Google Debuts New Hardware and Shows Off New Search, AR, and Google Assistant Features at Google I/O

By May 7, 2019Advertising

Google’s annual I/O developer conference took place today, and the Mountain View-based company announced a number of changes and updates, some of which will be coming to Google products available on iOS devices and others that are of interest as services that compete with Apple services.

Google Search

Google plans to enhance Google Search with the addition of “Full Coverage” news, providing a more balanced view of news when searching for something. Right now, Google News has a timeline and a feature that displays different viewpoints of the same story, and these options are coming to Search as well.


Google Search is also going to index podcasts in the future, allowing users to search for podcast content, not just title. Podcast episodes will be able to be listened to in search results.

New augmented reality features will be available in Google Search, with 3D augmented reality models coming to search results. You’ll be able to do things like view a pair of shoes you’re searching for in the real world while shopping. On stage, Google showed off an animated shark that was pulled from the web and broadcast into the room using AR.

Retailers that already use 3D assets will be able to add 3D models to Google Search results with just a few lines of code, and Google is working with NASA, Samsung, Target, Wayfair, and others.

Search is getting an Incognito feature that will allow you to make Google searches without having the data added to your Google account.

Google Duplex

Google is updating Duplex, the service that makes calls for you, with web support, which will allow it to make rental car bookings, reserve movie tickets, and fill in web forms, similar to existing auto fill features.

You’ll be able to say something similar to “Hey Google, book a rental car from Hertz for my next trip,” and Duplex will pull up the website and start filling out all the necessary information. You’ll be prompted to fill out information that it doesn’t have, but it’s able to pull data from calendar, Gmail, and Chrome. It’s a feature coming to Android phones later this year, and an iOS device launch date isn’t known.

Google Maps

Incognito mode, which has long been available in Google’s Chrome browser, is being expanded to the Google Maps app so you can get directions privately.



On Pixel devices, Google Maps is getting an AR walking mode, which shows walking directions in real time overlaid over the real world.


Google Lens

Google Lens is being updated with some new features, such as the ability to read a menu and highlight the most popular dishes, or to read a receipt and automatically calculate a tip.

Privacy

Google plans to make Google Account information more easily accessible from your profile in all major Google products. This is in addition to the recently announced feature that will automatically clear search and location history every three months or every 18 months.

Google Assistant

Google showed off a next-generation version of its Google Assistant, which is much speedier (Google says 10x faster) than it was previously, and smarter as well. In a demo on stage, Google Assistant was able to accurately and quickly respond to rapid fire requests, which is something Apple’s Siri voice assistant can’t do.



The “Hey Google” wake word wasn’t required for this process, which ran through commands like checking the weather, bringing up a contact, turning on the flashlight, and taking a selfie all within seconds. Personalization features will bring up tailored voice results using a “Picks For You” feature, which can suggest personalized recipes, podcasts, and more. Google’s updated Google Assistant is coming to new Pixel phones later this year.

Google Assistant is also coming to Waze in the next few weeks, and on Android devices, Google is implementing a new Driving Mode for Google Assistant, coming this summer.

Android Q

Google shared some details on Android Q, the next-generation version of the Android operating system that runs on Android devices.

A Live Caption feature will add real-time subtitles for any audio that’s playing on an Android device, and it’s available with or without an internet connection because it’s done on-device.



A Smart Reply feature will offer up suggested actions, similar to how Siri suggestions work on iOS devices. Android Q, like iOS 13, will have a built-in system-wide dark mode option.

Google is aiming to address privacy concerns and bring Android privacy more in line with iOS privacy with a comprehensive set of privacy tools for limiting developer access to personal information. There’s also an Android OS Framework that will provide over-the-air security updates from Google that will work without a reboot of the device and that will be installed in the background.

Screen Time-like features are coming to Android Q with Focus Mode, which will limit access to apps that are distracting, such as social media apps. Parental Controls are also being improved, with options that will let parents restrict apps on an app by app basis. Android Q is available today on 21 devices in a beta capacity, including all Pixel smartphones.

Google Home

Google today announced that all of its smart home products will be unified under the “Nest” brand, which it purchased a few years back. Under the new brand, Google debuted the Nest Hub Max, a device with a 10-inch display that’s designed to be a home control hub with a dashboard for controlling smart home products.


It also works like a Nest Camera, but is set up for multiple people with Face Match technology. It has privacy controls so nothing is streamed or recorded sans permission, and there’s a green light that comes on when it’s recording.


When not in use, it can display photos, serving as a digital photo frame, and it can be used to play YouTube videos and other TV/movie content. Nest Hub Max is launching this summer for $229. Google’s original Nest Hub is also now available for $129, a $20 discount.

Google Pixel

Google announced two new lower-cost smartphones, the Pixel 3a and 3aXL, with prices starting at $399. It includes many features the Pixel line is known for, including high-quality cameras with front and rear portrait modes and the well-known Night Sight feature. Call screening and adaptive battery life are also included, with the latter feature allowing the Pixel 3a to get up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge.


Google on stage threw some shade at Apple, comparing the Pixel’s Night Sight Mode to an iPhone X image, and pointing out that it continues to have a headphone jack for those who prefer a greater range of headphone options.



Google’s new Pixel 3a devices are available starting today in the United States.




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