Google’s I/O Developer Conference Kicks Off, Announcing a New Android Version and Plenty of AI Goodies


Zachary Johnson

Google’s developer conference, I/O, kicked off on Tuesday. The annual conference takes place in Mountain View, California, and has traditionally been where Google announces its newest and best technology for the year. This year’s conference wasn’t any different. I/O is over now, and Google made some huge announcements, featuring everything from a massive new Android update to new integrated AI breakthroughs, from a machine learning SDK to a revamped Google News.

One of the biggest announcements was Android P, a major update to the existing Android architecture. Android P aims to do far more than most major software updates have done in the past. Android P aims to bring mass AI to the table in the mobile market.

“One area that we’ve worked on which I like a lot is what we call ‘adaptive battery.’ It’s a project we did with DeepMind. It uses on-device machine learning to figure out which apps you’re gonna launch next, and which ones you’re not gonna launch for a couple hours, and which you may not do ’til the evening, if at all,” said Dave Burke, VP of Android Engineering, in an interview with The Verge.

Many android devices will be able to learn the user’s habits and adapt to match their detected patterns. For instance, a phone may realize that its user likes to call his or her significant other when they arrive at home, so the phone will passively suggest a call to that significant other.

Google I/O wasn’t just about Android, though. Google also further explained their upcoming Smart Displays, which are similar to Amazon’s Echo Show but with the Google Assistant architecture. The Smart Display integrates most of the Google app suite, including everything from the weather and the day’s headlines to your messages and Google Maps.

Google’s Assistant will also become a lot more advanced in the coming updates. Google aims to make Assistant not only more conversational, but also smarter. In a stunning presentation at I/O, assistant called an actual hair salon and had an actual conversation with an employee and made an appointment for its user.

“We’ve been working on this technology for many years. It’s called Google Duplex. It brings together all our investments over the years in natural language understanding, deep learning, text-to-speech,” said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google. “We’re still developing this technology and we actually want to work hard to get this right, get the user experience and the expectation right for both businesses and users. But, done correctly, it’ll save time for people and generate a lot of value for businesses.”

Google Maps is also getting some much needed Assistant integration. The new Maps updates will integrate your camera into the app, and add an overlay onto your camera with a little map and directions to make navigating unfamiliar, busy city streets much easier.

This is a part of Google’s Lens technology, which utilizes your camera to make Google searches more seamless. Lens will be able to take an image of a building or an animal and immediately identify the object, and then provide more information about it.

With the major investments in Assistant, Google’s already impressive technology will become even more immersive and all-encroaching. Many are excited for the ease of use with Assistant, but many questions have arisen about the security of such deep learning.