Last night Google’s yearly developers conference took center stage and the stakes were high. The company has been under pressure lately, as they have seemed to fall behind in the ongoing AI race. The event definitely didn’t disappoint and the tech giant showed that they should not be counted out just yet. The keynote, as always, is well worth the watch but if you don’t want to spend 2 hours on it we got you covered, here are the highlights of Google I/O 2023.
AI and hardware took center stage at Google I/O 2023
Considering the whispers before the show, and the fact that AI is all anyone talks about in tech these days, it should not come as a surprise. A ton of AI features were announced at the I/O and Google also showed off 3 new additions to their lineup of Pixel devices.
Hardware announcements from Google I/O 2023
Months before even the date was set for Google I/O 2023, rumors started going around about the possible hardware that would be announced at the event. The speculation was that Google would unveil a budget version of the Pixel 7 and possibly a foldable or a tablet version. Well, the rumors were correct and we got all three of them.
- Pixel 7a – It’s a budget version of the Pixel 7 smartphone and the price clocks in at just below 500$. It’s equipped with the Tensor G2 chip and according to Google, it boasts the best camera in its price range.
- Pixel Fold – While it’s probably as far from rugged as you can get, the Pixel Fold still looks like a very fun consumer device. It’s the thinnest foldable phone on the market and switching between the front screen and the main screen is completely seamless. Among other things it’s got a specific tabletop mode, placing the phone on a table, like a laptop, divides the screen. It gives you the visual part at the top and the controls at the bottom, like a keyboard. It also boasts the best selfie capabilities on the market as you can use the best camera on the phone for selfies while seeing what you’re photographing on the front screen. Very influencer friendly.
- Pixel Tablet – The pixel tablet is very much designed for use in the home, the 11” tablet has a charging dock that doubles as a smart speaker and has a built-in Chromecast. When docked, the tablet goes into hub mode and could be a replacement for both your smart speaker and tablet. The new Pixel releases backs-up Google’s renewed faith in bigger, tablet-sized, screens.
The AI announcements from Google I/O 2023
With all the buzz surrounding ChatGPT and Microsoft’s AI features, Google had to deliver on the AI front. A ton of both fun and useful features were announced at the Google I/O 2023, how well they actually measure up against the competition remains to be seen.
The biggest news was definitely the fact that the waitlist for using Google’s AI, Bard, was removed. It’s now available for the public in 180 countries, just head over to bard.google.com and log in with your Google account.
The company showed off how Bard can help with coding and the AI knows 20 different coding languages. Ask for a code snippet and it should deliver it along with a link to the Github source. The AI also got a dark theme and the ability to tap into all kinds of other services. One of them is Adobe Firefly, it’s now possible to generate unique pictures right in Bard. Just tap in what you want the pic to contain and in what style you want it.
AI integrations in the Google and Android ecosystem
- Gmail – “Help me write” is a new feature that basically turns a sentence into a complete and polite email. It uses information from previous emails with the same recipient and generates a relevant, smart response. Mailing about a flight? Help me write can pull flight details from other emails and include them.
- Google Photos – “Magic Eraser” is a generative AI tool that helps you fix pictures. The example used was a bunch of balloons, didn’t get them all in the pic? Mark the balloons and drag them into the center and Magic Eraser will generate the rest of the balloons and move the main motive for you.
- Docs, Sheets & Slides – Basically all of them are getting generative AI. It can help you arrange the layout in a sheet based on what you want to organize or type out a draft for you in docs.
- Messages – “Magic Compose” is going to help you keep text messages polite, fun or apply suitable emojis. Type your text message as you normally would and then click on Magic Compose. It’s going to give you options for the tone of voice you want, add in emojis or why not type the message out as if it was written by Shakespeare.
- Google search – Of course, AI is also going to be included in everyone’s favorite search engine. Help you collect the relevant info in a quick and condensed way along with the sources.
- Wallpapers – In the fall you will be able to generate your own, unique wallpapers with the help of AI. Ask for the motive you would like along with the style you want it in like an impressionism-style skyline, and you’re going to receive several options. Additionally, you will be able to turn your own photos into 3D images where the background moves.
Google Maps – Immersive View
It’s neither hardware nor AI but the new Immersive view in Google Maps definitely deserves a mention. This new mode gives you a 3-dimensional map with a birds-eye view of your route. You can check out your trip in advance and it’s not only going to show you how the route looks. Immersive View will show what the weather is like at the time that you´re planning your trip and the predicted traffic. Very useful in order to plan what you’re going to wear and what route to take.
As always there were a ton of announcements and covering them all would turn this article into a book. Check out the keynote on Youtube to get more highlights and if you want the whole thing, it’s available at the official Google I/O website.