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AI at Google I/O 2018

Mukul Nair, Photo Manager

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With the market for mobile phones and software operating systems becoming more and more competitive, companies throughout the industry are unveiling new, groundbreaking technology to keep up and start new trends. Every year, Google holds their own conference, Google I/O, specifically for introducing new bells and whistles for their operating system, Android. This year, all eyes were on AI and Google Assistant instead of electronics and gadgets. The event showcased the growing power of artificial intelligence and the increasing number of uses for this evolving technology.

Google Assistant was released in May 2016 as an aid for smartphones and tablets. The software helps users with daily tasks such as reminders, map directions, data management, phone calls and more. Since its launch, Google has been constantly updating and improving the Assistant so it is better optimized for use and functionality. This year, Google unveiled a new feature for Assistant called Google Duplex. This uses artificial intelligence to make phone calls for the user to schedule appointments and reservations. Google demonstrated the software in action by having the Assistant call a hair salon for a haircut appointment. The Assistant was able to adapt and participate in the conversation even when there was an issue with the scheduling. Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, has not set any release date, but the system is in the works.

Along with Assistant, Maps is receiving an upgrade as well. The app will now use the phone camera to help with directions for walking. The app will make use of augmented reality and project directions directly onto the road and buildings for easier navigation. The camera can also be used to scan certain buildings and landmarks so users can learn more about them. The augmented reality application will also be applied to shopping so users can scan products they wish to purchase and then they will be linked to a shopping site for that product.

Bigger changes are also coming to more commonly used applications, including Gmail. The messaging app will predict what users want to say using artificial intelligence and data analytics. The app will then fill in with the predicted message and help the user compose messages quicker and more conveniently. This kind of software will be helpful for people in a hurry and in need of sending quick messages. Similar software has been seen in texting apps in both iOS and Android, and now Google is introducing the same technology to email. Currently, over one billion people use Gmail so this new change will affect many people around the world.

Google’s innovative abilities have influenced much of the technology around the world. Outside of being the world’s most popular search engine, Google has attempted to become a bigger part of users’ lives. With Amazon’s Alexa and Apple’s Siri, the competition for smart assistants has encouraged Google to invest more time and money into Google Assistant. The capabilities of artificial intelligence can change the future and now Google has taken big step towards doing so.

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AI at Google I/O 2018