Google hosted the opening event of Google I/O, the company’s annual conference for developers, on Wednesday. During the event, Google announced several new features and technologies that will be available not only for Android users, but also for iOS and macOS users. This includes immersive maps, multiple searches, enhanced video calling, personalized ads and more.
Read on for a summary of what Google announced today at I/O.
Google Maps is arguably the most popular mapping service in the world, and it’s getting even better with more immersive maps. In some cities, users will have the option of an “immersive view”, which displays landmarks in 3D.
But the functionality goes beyond just viewing buildings, as Immersive View combines Street View data and aerial captures to show everything around in rich detail. For example, Immersive View simulates current weather and traffic, and you can even change the view to your liking. Android developers will also be able to integrate Immersive View from Google Maps into their apps for a rich AR experience.
Google’s main product is Google Search. Now Google Search is getting even more powerful with new tools like Multi-Search and Scene Exploration with Google Lens.
With multiple search, Google wants to make it even easier for users to find real products and stores. For example, if you need something you don’t know the name of, you can just take a picture and type “near me” right next to it in search. Google will find stores or even restaurants that have that item near you.
Scene exploration, on the other hand, is described by Google as “Ctrl + F for the real world”. Using the phone’s camera, users can point to products in a store to find multiple details about them at once. Then these products can be filtered by rating, flavors or whatever you want.
Improved video call
With video calling now more essential than ever, Google has announced improvements to Google Chat. Android developers can now implement content sharing directly from their apps, like Apple’s SharePlay. But this is only part of the novelties announced.
During video calls, users will have portrait lighting options. This way you can change the light during a call. In addition, the intensity and position of the artificial light can be freely changed in the video. Google Chat will also read the entire chat to automatically generate a conversation summary based on what users have written.
Google’s services are heavily ad-based. This year, the company will launch “My Ad Center”, a place where users can have more control over the ads they see on the web. There, users will have the option to opt out of personalized ads and reduce the number of ads based on user data, or even choose which categories of ads the user wants to see or not see.
Users will even be able to limit ads by brands or sensitive content, such as alcohol, gambling, weight loss or dating. According to Google, My Ad Center will be available later this year for all Internet users.
Android 13 users will find a new app on their phone called Google Wallet which is similar to Apple Wallet. Instead of a dedicated payments app, Google Wallet also stores tickets, documents such as a driver’s license, and even the user’s COVID certificate.
One particular and very interesting feature announced for Google Pay is support for virtual cards when shopping online. Google Pay will automatically suggest the user to use the virtual number instead of the physical card number for more secure transactions.
When it comes to tablets, Android is still far behind iPadOS. However, during Google I/O, the company showed a preview of redesigned system apps to take advantage of larger screens. Additionally, Google has worked with developers like TikTok and Facebook to improve their apps for Android tablets.
Matter is a new standard for smart home devices supported by Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon and other companies. Although the standard has been repeatedly delayed, Google told I/O that Android 13, which will arrive later this year, will provide support for Matter-enabled devices.
With Matter, the same smart home device can be connected to different platforms such as Apple HomeKit and Google Home.
Pixel 6a and Pixel 7
Along with software and service news, Google also announced the Pixel 6a, a new mid-range version of its smartphone. The Pixel 6a comes with a 60Hz OLED display, an in-display fingerprint scanner, and the same flagship Google Tensor processor as other Pixel phones.
With 6GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, the Pixel 6a is capable of taking 12-megapixel photos thanks to its wide and ultra-wide rear cameras. It supports Pixel-exclusive features like Magic Eraser, Real Tone, and Face Unblur to enhance photos. The phone, which will cost $449, will be available in July. Google says Pixel 6a will get three years of Android updates and five years of security patches.
Google also teased the Pixel 7 with a new camera design and faster processor as well as new Pixel Buds Pro headphones to compete with the AirPods Pro.
Google Pixel watch and Pixel tablet
After multiple leaks on the web, Google has just officially announced its new smartwatch called Google Pixel Watch. With a rounded design, it runs the custom version of Android WearOS with all of Google’s services integrated.
Few details about the Google Pixel Watch were revealed at the event, as Google says the product will launch later this year. Google also revealed that it’s working on its own Pixel tablet, coming in 2023. All of these products will have deep integration with Android phones.
Even if you are not an Android user, Google ads are really interesting because many of us use Google services on our iPhones, iPads and Macs. According to the company, many of the features announced today will roll out to users later this year.
If you want a more in-depth look at what Google announced today, be sure to check out the full coverage of Google I/O on 9to5Google.
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