Google I/O is an annual developer conference where the technology giant showcases its innovation competence with regard to products and services. This year, the company showcased some futuristic technologies besides detailing the upgrades coming to Android and Wear OS operating systems for smartphones and smartwatches, respectively. The Google I/O 2021 was full of surprises and interesting announcements. Here is a quick recap of everything announced at the Google I/O 2021:
Google has come a long way enhancing its Android operating system for smartphones. The next iteration of the OS is set to get major design changes, including a revamped look called ‘Material You’ that dynamically changes the user interface and its elements based on users activity, apps, time of day, weather, etc. In retrospective, OPPO experimented with something of similar sorts in its Android 11 based ColorOS11 custom skin. The Chinese smartphone maker integrated tons of UI customisation options within the user interface to give the OS a new look. In Android 12, however, the changes are dynamic and not require user intervention.
Google’s operating system for smartwatches is set to get a revamp both in terms of design and utility features. In retrospective, the company earlier acquired wearables maker Fitbit. Now, the latter’s health and fitness centric features and tools are coming to WearOS, along with new apps integrations. Besides, the WearOS is set to get new capabilities for Google apps — like turn-by-turn navigation in Google Maps, or downloading songs from YouTube Music for offline listening. This is not it, Google also announced a unified smartwatch platform in partnership with Samsung, which has so far been excelling at making smartwatches powered by Tizen operating system. The unified platform will allow developers to make apps that work on both Tizen and Wear OS. In all likelihood, the WearOS is going to be the OS of next generation Samsung Galaxy Watch.
For business users, Google announced ‘Smart Canvas’. It is a single window integrated with Google productivity and collaboration tools, including the most commonly used ones like Docs, Meets, GDrive. Google said it is experimenting with new features as a part of its efforts to improve the Smart Canvas user experience. The Smart Canvas update is rolling out and it will be updated in the months to come with new features and tools.
Google announced several things around the artificial intelligence (AI) but the most interesting from the lot is its new natural language model called LaMDA. It is touted to hold converse normally without any kind of prior training. Unlike existing AI models, which can be distracted or confused easily, LaMDA is touted to prevent the AI system from crashing even when asked vague question or mixing the topic of conversation with random chit chat. The mode, however, is a work in progress, said Google.
AI already works in Google Photos but there is more coming. Google will add new type of memory called ‘Little Patterns’, locked folders, and cinematic moments preview to the Photos app. The little patterns looks for a set of three or more photos with similarities and it then highlights them as a pattern for you. Google will also be adding ‘Best of Month Memories’ and ‘Trip highlights’ to the photo grid. These can be removed or renamed. These new Cinematic moments uses machine learning to create 3D versions of your photos. It uses computational photography and neural networks to stitch together a series of near-identical photos, to create moving images by filling in the gaps in between your photos to create new frames. Interesting, but this feature does not have a launch date as yet. Lastly, the Locked Folder in Google Photos. It is a passcode-protected space for private photos. This feature will roll out to Android phones later this year.