A better, faster, stronger Google is in store for 2019. During its I/O developer conference on Tuesday, the company unveiled dozens of updates to every corner of the Google ecosystem; from search and Google Assistant to the next generation of Android. In the keynote, Google CEO Sundar Pinchai said the company's mission is shifting from a company that "helps you find answers" to one that "helps you get things done." Whether it's hailing a Lyft, translating foreign languages or transcribing video in real-time, the theme today was how Google can help users perform more tasks than ever before.
This year's I/O wasn't strictly about software; Google also unveiled its newest smartphones and smart home gadgets. As expected, the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL debuted at I/O. We also learned more about the Nest Hub Max, Google's latest smart home display. Google also revealed several breakthroughs in AI, AR and speech recognition technology that are coming to its products.
The company is giving consumers more control over their privacy with new security features. Accessibility was also a key theme, tools that include live captioning for the deaf or hard of hearing. Here's what you might've missed from the opening day of Google I/O 2019:
- Google is bringing computer vision and augmented reality to Search
- You'll start to see 3D images popping up in Search results. For example, if you do a search for a pair of New Balance sneakers, you can view it from multiple angles and hold it up to your clothes to see if it'll match.
- Google Lens is getting even smarter. It can translate foreign languages, read aloud or help you calculate the tip at a restaurant.
- Google will be adding more context to news results, allowing you to see how a story develops.
- Podcasts will also be indexed in Google Search.
- The next generation of Google Assistant will be faster and more intuitive.
- Duplex, Assistant's reservation feature for restaurants and more, will now be able to handle everything from booking a rental car to buying movie tickets. Duplex for Chrome will be available to help on the web for US and UK users later this year.
- Google Assistant will soon work with third-party apps, allowing you to track your run or order food.
- Due to breakthroughs in deep-learning, Google was able to condense its Assistant app to take up less space on your phone. The next-gen Google Assistant will only take up half a gigabyte.
- Android phones will get an Assistant-powered Driving Mode this summer.
- Mornings are about to get less annoying. You won't have to say "Hey Google" to shut off your alarm anymore.
- The new Google Assistant will know even more about you and your personal life. You'll receive personalized suggestions on everything from podcasts to recipes to events.
- You'll have more control over how much data and what kind of data Google stores.
- A new Incognito mode for Maps and Search will make sure those results aren't traced to your Google account.
- Filters that auto-delete web activity and app data will be available starting today; auto-deletion for location data will be available in the coming weeks.
- Google is planning on letting you block cross-site tracking. The feature will be available to test in developer versions of Chrome coming later in 2019.
- Project Mainline will deliver security updates to Android Q in a more timely manner.
- Google wants to reach users who are disabled with new accessibility features. For deaf consumers, Live Caption on Android Q will transcribe things like YouTube videos, podcasts and phone calls.
- Live Relay will help users who have difficulty speaking. This tool will help users respond to phone calls by typing messages on their keyboard or selecting Smart Reply messages.
- Project Euphonia will use speech recognition to assist users with ALS or speech impediments.
- The next version of Android will include features like dark mode and AI-powered smart reply for any messaging app -- not just Gmail and Google's messaging app.
- Live Caption will transcribe any video you're watching in real-time.
- Google will push out security updates directly to its Play Store. You won't have to reboot your phone.
- The newest phones in the Pixel universe, the 3a and 3a XL, were unveiled at I/O. We did a breakdown of the specs.
- A new camera mode for Pixel phones include Night Sight and a time-lapse feature.
- The 3a is basically a modest version of the Pixel 3, with a reduced price. The Pixel 3a will start at $399 and the Pixel 3a XL will start at $479.
- Check out our full review of the Pixel 3a here.
Google Nest Hub
- The new Nest Hub Max is bigger and has a camera. The device has a 10-inch HD screen and a 6.5 megapixel camera that doubles as a surveillance device.
- The Nest Hub Max will be available this summer for $229. Last year's Hub, which is getting renamed to Home Hub, will be reduced to $99 and will now be available in Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain and Sweden.
- Check out our hands-on of the Nest Hub Max here.
- Google is phasing out its Work with Nest program this summer in favor of a Works with Assistant framework.