On Tuesday, the Google I/O 2018 conference kicked off with the traditional keynote presentation by CEO Sundar Pichai. In this post, we break down the 5 takeaways and talking points from the Google I/O keynote 2018.
1. AI is the next big thing (as if we already didn’t know)
Artificial Intelligence is the rising star of the tech world and this keynote was based almost entirely on how the technology will be used in Google products over the coming year. Everything was covered here, from how it is being used in medicine, to how we can use it to write email, edit photos and talk to our devices. AI is truly taking over our lives, we’re now using it without noticing. And this presentation showed us it has no sign of slowing down.
2. Technology is going to make us lazier
Some of the technology we saw at this event was absolutely incredible – especially the new features added to the Google Assistant. Google’s counterpart to Alexa and Siri is already widely regarded as one of the smartest assistants out there. And now it can make phone calls for you! And I’m not talking about calls to other assistants. Real calls to real people. The demo showed the assistant making a call to make a hair appointment and was able to cope with all the nuances of human speech. Similar technology has been rolled out in Gmail. The feature dubbed ‘Smart Compose’ will literally write an email for you; it really is amazing! Now our assistants can write our email, manage our calendar, handle our music, make our phone calls, give us weather and traffic updates and much more. As this tech becomes more advanced over the next year, we’re all going to become lazier! Especially when it starts doing the washing up and walking the dog.
3. We are ever closer to self driving cars
Google used the opportunity to update us on its self driving technology, Waymo. The main takeaway from this one? Very soon, you will be able to call Waymo and an empty, self driving car will pick you up and take you to your destination. Yes, this is actually going to be happening. Something that seems so futuristic is a lot closer to happening that we think. So we better get used to the sight of empty cars driving on our roads!
4. Google Lens is amazing!
One of my favourite features that Google announced at this event was the advancements to Google Lens. This AI powered feature allows us to use our cameras to interact with the real world. You can now hold your camera up in maps, and you can follow a fox who is walking in front of you to guide you to your destination. You can now literally copy and past text straight from a physical book onto your device. It can tell you the breed of dog you are looking at just by pointing the camera. And you like that new lamp your friend has? Show it to Google Lens and it will suggest similar lamps that you can buy yourself. I think this feature is a great example of how AI is going to be widely used in the next few years and it shows how this technology can be used to enrich our lives and make us all have a better relationship with technology.
5. Google is helping us spend less time on our phones, using a new app, on our phones
Speaking of having a better relationship with our devices, Google put a big emphasis at this event on how we balance our digital life with our real life. Features like ‘Do Not Disturb’ and and the aptly named ‘Shush’ are small features that will help with reducing distraction in important moments where we need to be present in our lives. We can also monitor how much we are not using our phones, by using a new app, on our phones…
This was a strong event overall by Google. It was focussed on article intelligence and machine learning and it demonstrated that the applications for it are endless and amazing. It is clear that Google is miles ahead of Facebook, Amazon and even Apple in this space and it will be interesting to see how the others respond in the coming year. And yes – actual self driving cars!