The Google Keynote kicked off the three day Google I/O conference by both celebrating the past year’s accomplishments and what to look forward to in the next.
The key theme for this year was called out by Google CEO, Sundar Pichai, as a shift from Mobile-first to AI-first. The rest of the talks worked to support this starting with the announcement of Smart Reply on Gmail and Google Lens. To kick things off with a punch, Pichai announced that currently Android has over 2 billion monthly active devices - almost double the fruit.
“As of this week we’ve crossed over 2 billion active devices on Android.” - Sundar Pichai
The rest of the talks worked to support this vision of AI-first, starting with the announcement of Google Lens technology.
Google Lens Comprehends the World Around You
Google Lens technology allows your camera to recognize what it sees and suggest possible actions. Google Lens was highlighted throughout the keynote specifically for the functionality it can provide in conjunction with Google Assistant, Google Home, and Google Photos.
While the excitement around the unveiling of Google Lens, along with other new concepts like Google Assistant’s arrival to iPhone, warmed the audience of 7,000, updates on existing Google projects were perhaps just as compelling. A new integration of Actions on Google opens the door to multimodal transactions via Google Assistant. Valerie Nygaard demonstrated the process of ordering Panera in natural language, comparable to talking to a person in the store, with a quick and efficient order flow lacking any keyboard entries, instead relying on platform calls to provide a delivery address and credit card.
Finally, the crowd offered ample support for innovations in Google Home. Don’t consider yourself a ‘phone person’? The new hands-free feature recognizes the voice of the requester (ex. you versus your spouse) and dials Mom straight from the Google Home, for free. In addition, a compelling visual experience via mobile and ChromeCast-supported TVs now provides visuals where audio has typically fallen short. This is an interesting, and likely more practical, solution compared to the new Alexa Show, which we recently reviewed, with its limited display compared to your living room tv. Apart from the cool new functionality, everyone in attendance at I/O was given a voucher to collect a free Google Home- top notch swag if we’ve ever heard it!