Google I/O 2022 is underway. During the event, we expect to hear from Google about new tools for developers, improvements included in Android 13, and maybe some new hardware. In the past, Google I/O’s opening keynote has also included presentations surrounding Chrome, Chrome OS, Android TV/Google TV, and Google Assistant. We’ve also seen previews of futuristic technology during the keynote.
Below you’ll find everything Google has announced so far during the opening keynote.
Google Translate gets new languages
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai took to the stage to kick off Google I/O with a joke by making sure his microphone wasn’t muted, after spending the last two years always starting his meetings on mute. Pichai then went into random product updates, giving highlights such as the number of air raid alerts Google has sent in Ukraine and noting that Google Translate is gaining 24 new languages.
Google Maps gets a new immersive view that makes street view look pretty lame
Pichai also demonstrated a new Immersive Mode in Google Maps that allows you to check out select cities that looks like Google Earth imagery combined with Street View, but on steroids. Not only can you check out cities, but you can even look at the inside of businesses. It looks pretty cool.
YouTube auto-generated chapters, transcriptions
Google has been able to auto-generate chapters for YouTube videos, but through improvements to the service, Google is planning to automatically add chapter markers to 80 million videos by the end of the year. Google will also roll out automatic transcriptions for videos, making it easier to read through the audio that’s in the video. This is also a big accessibility feature.
Google Docs gets auto-summary
Here’s a cool one: Google Docs will soon have a summary feature that gives you the cliff notes version of a long document so you can get the gist of what’s included in just a few seconds. This is especially helpful for those who often receive meeting notes or minutes and don’t want to wade through all of the fluff.
Google previews the future of Search
Search is arguably Google’s most important product, and during Google I/O the company demonstrated new tools and features that are coming to Search. For example, you can take a picture of a part you need for a home repair then add the term “near me” to the query, and Google will find that part, in stock at a local business. The same goes for taking a photo of a plate of food. Multisearch Near Me will launch, globally, later this year for English users.
Another feature coming to Search, and more specifically Google Lens, will allow you to scan an aisle in the grocery store and view an overlay of information about the products in front of you. The example used during the keynote was scanning a shelf of chocolate bars and trying to locate which items meet a specific criteria. Or looking for a specific bottle of wine or a fragrance-free bar of soap. This feature is called Scene Exploration and will launch later this year.
Google’s Real Tone initiative will move beyond the Pixel’s camera
Google’s Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro cameras have a feature called Real Tone that’s designed to take accurate photos of people with darker skin tones. Using Monk’s Skin Tone Scale, Google is researching how the scale can be applied to other products. For example, Google has started to use the scale in Google Photos and is adding the ability to sort Search results by skin tone.
A new Real Tone Filter for Google Photos will roll out later this year.
Google also announced it has open-sourced the skin tone scale, which you can view at skintone.google.
“Hey Google” is no longer required to activate Google Assistant
In order to make Google Assistant more accessible, you can use a new feature that’s rolling out starting today called Look and Talk. You simply need to look at the Nest Hub Max and start talking. You’ll see that Google Assistant is waiting for you to ask a question after looking at the screen. The demo went really well and was impressive.
Nest Hub Max is also expanding Quick Phrases to skip using Hey Google for controlling things like your Nest thermostat or turning off your lights.
Furthermore, Google Assistant will become more patient after being summoned. Instead of timing out and saying it doesn’t recognize what you’re asking, or trying to give an answer to the wrong question, the Assistant will wait, and “encourage” you to finish your thought.
LaMDA 2 makes its debut in the AI Test Kitchen
Google’s LaMDA AI tool that’s built around having a conversation about random topics is getting its own AI Test Kitchen app. There are three ways for users to interact with LaMDA using one of three different modes: Imagine It, Talk About It and List It. Access to the app will be opened up over the coming months.
There was also a demonstration of another AI tool called Chain of Thought Prompting. I don’t understand much about training AI, but the demonstration Pichai walked us through did make it look like it’d be easier for AI to understand multiple questions that are related, but regarding different data sets.
New Privacy and Safety features for users, including virtual credit card numbers
Google has several new features coming to its suite of services that will make users’ data safer and ensure they can keep their private information private. For example, Android and Google Chrome users will soon be able to submit virtual credit card numbers when making online purchases, helping prevent fraud.
