At the annual Google I/O developer conference, a wide array of cutting-edge technologies and updates were showcased, all aimed at enhancing user experiences across various platforms. Google emphasised its commitment to improving search experiences and ensuring user safety, by introducing new generative AI capabilities for search and implementing advanced tools for online protection.
Significant updates were also announced for Android, Pixel devices, and Google Photos. A standout moment of the conference was the unveiling of PaLM 2, Google’s latest generative language model. This breakthrough model surpasses previous language models in areas such as maths, coding, reasoning, multilingual translation, and natural language generation.
In addition to these advancements, Google reiterated its commitment to responsible AI, striving to address pressing societal challenges like climate change and flood forecasting while maintaining ethical AI practices.
Here are the 15 significant announcements made at Google IO that we thought would be of interest to you:
- PaLM 2, next generation language model: Google has unveiled PaLM 2, a next-generation language model designed to improve language translation, reasoning, and coding capabilities. The model is more heavily trained on multilingual text, demonstrating advanced proficiency in logic, common sense reasoning, and mathematics. Additionally, PaLM 2 was pre-trained on publicly available source code datasets, making it more efficient and faster than previous models. PaLM 2 will be available in four sizes, from smallest to largest: Gecko, Otter, Bison, and Unicorn, making it versatile for a range of use cases. The model is set to power 25 new Google products and features, including Bard and Med-PaLM 2, a medical competency model that can answer questions and summarise insights from dense medical texts. Learn more about PaLM 2 here.
- Expansion of Bard: The waitlist has now been removed, making Bard available in English in over 180 countries and territories, with the addition of Japanese and Korean languages, and planning to support the world’s top 40 languages. As the platform expands, Google will focus on maintaining high standards for quality, local nuances and adherence to AI principles. More here.
- Image Capabilities: Google is making it easier to prompt Bard with images, using Google Lens. This integration of images with text in Bard aims to enrich the user experience by providing visually informative responses to queries. Users can also include images in their prompts, offering new possibilities for creativity and imagination. More here
- Developer Features for Bard: Google is introducing three new ways to use Bard based on developer feedback: Making code citations even more precise by showing you the source of specific blocks of code. This also applies to citing narrative content from across the web; by adding export to Replit and by making Bard friendlier on the eyes in low-light conditions by introducing Dark theme. More here
- Export to Docs and Gmail: Google is making it easier and more seamless for users to continue their work by exporting Bard’s responses to Google Docs or Gmail. Formatting stays intact so users can continue editing directly in Docs or Gmail without needing to copy, paste, and reformat Bard’s responses.
- Integration into Apps: Bard will be integrating with various Google apps and services like Docs, Drive, Gmail, Maps, and more, while maintaining user control over privacy settings. The platform will also connect with external services and partners, such as Adobe Firefly for image creation, Kayak for travel, Instacart for groceries, Wolfram for computational knowledge, and Khan Academy for education, offering a wide range of possibilities for users. More here
- Integrating generative AI across all the Workspace apps: The new features help one write, organise, visualise, accelerate workflows, have richer meetings, and much more. This powerful new way of working is what Google calls Duet AI for Workspace. Google is bringing the generative AI experience to Gmail on mobile and embedding generative AI into Slides so one can easily create unique visuals with a few words. The generative AI will help one analyse and act on data in Sheets, with automated data classification and the creation of custom tables. More here
- Simplifying Shopping with Generative AI: Google is using generative AI to make shopping faster and much easier, providing users with a snapshot of noteworthy factors to consider when searching for a product. Built on Google’s Shopping Graph, this new generative AI shopping experience will offer a seamless and informed decision-making process for users. More here
- Search Labs: Google’s advanced generative AI capabilities are now accessible through Search Labs, an innovative platform that allows users to explore and engage with early-stage experiments in Search. By registering for Search Labs, users have the opportunity to experience the Search Generative Experience (SGE) on Chrome desktop and the Google App in the US (available in English at launch). More here
- Magic Compose: Magic Compose, a new Messages by Google feature powered by generative AI, can help you add an extra spark of personality to your conversations. The feature offers suggested responses based on the context of your messages and can even transform your writing into different styles. Release set for July. More here
- New AI features in Android: Google’s upcoming Android 14 update (expected later this year) promises to change the way users personalise their smartphone experience, taking customization to the next level. Material You customization enables users to personalise their lock screen with new shortcuts, clocks, and a monochrome colour theme. The update also offers diverse wallpaper options, including emoji, cinematic, and generative AI wallpapers that allow users to generate unique designs based on their preferences. To enhance social media, Google is bringing Night Mode and 10-bit HDR video support to popular social apps like Instagram. The Android 14 update introduces Ultra HDR, promising stunning photo quality and raising the bar for smartphone photography. More here
- Reimagine Your Photos with Magic Editor in Google Photos: The new experimental editing feature, Magic Editor, powered by generative AI, will enable users to make complex photo edits effortlessly without requiring professional editing skills. Users can selectively edit specific parts of an image, such as the subject, sky, or background, for more control over the final appearance of their photos. More here
- Features and Updates to Enhance Online Safety and Trust: Google’s new suite of features and updates aims to improve online safety and provide users with reliable access to trustworthy content and information. The “About This Image” tool helps users evaluate the reliability of visual content found online by providing important contextual information, such as when an image was first indexed by Google, its original appearance, and other online occurrences. Google is also expanding its Content Safety API to include potential child sexual abuse material in video content, addressing a critical safety concern as video files account for nearly 50% of all files reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). More here
- Spam view in Drive: Google’s ongoing efforts to protect Gmail users from unwanted messages, which currently block over 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware, are now being extended to Google Drive with “Spam View”, a new feature that simplifies the process of separating and reviewing files, allowing users to identify potential spam and stay safe from unwanted or abusive content. Google Drive will automatically classify content into the Spam View, similar to Gmail’s current system, ensuring that users are protected from encountering dangerous or unwanted files. More here
- New additions to the Pixel family: Google’s Pixel product line continues to expand with the introduction of three new devices: the Pixel 7a, Pixel Fold, and Pixel Tablet. The Pixel 7a is Google’s latest A-series phone, featuring Face Unlock, 8GB RAM, a 90 Hz display, and wireless charging for the first time, making it an affordable package with the best of Google’s hardware and software. The Pixel Fold is Google’s first foldable phone, boasting a 7.6-inch screen when opened, offering a large, immersive display, and the best camera on a foldable phone, ensuring high-quality photography. Additionally, the 11-inch Pixel Tablet is designed for entertainment and gaming, comes with a Charging Speaker Dock, and functions as a helpful smart home device. More here