The Google I/O 2019 event might officially be over though the tech world is still reverberating with all that the company announced during the event. Those include new features coming to Android with the platform itself benefitting from a new version that is forthcoming in the coming months, one that will predictably be named Android Q.
Below is a brief compilation of this along with plenty more that the company announced during the event.
Android Q: The next Android iteration is still in beta and is currently only available on a handful of devices. While things are still being fine-tuned with Android Q, what is known is that it is going to be a huge improvement over Android P, with an increased focus on privacy along with new features for enhanced functionality.
There is also going to be the new Dashboard setting that will let users have an idea of the amount of time they have been staring on the device or the amount of time spent with an app. Users will also be able to set limits to app usage as a possible cure for what has come to be known as phone addictions.
There will also be prompt notifications served whenever apps seek access to sensitive user info. As a further security boost, the Android platform modules that are directly related to security would henceforth get updated automatically in the background. Those won’t require updating the device as well, which means no disruption for the user at all.
There is going to be a new Focus Mode feature as well which can be considered to be a further evolution of the Do Not Disturb feature already available on Android devices. It might also not be wrong to infer that it got that inspiration from Focus Assist feature available in Windows 10 in which the Focus Mode too enables users to disable any specific app they’d like to be less distracted from.
Among the other cool features, forthcoming on Android Q include inherent support for 5G or foldable devices. There will also be a new Smart Reply feature that will make it to Android Q and will suggest users words, phrases or even full replies when responding to chats in messaging apps. Not to miss, there will also be a Dark Theme as well across the board, something that is very much in vogue at the moment.
Google Assistant Voice: Google is eager to make it’s Assistant more appealing to the users by introducing several new voice options. In fact, there is going to be half a dozen new voices to choose from, while there is also going to be a John Legend voice as well which will deduct later in the year.
Google Duplex: It’s sort of a smart personal assistant enriched with AI capabilities, enough to make phone calls on user’s behalf to say, book a cab or make cab reservations and so on. So life-like the voice is that it’s almost impossible to make out it’s actually an automated voice that is doing the talking. And it knows about the user’s personal preferences like dates thanks to its insight into Gmail.
Gmail with Smart Reply: The Smart Reply is already available in Gmail, suggesting users texts that it believes will be a nice fit to the reply users are typing. It is now being enhanced in scope so that the feature can suggest replies from scratch while also suggest more texts as well. It is coming earlier than most other features Google announced, with a Gmail debut planned in the next few weeks itself.
Google Maps with new AR and social features: The Google Map feature is set to be more interactive with new AR bits embedded in it, besides having new social features included as well. Pointing it along a particular direction will invoke Street View data, which combined with AR feature will provide turn indicators flashed right on the display. A red fox will also be there to show users the way, making using the map a lot more fun than ever before.
Then there will also be a new For You tab as well which will provide users with info such as places to eat or business destinations that might be trending at the moment. Users will also get to interact with their friends in real time while navigations right from the map itself.
Google photos with smart editing options: The Google Photos app is now smarter with new editing abilities that enable it to play with colors than ever before. For instance, it can more accurately separate the background from the subject. It can also make the background black-and-white or add colors to old black-and-white images. It can also make suggestions such as a particular image requiring more brightness and so on.
Google Lens with smart capture feature: With the new enhanced Google Lens that seems ready for debut, users can point their camera on written stuff and copy specific portions or all of it. The info can then be pasted on application text boxes as well, like say a product code that users might want to buy and so on.
In fact, the new Style Match feature is another aspect that is designed to help in the shopping. It might not yet be perfect but users can still point the camera to shoot dress material while Style Match will help them select similar items online.
Google News powered by AI: The Google News app is now enhanced with AI bit to allow for better and more accurate assimilation of news articles that it feels will suit users’ reading styles. Then there is also going to be other news as well which may not be an exact match with the user’s preferences but will be served nonetheless to allow the user to expand their scope of news items.
While the above makes for software levels announcements Google made during its I/O conference, it also came up with a few important hardware announcements. Those include the launch of the new mid-range Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL devices that comes across as a more affordable alternative to the flagship Pixel phones. At $399 and $479 respectively, the new Pixel 3a and 3a XL with all the software improvements and superb camera make for an enticing choice though the dated looks are a huge deterrent, it must be said.
Then there is a new crop of smart display enabled digital speaker systems in the making, which should prove to be a tough match for the Echo Show smart speaker from Amazon.
Google also announced the new Nest brand that would include all smart gadgets that the company has been making or proposes to do in future. In fact, the company already had the Nest Home Max system to show off, which includes a 10-inch display and other supporting tech bits to make things easier for the user at home.
For instance, the built-in camera can serve as a security cam. It also includes face recognition feature besides supporting hand gestures as well so that users won’t always have to speak to it. Instead, simple hand gestures can serve the purpose equally well.
Overall, there sure is a lot of things that Google has up its sleeve for the coming year ahead. Those include new software features as well as a few new hardware as well all designed to make our lives simple and easy.