identify little patterns across your photos to put together a collection of memories that are even more personal to you.

  • Cinematic Moments: Similar to Apple’s Live Photos, the feature will take the multiple still shots that you may take while trying to get the perfect shot and create a moving picture. 

  • Control over Memories: There are additional controls to hide Memories and Photos you’d rather not revisit.

  • Camera changes: Google’s latest camera will better identify wavy and curly hair patterns against backgrounds, and better light darker skin.

Wear OS

No New Watches, But A New Os Is On The Way.

No new watches, but a new OS is on the way.

Image: screenshot: google

While we didn’t get new wearables, we did see an update to Wear, which comes on the back of a new partnership with Fitbit. Mainly, Google is working to combine Wear with Samsung’s Tizen to offer a longer battery life, new apps and Tiles, and an optimized flow between watch functions. 

Project Starline

Perhaps the most unique deliverable of the event, Project Starline seems to be Google’s latest attempt to fight loneliness during the pandemic. The AR-powered holographic experience is a tech project that aims to help people feel like they’re in the same room, even from miles apart. Currently, it’s only available in select Google offices. 





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