By Upasana Bhattacharjee
The much-awaited Google I/O Conference began on May 17th, 2017. Day 1 saw some interesting announcements with respect to what Google has achieved over the years and what it plans to do in the coming year. With much of the limelight on Artificial Intelligence (AI), Google is set to introduce new features and upgrades to Android, Assistant, Home and YouTube, among others.
Expanding its reach
In the recent past, Google has tried to project itself as a company of AI and virtual reality. In line with that vision, CEO Sundar Pichai addressed Google’s underlying idea of bringing AI to a larger number of people through the platform of smartphones.
Having reached two billion users, Google plans to launch Android Go, the successor to Android One. This version of Android, targeting people in developing countries, will be compatible with devices operating with less than 1 GB of RAM. The conference also witnessed the unveiling of Android O Beta for Pixel devices. This will get support for the Kotlin programming language. Apps will run significantly faster on the new android. It will have Smart Text Selection which will allow users to double tap on text in order to copy it instead of dragging the cursor.
Updating current work
Google plans to improve Assistant through Google Lens. It will use the smartphone camera to examine the object before it and provide relevant information accordingly. It works similar to a Google Search, except with pictures and videos instead of words. Google is also launching its own job search portal that will use data from existing portals like LinkedIn and Facebook.
Google Home will also see interesting updates. It will be introduced in new countries this year including France and Germany. Greater control over Hulu and SoundCloud will now be possible along with access to Bluetooth Radio. In addition to this, all owners of Google Home will be able to place free calls to the US and Canada.
Expansion based on demand
Discussing their plans for YouTube, given the enormous growth of YouTube on Television, Google will be adding the additional features supporting 360 videos and live streaming on the app on TV. The Super Chat feature that provides a medium to connect users with content creators on YouTube has also proved to be very fascinating.
Google’s virtual reality platform Daydream will see expansion. The new version along with partners like HTC and Lenovo will not require a smartphone to provide the experience. “Worldsense”, a Tango augmented system that will be able to track the virtual space around someone, will also be launched soon.
Our dependence on Google
Having evolved into a conference that sees announcements and discussions about the projects that are being planned and are to be launched soon, this I/O conference dealt with some fascinating new technologies—ones that are set to alter the relationship between humans and machines, challenging our notions of artificial intelligence. Armoured with new upgrades and features, Google is carving for itself an immensely strong presence in everyone’s life.
Targeted at improving its reach, adding accessibility, and making human lives easier, the conference saw the unveiling of technologies that will only lead to an increase in people’s dependence on Google’s platforms. Nothing has forced us to examine and redefine our understanding of technology, AI, and ethics in as compelling a fashion as Google has. It is worthwhile, at this juncture, to be aware of the new technology that will be welcomed by people, the access that will be granted to it by us, and an evaluation of the ethical dimension it leaves humans in. Both with respect to privacy jurisprudence, and questioning the basis of what can be considered human.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay
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