Google announces new smartphones, a watch and tablet at its I/O developer conference

At its first in-person developer conference in three years, Google announced three new smartphones and its first in-house smartwatch, as well as plans to release a new tablet next year. Google has also announced updates to several of its most popular tools, including Maps, Google Translate, and its core search product.

Google surprised fans of its smartphone lineup on Wednesday by teasing two new flagship devices: the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro. While the company didn’t share many details, the two smartphones are expected to be released this fall.

Google teased its Pixel 7 smartphones at the I/O developer conference.

Google also announced the Pixel 6a smartphone, a more affordable version of the Pixel 6 lineup that was released earlier this year. The Pixel 6a is powered by Google’s internal Tensor chip and is available in three colors: green, white and black.

It costs $449 and will be available on July 21.

Pixel watch

There is no shortage of Android smartwatches on the market, but now Google plans to produce its own new smartwatch for the first time.

The company teased the much-hyped Pixel Watch, which will run Google’s WearOS operating system and be compatible with services like the voice-activated Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Wallet.

An integration with Fitbit, which Google acquired in 2019, will add various activity tracking and fitness features.

Google unveiled its new Pixel Watch on Wednesday.

The Pixel Watch will be available in the fall along with the Pixel 7 lineup. Google also teased a new Pixel tablet, which the company says will be released in 2023.

Pixel Buds Pro

Google has also announced a new version of its bluetooth earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro.

Available in four colors – orange, green, white and black – the new earbuds offer features such as active noise cancellation and spatial audio. The Pixel Buds Pro will cost $199 and will be released on July 21.

Immersive Cards

In addition to the hardware, there were also a number of new software updates. Google Maps users will soon be able to get a realistic view of certain cities through a 3D rendering of popular landmarks, restaurants and businesses to better visualize the space. While Maps already offers satellite and street view options, Google says the new immersive view feature combines the two to “create a rich, digital model” that makes users feel like they’re on the ground.

A sliding scale shows users what the area looks like at different times of the day, how busy it is, and local traffic conditions.

Immersive view will be available later this year in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo, on all mobile devices running Google’s Android operating system. The company said it plans to add more cities as it develops the feature.

Google translate

Google is adding 24 languages ​​to its translation tool, Google Translate, a move the company says will target languages ​​of Africa and India in general, and languages ​​that are generally underserved by technology.

They include Quechua, which is spoken in the Andes, especially Peru; Lingala, a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Assamese, which is spoken in northeastern India; and Tigrinya, which is spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The additional languages ​​bring the total number the tool can translate to 133, and will be available to all Google Translate users in the coming days, the company said.

A new skin color scale

Google is launching a new skintone scale that it hopes will make its products more inclusive.

Many beauty and tech companies classify skin tones based on what is known as the Fitzpatrick scale. Developed in the 1970s by a Harvard dermatologist, it is used to classify how different skin colors respond to UV light (and thereby predict the risk of sunburn and skin cancer). Despite only featuring six skin tones, it has been used for years by tech companies to inform everything from the colors of emoji and how wearable heart rate monitors work on different skin tones to efforts to make AI fairer on Facebook.

Google will use the Monk skin tone scale to train its AI products to recognize a wider range of skin tones.

The company said it will use the Monk skin tone scale, which was developed by Harvard professor Ellis Monk and includes 10 different shades. For example, Google uses it to test how well AI models (such as models that can recognize faces in photos) work on people of different skin tones. The company also uses the scale in Google Images searches, for example by letting people narrow down beauty-related images by skin color.

Google will also make the scale open source so that others can use it.

Virtual Cards

Google is introducing virtual credit cards to protect users’ financial information while shopping online.

The feature generates a virtual card number that users can autofill in place of their actual card details on Android mobile devices or Google’s Chrome browser, masking their real credit card number from the businesses they shop at.

Virtual cards will roll out this summer — initially only to US users with Visa, American Express, and Capital One credit cards. Google says it will add support for Mastercard later this year.

Google's virtual maps will mask users.  credit card information while shopping online.

Search privacy options

Another feature announced Wednesday aims to give users more control over what results appear when someone searches for their name in Google.

Rolling out in the coming months, the feature will make it easier for users to request that their personal information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses, be removed from search results.

Google plans to let users customize what ads they see as they browse the web, with the ability to choose the brands and types of ads they do and don’t want to see.

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