Google I/O 2018: News, rumours, dates and all you need to know
Google is lifting the lid on the latest features that are heading to its family of products, including Android Auto, Android P, Android TV, Chrome OS, Daydream, Google Assistant, Google Home and more at its annual I/O Developer Conference. Here’s what you need to know about all of the announcements.
Below is a summary of the biggest reveals Google made at its I/O keynote on May 8.
Google used its I/O Keynote as an opportunity to detail a number of features baked into Android P, including Adaptive Applications, Adaptive Battery and Adaptive Brightness – three useful new tools that take advantage of artificial intelligence (AI) to alter system functions when the algorithm sees fit. Here’s the low-down:
- App Actions and Slices – Android P introduces two ambitious UI changes, Actions and Slices. The former is analogous to Actions on Google Assistant, while the latter is a subset that can surface core features from an application when conducting a device-wide search.
- Digital Wellbeing – There’s a Dashboard application baked into Android P that lets you monitor your usage and set restrictions. You can, for example, tell it to restrict access to Netflix after using it for two hours. Or even to strip colour from your handset after a specific time to encourage you to put it down.
- Do Not Disturb (DND) – Do Not Disturb is a lot more aggressive in Android P. Now when enabled, notifications will disappear altogether. The only way an alert will come through is if triggered by a starred contact, and even then it’s restricted to a phone call – no text messages.
- Navigation – Google has done away with the standard on-screen navigation buttons in Android P, in favour of a lone Home button that relies on multitasking to navigate; sliding the Home button to the right, for example, lets you cycle through recent applications.
- Overview – There’s a new Overview screen built into Android P that’s essentially a multitasking hub. There’s a Search bar at the top and a row of predictive applications at the bottom, generated using the aforementioned Adaptive Applications algorithm.
Big G also launched the Android P Beta for the Essential Phone PH-1, Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2, Google Pixel 2 XL, Nokia 7 Plus, OnePlus 6, Oppo R15 Pro, Sony Xperia XZ2, Vivo X2 and Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S at I/O 2018. Head over to Google’s Beta website for instructions on how to install it.
Google Assistant has been treated to a massive overhaul. There are a six new voices to choose from, as well as a revised user interface that will be available on both Android and iOS when it launches later in 2018. It’s a lot smoother than the existing interface, putting artificial intelligence at the centre of the experience.
But that’s not the best bit. Google Assistant will soon (no word on when) be able to make calls for you. And no, we aren’t kidding.
Google showed a demonstration of Assistant calling a hair salon to book an appointment during its I/O Keynote. Assistant had a back-and-forth conversation with the receptionist, who spoke to it like a human, and processed questions on the spot and offered up intelligent and unnervingly normal-sounding responses within a matter of seconds.
The firm will also use the feature to update business listings in Search.
If you aren’t convinced the opening hours for an establishment listed on Google Maps are correct, for example, you’ll have the option to command the company’s in-house Assistant to contact the business to verify the information. It will then update the listing accordingly for the whole world to see. Crazy stuff, right?
Last, but not least, Google is arming Assistant with the facility to have a natural back-and-forth conversation. The feature will arrive in the coming weeks, providing you with the option to request additional information after you submitted a request. You will also be able to ask more than one question at once.
Google announced that a slew of new features are headed to Google Photos at I/O 2018, the most notable of which is the option to add realistic-looking colour to black-and-white pictures, using AI. There’s also a new Smart Actions tool that can understand who’s in an image, offering to share it with those people.
Oh, and it will soon be able to recognise documents and convert them to PDFs, and let you know when it thinks an image needs to be brightened or rotated in order to make it look better.
A new version of Google News was showcased during Google’s I/O Keynote. It’s designed to merge the client’s core features with the best of the standalone Newsstand application, while at the same time placing a much heavier emphasis on images and YouTube videos.
The biggest change, however, is that News is now driven by AI. AI that intends to weed out fake news and understand you better.
Google says it uses artificial intelligence to not only surface stories you’re interested in, but to ensure you only see relevant and high-quality content. That’s further reinforced by the introduction of Snapchat Stories-style Newscasts, which you can swipe through for key snippets before you actually open an article.
Google I/O is the name of Google’s annual Developer Conference, where the firm discusses the future of the various products and services in its ecosystem. This year, it’s being held at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California, but it’s also live-streamed for loyal fans around the world to tune in and watch.
Google I/O will run from May 8 through May 10 and, as you’d expect, the tech giant has a lot planned for the gathering. That’s why it’s released an application for both Android and iOS that’s filled to the brim with must-know information, as well as a schedule for the event – so you can see what’s happening at any given moment.
Here are some of the highlights:
- 10 am PDT/6 pm BST – Google Keynote with CEO Sundar Pichai
- 12:45 pm PDT/8:45 pm BST – Google Developer Keynote with Jason Titus
- 3 pm PDT/11 pm BST – What’s new with Android TV
- 3 pm PDT /11 pm BST – Lessons from Meltdown and Spectre
- 10:30 am PDT/6:30 pm BST – What’s new in Google Photos
- 10:30 am PDT/6:30 pm BST – What’s new in AR
- 10:30 am PDT/6:30 pm BST – What’s new in Wear OS
- 1:30 pm PDT/9:30 pm BST – Introducing AIY: DIY Artificial Intelligence
- 9:30 am PDT/5:30 pm BST – What’s new in Android security
- 10:30 am PDT/6:30 pm BST – Personalised Actions for Google Assistant
- 10:30 am PDT/7:30 pm BST – Don’t let your app drain your users’ battery
- 12:30 pm PDT/9:30 pm BST – Build a successful web presence with Search
As mentioned earlier, the major events scheduled to take place at Google I/O 2018 will be live-streamed for the world to see. The streams will be hosted in three places: on Google’s dedicated Google I/O website; within the standalone Google I/O Android and iOS applications; and over on YouTube.
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