Google I/O is the search and advertising giant’s annual shindig for developers. This year, you could tick a few items off your buzzword bingo cards as they made a number of big announcements about mobile, security, AI – even Gmail received some love. Here are a few of the key announcements.
#1 Google goes hard on AR and VR
Augmented and virtual reality have been at the forefront of a number of critical areas in technology over the last couple of years. I think we’ve finally started to see massive movement in this area because we now have access to enough compute power, both in the cloud and locally.
During I/O, Google discussed the Cloud TPU – a custom-built computer for machine learning. 64 of these devices can be networked into a TPU pod delivering an 11.5 petaflop ML supercomputer. The TPU (Tensor Processing Unit) was revealed a few weeks ago and delivers plenty of processing grunt per watt, exceeding many GPUs and CPUs.
Access to that tech is via beta process devs can sign up for.
#2 Rogue Android apps under attack
Play Protect is what Google says will further their security commitment to Android. In their words “Android has been built with security in mind” – something a few folks I know in the security business might not agree with.
Nevertheless, Google Play Protect is part of every device that can use the Google Play Store. Even though apps from the Play Store have been vetted and curated, Google says Play Protect will identify dodgy apps from other sources. So side-loaded apps are flagged if they are deemed unsafe.
Play Protect will integrate the Find My Device feature as well as a number of other security functions.
#3 Google Assistant wants to rule all your devices
Google Assistant has received a boost with the ability to schedule appointments in your calendar through voice recognition, broader support in a number of home appliances and third-party app support from the likes of Spotify and Netflix.
Developers can also build conversational apps that can get answers from third party services as well as Google.
And Google Lens will use your smartphone’s camera to identify information and provide you with further information. For example, if you see a poster for an upcoming concert, Google Lens will identify the text and try to direct you straight to the ticketing agency.
The applications for this are quite wide. For example, I can imagine it being used for helping someone administer first aid.
#4 All your base belong to Google
Well, perhaps not all your base but Google is reporting some very impressive numbers when it comes to the expansion of their platforms. With operating systems covering everything from watches, to notebook computers, the company now boasts two billion monthly active users.
I’m not sure there’s been a tech company anywhere with a broader reach. If it has a screen it has or can have a Google service running.
If you want to watch any of the event sessions you can visit the Google I/O website.