One of the key events hosted by Google every year is its annual developer conference labeled “Google I/O”. This is where the company showcases its latest technological solutions and newest products. The conference typically features keynote speeches, technical sessions, and product announcements, attracting the attention of a wide public.
This year’s conference took place on 10th May 2023 in Mountain View, California bringing together developers, consumers, and the company’s management team as usual. With this article, we will try to keep you briefed on the most important innovations by Google and the main changes to be expected for the next months.
Announcements on AI and many more
In his keynote speech Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google, outlined the main topics to be covered by this year’s event, starting his opening remarks by stating: “Seven years into our journey as an AI-first company, we are at an exciting inflection point. We have an opportunity to make AI even more helpful for people, for businesses, for communities, for everyone. We have been applying AI to make our products radically more helpful for a while. With generative AI, we are taking the next step.”
During the conference, Google announced several new gadgets as well as software solutions. Here are the main highlights:
- The new PaLM2 large language model (LLM) for AI,
- Generative AI for Search,
- New AI writing tools for Gmail,
- Google’s AI will be introduced to Docs, Sheets, and Slides,
- Enhanced AI features for Google Photos,
- Added new features to Bard chatbot and no waitlist any longer,
- Immersive view for Google Maps,
- Pixel 7a budget Android phone,
- Pixel Tablet launched for an affordable USD 499,
- New folding phone Pixel Fold priced at USD 1799.
However, the news related to artificial intelligence and the various forms of its application on Google products dominated the conference, taking the central stage throughout the whole event.
So what exactly should be expected?
As noted by the opening words of the company’s CEO, Google has been continuously enhancing its products, different apps, and services with the help of machine learning tools for years already. The presenters following Pichai kept emphasizing the company’s “Responsible AI” nature, referring to the cautious rollout of AI technologies.
Notwithstanding the cautiousness, the pace of AI’s penetration is truly impressive as it’s being widely introduced and constantly improved. It’s literally everywhere – from search to photos, from maps to ads, from docs to slides, and more, all Google services are getting supercharged using AI. So what exactly is PaLM 2 and how will it be applied in real life?
PaLM 2 is Google’s next-generation LLM which builds on the company’s legacy of research in machine learning and responsible AI. It is a new state-of-the-art language model that has better multilingual and reasoning capabilities. PaLM 2 will power Google’s updated Bard chatbot, the company’s response to OpenAI’s ChatGPT, functioning as the foundation model for most of the new AI features announced at yesterday’s event. It will also have features of improved support for writing and debugging codes.
Especially in the case of Google, fully integrating the generative AI toolkit may result in much bigger implications, provided the company’s dominance in the “Search” universe. More specifically, search results will generate an AI-powered snapshot of key information to consider, offering more specific links for a deeper dive into the topic. Another dimension of the new generative experience will be that search ads will appear in specific slots dedicated to ads on a given webpage.
At the same time, Google is also moving fast in its AI content-recognition efforts, announcing new features called watermarking and metadata for images, which no other company engaged in AI development is using so far. These tools will simplify the detection of AI-generated texts, videos, and images. This can help in solving potential issues like plagiarism or the use of generated content if it is presented as an original piece of work.
As showcased at Google I/O, AI technology will gradually infiltrate all of its products and services in some form. In other words, it will eventually reside in Search, Google Maps, Photos, Workplace Gmail, and many other applications. Many of the company’s announcements related to AI are currently in beta testing and only months away to be applied.
Eventually, there will certainly be many more applications of AI technology moving forward and Google looks to be well-positioned to ride at the forefront of global AI transformation. Yet, what has been presented by Google at its annual developer conference exceeded many expectations. Still, it remains to be seen how quickly the introduced improvements and innovative features will hit the marketplace.
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