Google I/O 2018 Day 1 – Blog Recap


I hope you are ready – because Google I/O 2018 is about to begin.  I’ll be recapping all the major announcements from the keynote, and the whole of the three day event.  This post will be continuously updated throughout the day(s), so be sure to check back often.

Ready then?  Let’s get started!

Keynote Notes:

Google leads with whimsy, as always…

Over 7,000 attendees of Google I/O 2018 – and we start with cheeseburger and beer emoji updates.  Sundar now gets down to the business of being serious about what Google’s real mission is, and discussing the importance of the AI platform at Google.

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First area of focus for the AI – healthcare.  There is a lot of discussion about the improvements in the field of healthcare in a number of ways that AI has provided process and effective improvements.

Great story about how AI helped GBoard improve the quality of life for a woman with disabilities.  Integrating GBoard with Morse Code made a world of difference.

Now – down to business.   Coming to Gmail – Smart Compose will be available this month that will use predictive text and context to sending emails with less effort.

Google Photos is getting updates to allow context for image sharing, repair, and document awareness.  Should be coming in the next couple of months.  This looks really exciting.  Improving colors in photos, immediate 1-button share suggestions with recognized people in the photos, and converting photos of documents to PDF automatically.  They have introduced new imaging chipsets to help with the AI processing of these things, which for the first time required liquid cooling in the data centers that house these chips.

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One touch photo sharing

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Convert photos of documents to PDF with a single click

Google Assistant is now getting 6 new voices to interact with.  John Legend may even be one of those voices (available later on this year) – crazy.  Using their “Wavenet” technology, they cut down the time that was needed for John to be in the studio to record.  This also helped their ability to generate more realistic and human sounding voices from the other 6 Google Assistant AI voices.

Scott Huffman taking the stage now to talk about the Google Assistant and its reach worldwide.  New actions coming – Mutiple Actions, Continued Conversations, and Pretty Please (and even more to come) Multiple Actions:  will allow you to string 2 commands together using “and” and the Google Assistant should answer or execute both of them.  Continued Conversations: allowing more conversational discussions with Google Assistant by removing the requirement to keep saying “Okay/Hey Google” prior to each request (this is REALLY great) Pretty Please/Manners: making sure kids and others don’t get the wrong impression by having to just “command” Google to do everything.  Enforces a system level request for politeness with “please” and “thank you” as part of the normal conversation.  This is great, and also might help the robots keep us as pets when they take over eventually.

There will now be even more inegration with Smart Displays – using voice and visual input to include context.  Smart Displays (coming this summer) will add a layer of visuals to the audio commands and feedback you are already getting.  You can watch YouTube, YouTube TV, and even Google Maps using your voice and improved context.  Ask it what traffic is like on your way to work, and now you get a map on the display as well as the audio response.  This will come to mobile phones as well, using their displays for better effect.  You’ll even get your old Google Feed back (yay!) in a litle way, by swiping up from the bottom of the Google Assistant page to give more context to the information.

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These more integrated voice and visual input context features rolling out in the coming weeks, and later on this summer for the Smart Displays.

Google has also now become self aware, and will soon take over our world.  And it can also make haircut phone calls and restaurant reservations SOLELY ON ITS OWN.  Crazy.  I’ll have to embed the YouTube demo below here because you wouldn’t believe me unless I showed you what it felt like in real time.

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Google News is also going to be revamped, with some updated new features and a fresh new look.  This was leaked a bit ago, but still an interesting focus for the search giant.  One of the biggest deals was the AI curated news from “trusted sources” as well as getting more unbiased (or at least more well rounded) viewpoints.  The below tweet from Rene Ritchie might say it all…

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The new app will available starting today, and should be out to everyone by next week.

Next up is the Android piece….Dave Burke from the Android team, to celebrate the 10 years of Android.  He’s discussing 3 big topics for this upcoming release….

Intelligence:  This includes things like – Adapative Battery:  spending battery only on those apps and services that you care about, using on-device machine learning to discover your own unique habits.  Adaptive Brightness:  more machine learning to determine how you like your brightness.  App Actions:  predictive usage of those apps and also some actions, such as calling family or starting a workout (contextually based, more machine learning here) and Slices: – having bits of other apps (interactive too!) to pop up in the search (such as Lyft costs without launching the actual Lyft app)

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Simplicity:  there look like a lot of changes to the UI here, with some of the leaked gesture navigations, improving use of US sliders and toggles, as well as better notification management (and other things like beter screenshots, rotation confirmation, and work profiles all coming soon)  See the pic below for all the updates to come.

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Digital Wellness: this includes things like Dashboard:  to give you the ability to see what apps you are spending you time in and when.  App Timers:  allows you to set limits on how much time can be spent doing certain tasks (probably great for kids as well)  Wind Down:  grey scale display to allow you to get off your phone right before bed.  Shush: new gesture allows you to flip your phone over and mute all notifications of every kind.  Simple, easy, and effective.  Starred Contacts:  allows you to still let specific folks through with a phone call.

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All of the above is coming this fall, starting with the Google Pixel devices.  In addition, the Android P Beta (public) is now available for Pixel devices, as well as coming soon to other OEMs, like Essential, Oppo, and OnePlus.  This is a first of its kind, and really, really exciting.

There were more announcents regarding Google Maps, and a few other things, but these are the biggest ones.  Sean P and I will be having a podcast recap of the day 1 keynote very soon to go over it in more depth – so stay tuned!


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