Artificial intelligence is the buzzword of the spring season, and as tech giants race to compete in a new technological frontier, Google isn’t holding back when it comes to bolstering its systems with AI updates.
During the company’s annual Google I/O developer conference, a series of new updates and products were announced, nearly all of which incorporated some element of machine learning technology — from an “AI-first notebook” to a “Sidekick” in Google Docs. Here’s a rundown of the conference’s biggest announcements:
In Google Photos, the new Magic Editor feature has the ability to recreate portions of an image that may have been cut out of the frame. During CEO Sundar Pinchai’s demonstration, he used an example of a child holding a bundle of balloons, however, some are cut out.
“This is a great photo,” he says, “but as a parent, you want your kid at the center of it all.”
Pinchai demonstrates how users can now shift the position of people or objects in a frame to fill in parts of a scene that were not captured in the original shot.
More to come with Bard
Google is expanding the abilities of its prompt-driven chatbot, Bard, most notably making the experience more “visual.” Bard will now be able to generate images from text as well as generate text from images uploaded by a user.
Additionally, Google announced that it will be removing the waitlist, as well as making Bard available in 180 countries and territories.
Google announced the integration of generative AI in both search and Workspace systems.
For Sheets and Docs, users can select a portion of text for image generation in a sidebar. Additionally, there will be a side panel in Docs, called “Sidekick,” which will have the ability to instantly read and process the document and then offer suggestions.
One of the biggest changes Google is taking in regard to AI integration is its upcoming presence in its search engine. Google is introducing an “integrative search results page” that will give users an overview of a topic searched, as well as take on a more conversational tone by incorporating options to ask a follow-up question or view some of the search engine’s suggested next steps. If you’re in the U.S. you can join the waitlist for the new feature with Google Labs.
Google announced its “AI-first notebook” for Google Drive, touted as Project Tailwind. Users will have the ability to select files from Drive, and the system will generate personalized and private AI expertise on the information given, as well as pull out key concepts and questions.
The company’s new smartphone, the aptly named Pixel Fold, is a foldable cell that can double as a compact tablet. The phone’s ability to unfold into a tablet also allows for a split-screen feature. Its release date is June 27.
Related: Google Just Unveiled Its New Phone — and It Might Take You Back to the ’90s
Designed specifically for use in the home, Pixel Tablet offers features beyond the standard for smart tablets. The device will have the ability to sync compatible devices to turn off lights, control locks, and adjust the thermostat. It’s available for preorder.
While Google has embraced AI at a rapid rate, the company also stated it is committed to approaching the technology responsibly.
“While I feel it’s important to celebrate the incredible progress in AI and the immense potential it has for people in society everywhere, we must also acknowledge that it’s an emerging technology,” said James Manyika, Google’s senior vice president of technology and society, at the conference. “That’s why we believe it’s imperative to take a responsible approach to AI.”
The company also announced two new safety features for AI in the context of evaluating images. It will be rolling out an “About This Image” feature where users can find important information about images as well as see when similar and relevant images were first uploaded. Additionally, Google announced that all of its AI-generated images will have metadata and markup, ensuring that users will have context if they encounter one of its AI photos outside of Google platforms.
Related: Google CEO Sundar Pichai Says There Is a Need For Governmental Regulation of AI: ‘There Has To Be Consequences’
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