Google I/O has officially begun. Normally, I’d spend some time warning you up and introducing you to the products. Because, after all, that’s good writing. But this year’s Google I/O doesn’t need all of that. So let’s get right to it.
Android Director, Stephanie Cuthbertson, revealed some key new Android Q features, including the long-awaited Dark Theme. This is a system-wide dark mode that will save your battery, and maybe more importantly – your eyes. But that’s not the only new feature to expect with Android Q – get ready for Live Caption. It is a function within the device that can automatically turn audio to ext, whether you’re watching a video, or listening to a podcast.
Google Smart Reply is also going to get smarter on Android. Now, if you receive an address via a text message, Google will present a Maps button that will automatically look up directions for you, which is pretty cool if you ask me. But the improvements don’t end there. Android Q will also be getting a Focus Mode, which will disable selected apps and activities so that you can concentrate on work or just get some rest. I really wish that Apple would look into this feature as I need to be able to shut some apps off, but not all. It shouldn’t be that hard, right?
According to Google, their Assistant is about to get faster. In fact, they are saying that it will get 10 times faster than it currently is. Based on the demonstrations we saw this morning, that sounds about right. During the demonstration, a Google representative asked Assistant to open the calculator, weather, John Legend’s Twitter account, and even requested a Lyft to a hotel. What you might be surprised to hear is how incredibly fast Assistant responded to these commands. The best part was that the representative only had to say “Ok Google” once.
Later on in the demonstration, Google showed some more advanced features, such as the ability to compose entire emails based on natural voice requests. If you ask Assistant for directions to “Mom’s House”, the artificial intelligence will be smart enough to parse your address book and contacts in order to get you there. Google’s next-generation assistant will be available on the new Pixel phones later this year.
New Privacy Tools
What isn’t surprising is that all tech companies are now putting privacy, front and center. Google is no exception. In fact, they have revealed some key new privacy features for their products, including new autodelete controls that let you choose exactly when you want to delete your browsing data. Another interesting feature is that Google will now allow you one-tap access to your Google account, which includes services like Chrome, Search and Maps. But does that make your experience safer? It seems like it’s making your log-in experience easier, but not necessarily more private.
Regardless of that particular feature, Google is also rolling out a new two-authentication option for Android users. This will allow you to use your Android phone as a security key.