On Wednesday, Google held the inaugural event for Google I/O, the company’s annual developer conference. During the event, Google announced several new features and technologies that will be available not only to Android users but also to iOS and macOS users. This includes immersive maps, multiple searches, enhanced video calls, personalized ads, and much more.
Read on for a roundup of what Google announced today at I/O.
Google Maps is definitely the most popular mapping service around the world, and now it’s getting better with more immersive maps. In the selected cities, users will have a choice “comprehensive offer” which displays landmarks in 3D.
But the feature goes beyond just showing buildings, the panoramic view combines Street View data with aerial image capture to show everything in rich detail. For example, the global view simulates the current weather and traffic, and you can even change the view as you like. Android developers will also be able to integrate the global view from Google Maps into their apps for a rich augmented reality experience.
Google’s main product is Google Search. Now, Google search is even more powerful with new tools like multiple search and scene exploration with Google Lens.
With multiple search, Google wants to make it easier for users to find real-world products and stores. For example, if you need something you don’t know the name of, you can simply take a picture and then type “near me” Right next to it in the search. Google will find stores or even restaurants with this item near you.
On the other hand, landscape exploration describes Google as “Ctrl + F for the real world”. Using the phone’s camera, users can point to products in the store to find multiple details about them at once. These products can then be filtered by rating, flavors, or whatever you like.
Improved video calls
As video calls are now more important than ever, Google has announced improvements to Google Chat. Android developers can now implement content sharing directly from their apps, similar to Apple’s SharePlay. But this is only part of the new features announced.
During video calls, users will have portrait lighting options. This way, you can change the light during a call. More than that, 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 summary of the conversation based on what users have typed.
Google services rely heavily on advertising. This year, the company will launch “My Ad Center” , a place where users can have more control over the ads they see across the web. There, users will have options to disable 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 restrict ads for brands or sensitive content, such as alcohol, gambling, weight loss, or dating. According to Google, My Ad Center will be available later this year to all web users.
Android 13 users will find a new app on their phones called Google Wallet, which is similar to Apple Wallet. Instead of a dedicated payments app, Google Wallet also stores tickets, documents like a driver’s license, and even a user’s COVID certificate.
One of the special and interesting features that have been announced for Google Pay is the support for virtual cards when shopping online. Google Pay will automatically suggest the user to use the virtual number instead of the actual card number for safer transactions.
When it comes to tablets, Android is still far behind iPadOS. However, during the Google I/O conference, the company showed off a preview of system apps redesigned to take advantage of the larger screens. In addition, Google is working with developers like TikTok and Facebook to improve their apps for Android tablets.
Matter is a new standard for smart home devices powered by Apple, Google, Samsung, Amazon, and other companies. Although the standard has been delayed several times, Google said at I/O that Android 13, which will be released later this year, will bring 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
In addition to news of software and services, Google also announced the Pixel 6a – a new mid-range version of its smartphone. The Pixel 6a comes with a 60Hz OLED display, a built-in fingerprint scanner, and the same flagship Google Tensor processor as other Pixel phones.
With 6GB of RAM and 128GB storage, the Pixel 6a is capable of capturing 12MP photos with 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 the Pixel 6a will get three years of Android updates and five years of security patches.
Google has also teased the Pixel 7 with a new camera design, faster processor as well as new Pixel Buds Pro earbuds to compete with the AirPods Pro.
Google Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet
After many leaks on the web, Google has officially announced its new smartwatch called Google Pixel Watch. With a rounded design, the customized version of Android WearOS runs with all Google services built in.
Not many details about the Google Pixel Watch were revealed at this event, as Google says the product will be released later this year. Google has also revealed that it is working on its own Pixel Tablet, which is coming in 2023. All of these products will include deep integration with Android phones.
Even if you’re not an Android user, Google ads are definitely interesting because many of us use Google services on our iPhone, iPad, and Mac. According to the company, many of the features announced today will be rolling out to users later this year.
If you want to take a more in-depth look at what Google announced today, be sure to check out our full Google I/O coverage at 9to5Google.
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