The search engine giant, Google, unveiled something amazing at its 10th annual I/O developer conference. Google revealed its answer to Amazon’s Alexa virtual assistant coupled with new messaging and virtual reality products.
Google’s CEO unveiled Google assistant, a virtual personal assistant along with an Amazon Echo-like smart speaker known as Google Home. There was also a new research project called instant apps. This innovation will give users the opportunity to run portions of apps while on the web without even installing them first.
Google’s Chief Executive Officer, Sunday Pichai, and his team emphasized over and over again that Google is doubling down on artificial intelligence as the next biggest phase of computing.
Google Artificial Intelligence is the next big thing in computing
Although mobile devices are still very vital to Google, I believe this year’s conference signaled a turning point from Google, which views search and mobile as its North Star, to a whole new Google that aims to thrive with artificial intelligence over the next decade. This year’s I/O was less focused on Android and more centered at what Pichai referred to as the “pivotal movement” he believes personal computing has reached. It’s the age where machine learning, natural language processing, speech recognition coupled with the enormous collection of both personal and aggregate data that Google has acquired for many years can make computing more human.
Sunday Pichai fired up his remarks with intrepid claims about Google and Artificial Intelligence. During the presentation, he said, “We believe the real test is whether humans can achieve a lot more with machine learning assisting them,” and “It’s not just enough to get them links, we really need to help them get things done,” and “We want users to have an ongoing, two-way dialogue with Google.”
So what was unveiled?
At the presentation, Pichai unveiled Google Allo, a new messaging service that will compete with Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger products and also feature a chatbot controlled by Google Assistant. Just like WhatsApp, Google Allo will also come with end-to-end encryption when it is released to the general public.
Another great innovation known as Amazon Echo makes use of a virtual assistant called Alexa. Alexa is a cloud-based system that controls the Echo speaker and responds to voice commands by users. Just like Alexa, Google Assistant CA and surf the web and adjust your schedule. However, Pichai mentioned that Google Assistant could utilize images as well as other information to deliver more natural results.
Pointing toward the photo of Chicago’s Cloud Gate Sculpture, Pichai said, “You can be in front of this structure in Chicago and ask Google who designed this and it will understand in this context that the name of that designer is Anish Kapoor.”
As for the Google Home, the Google Assistant fuses with Chromecast and smart home devices to control thermostats, televisions, and other household devices or products.
Google made another huge announcement during the event held at an outdoor amphitheater close to Google’s headquarters. The announcement was about a virtual reality platform called Daydream, which is designed to work with Android mobile operating system.
According to Clay Bavor, Google’s vice president on virtual reality, Daydream focuses on latency as well as other issues affecting playback on smartphone devices.
Bavor also unveiled a virtual reality headset powered by a smooth, two-button controller that features orientation sensors that help ascertain the positioning in virtual environments. Facebook is also making waves in virtual reality with its Oculus headset, and Apple has also shown some interest in virtual reality technology as well.
During the event, Bavor also said the division has “rebuilt YouTube from its roots” to feature enhanced audio to support virtual reality screening.
Final thoughts on the Google Assistant technology
It’s not entirely sure that Google Assistant will seamlessly do all the difficult things the company displayed in promotional videos at I/O. It’s also uncertain that if Artificial Intelligence turns out to become human-like and integral to life as claimed by Pichai, it will be good for the society or that artificial intelligence will be permitted to proceed unsupervised by the government. All in all, this innovation (Home, Google Allo, and others) are impressive, and we look forward to working as well as witnessing the coolness of AI both now and in the future.