Google IO 2018

1. Google Duplex has Assistant handle your calls

Google Assistant is becoming smarter – and creepier – with a natural-sounding voice that can make phone call appointments and reservations for you. It’s gotten to the point that it can handle a back-and-forth Q&A when it calls a business. You know, the phone calls you hate making when online reservations aren’t possible.
It’s called Google Duplex, and the company demonstrated this with two recordings of phone calls at Google IO, which it said were real calls to businesses. It was difficult to tell, though – both the Assistant (the caller) and the business employee (a human) sounded real. Only one was a real person, much to the shock of the audience.
he first call was to book a haircut. Assistant was tasked with making an appointment for a haircut within a two-hour window on a specific date. When the business asked about what type of haircut service was needed before times could be given, the Assistant responded, “a woman’s haircut”. Right on point. When presented with an alternate time, it was able to confirm the appointment.

2. Waymo’s self-driving Jaguar I-Pace looks like a real car

Alphabet’s Waymo self-driving Jaguar I-Pace car doesn’t look like other autonomous cars, and that’s really important for the future of driverless cars. This is the type of car the mass market will want to buy.

We got to see it in person after the Google IO keynote. It’s one of more than 20,000 self-driving Jaguar that Waymo plans to put on roads over the next few years. Okay, it wasn’t powered on and we couldn’t even open the doors, but we did get to peer inside of this $69,500 / £63,495 luxury compact SUV. It’s striking and a top Google IO highlight for us.

3. Gmail gets better with Smart Compose

Gmail has undergone more change in 2018 than it has in its 14 years of existence, and it’s about to become even better with a new AI feature.
Smart Compose is going to help you create and finish sentences in emails thanks to machine learning. It reminds us of predictive word suggesting when typing on a phone, but for whole chunks of sentences. And because Google has so much of your data, it’s bound to be a lot smarter than autocorrect.

4. Google Maps just solved your biggest problem

Google Maps is the best app ever created, hands-down. It plots our fastest route to work when we’re leaving home in the morning, and it helps us navigate previously unknown places when we’re visiting a foreign country or taking an unknown road. It’s pretty amazing when you think about how well it works. But it’s not infallible.
That’s why Google is out to solve the biggest Google Maps annoyance – not knowing where that darn blue dot is headed. The compass only does so much (and it’s often off by a bit). The company’s fix? Integrating Google Lens into Google Maps.

Simply point your phone at the street and a StreetView AR overlay will pop up, pointing you in the right direction while also keeping the Google Maps layout at the bottom of the screen. This seems like a well-design fixed for Google Maps.
Here’s the bad news: Google didn’t say when this feature will come to Google Maps, even though it looked near-complete in the Google IO demo. There was no release date attached to this promising technology.

5. Android P public beta is rolling out now

Can you believe we’re up to the No. 5 Google IO highlight and we haven’t even talked about Android P yet? That’s because Maps, Assistant and Gmail were legit exciting.
Google is making the Android P beta more accessible, launching its public beta for Google Pixel phones as well as phones from seven other manufacturers, including OnePlus and Nokia. The new beta is available now on the following handsets:
If you have a Google device, it’ll need to be the Google Pixel, Google Pixel XL, Google Pixel 2 or Google Pixel 2 XL. It seems the company has dropped the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P for this release.
Other devices from third-party manufacturers that will be ready for the update are the Essential Phone, Nokia 7 Plus, Sony Xperia XZ2, Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S, Vivo X21 and the Oppo R15 Pro. The OnePlus 6 will also be able to run the beta when it’s released.
• Google Pixel
• Google Pixel XL
• Google Pixel 2
• Google Pixel 2 XL
• Essential Phone
• Nokia 7 Plus
• Xperia XZ2
• Xiaomi Mi Mix 2S
• Vivo X21
• Oppo R15 Pro
• OnePlus 6 (when it launches)
This is quite a switch, as past Android betas, especially this early, have routinely been limited to Google-branded phones. This should make testing and seeding the final version of Android P even better. That’s expected to happen in August. Sadly, Google has officially phased out Nexus phones, at least from the Android P beta.


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