There’s also a new account safety feature that will alert users if there are additional steps they need to take to secure their account. The alert can be as simple as a reminder to enable two-step authentication. Google is also expanding its phishing scam scanning to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides.
If you find any of your personal information, such as a phone number, address, or email address, in Google search results, there will soon be an automated method to request Google remove your information.
Google will launch My Ad Center later this year so you can control which ads you see and the data that’s linked to your account.
You can read more about the new privacy and safety features here.
A rundown of what’s new in Android 13
Android 13 has been in beta for a couple of months now, but Google spent some time going through some of the features users can expect to see when Android 13 launches later this year. Material You is expanding to more areas of the interface, and will allow you to use different languages for different apps.
Security is a major tent pole of Android 13, with Google touting its work with carriers and device makers to adopt RCS, a service that brings end-to-end encryption to standard SMS messages. And, of course, the company took a shot at Apple’s lack of RCS support. Maybe with iOS 16?
Google Wallet is getting an upgrade to include your driver’s license or a digital ID to the Wallet app later this year. Android will let you share your ID using NFC or a QR Code. The Wallet update will roll out in the coming weeks.
Later this year Wear OS will get an emergency SOS feature that will let you call for help directly from the watch. The feature will work in a similar fashion to the Pixel’s ability to detect a car crash and call for emergency help.
Android tablets are getting a big upgrade with Android 13
Google demonstrated new features like split-screen apps and drag-and-drop that will be coming to Android tablets in Android 13 and multitasking with paired apps. Google also announced it’s updating 20 of its own apps to make them look and work better on larger displays. Google Play will also start to surface tablet-optimized apps during your search.
Remember when Google gave up on Android tablets? Changed?
Android and Google devices working better together
Google is working with hardware partners from all different industries to give access to its casting service for music, movies, and photos across more devices. Other features such as shared copy and paste between an Android phone and tablet are coming, as well. Can I get a Huzzah!?
Matter, the smart home platform that’s supposed to launch this fall, takes away the silos that many smart home platforms have created. Google plans on using its Fast Pair feature to help you set up your wireless earbuds or any smart home devices that incorporate Matter.
Android 13 is currently in beta for Pixel devices, but more hardware partners will soon give users access to the beta. You can see the list of devices in the photo above.
Google’s Pixel hardware announcements
Google has several new Pixel devices across multiple segments. Announcements around Pixel hardware kicked off with the Pixel phone, highlighting what the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro brought to the Android-makers lineup. According to Google, the Pixel 6 is the fastest-selling Pixel ever.
Google debuted the Pixel 6a, a more affordable version of the Pixel 6 line, priced at $449. The Pixel 6a will use the same Google Tensor processor as its more expensive siblings, has two rear-facing cameras, and has the same overall design as the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro.
The Pixel 6a is available for $449. Preorders start July 21, with deliveries starting July 28.
Google gave us a quick look at the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, with a slightly new design, both of which are coming this fall. We don’t know much about them, outside of the fact they’ll use the next-generation Google Tensor and launch with Android 13.
The Pixel Buds Pro are official, as well. The new wireless earbuds feature active noise cancellation, transparency mode, and longer battery life. They’re also sweat and water-resistant, and boast multipoint connectivity to connect to and switch between multiple Bluetooth-connected devices at the same time. Spatial Audio will come through a software update to the Pixel Buds Pro later this year.
The Buds Pro goes on sale July 21 for $199 and start shipping on July 28.
Rick Osterloh made an appearance on the I/O stage to preannounce the long-rumored Pixel Watch. The Watch will launch later this year, alongside the Pixel 7 line. It looks just like the watch that was left behind at a restaurant a few weeks ago — and, yep, it runs Wear OS with deep Fitbit integration.
Osterloh also took some time to debut a Pixel Tablet that will debut in 2023. The Pixel Tablet looks a lot like the front of a Nest Hub, just without the base.
Looks like that’s a wrap. Sundar is back on stage, recapping everything that Google announced during the opening keynote and previewed some AR glasses that use Google Assistant’s live translate feature to display what someone is saying in another language, on the lenses, in real-time. It looks great. I wanted to see more.
What was your favorite part? I’m looking forward to Android 13 and the new Pixel hardware, including the Pixel Watch. It looks fantastic.