Not as groundbreak as io18, but there were still some pleasant announcements in the main keynote. Here are some of my favorites:
Next-Gen Google Assistant
Obv Google Assistant (GA) is already pretty good. But there are an insane amount of deficiencies, limitations, and imperfections. What’s new is that GA can run on-device, locally, without needing to communicate back to online services and all that round-trip audio upload, download latency etc. Super great for most mobile situations in low connection areas, spotty connections, no connection. I’m big on reducing latency. Lots of speed-issues and user impressions is about latency, in everything. And bandwidth in most places are more than sufficient, it’s the latency that’s lacking. Even more so for mobile.
By seriously reducing lag time, running on-device, GA will be increasingly more responsive, fun to use, and actually useful instead of getting in the way.
Not to mention tons of new app connectivity and functions in the next-gen. If Google calls 100GB models -> 0.5GB models a breakthrough, it must be a really complicated and advanced fiddling.
Only catch here is that this will only run on upcoming Pixel 4. Which means buying a new phone, barriers to entry, and also low numbers at the start. Wonder also if other than the 0.5GB storage, any other specialized hardware required?
Duplex on the Web
Less tricky than Duplex phone calls, web form filling is just the thing we need for older folks navigating the internet, trying to buy things or ordering online etc. So many many use cases. Everybody hates online forms. This will be fun.
There are other GA-related features, but not so fascinating.
Pixels have gotten too expensive, and it’s super important to have a mid/lower entry phone for people who are not so stupidly picky but who we love and want them to have the best security, privacy and access to Google functions.
Smart Reply, Night Mode, Family Link, and that full system Live Captions is great.
Say you’re at a restaurant, figuring out what to order. Lens can automatically highlight which dishes are popular–right on the physical menu. When you tap on a dish, you can see what it actually looks like and what people are saying about it, thanks to photos and reviews from Google Maps.
To pull this off, Lens first has to identify all the dishes on the menu, looking for things like the font, style, size and color to differentiate dishes from descriptions. Next, it matches the dish names with the relevant photos and reviews for that restaurant in Google Maps.
This is my dream world — images for menu, integrated into Google Maps reviews. lol.
Some fancy new camera and actions on Nest Home Hub. Bit ex at $229 USD +++.
Maps AR walking navigation
Nothing new as it’s been in beta testing with Local Guides for quite awhile, but it’s now further open to all Pixel phones. I like the exclusivity to Pixels.