Google’s 2022 I/O conference is finally here. From virtual cards coming to life to a new way to interact with your home security system, there are many unexpected surprises from the keynote to the unpacking. Here are some of the highlights.
Watch your Google Nest until it does things for you
One of the weirder new features Google announced this year is: Nest Hub Max† The function, called “look and talk‘, you can start a conversation with your Nest by simply looking there. This means you don’t have to say “Hey Google” to pay attention to you. No, instead all you need to do is spruce up your home security display with a steel can and it will recognize you want something and start making demands on it.
It’s all powered by Google’s Face Match and Vote Match features, which must be enabled for it to work. This feature is opt-in, and Google certainly noted that “video from these interactions is completely processed on the device, so it’s not shared with Google or anyone else” — a fact that vaguely makes the whole thing less scary.
So, uh, yeah… seduce your home robot with your eyes and enchant it to follow all your commands. That’s certainly not weird or anything.
You Can Now Immerse Yourself in Google Maps
In what will probably be the most popular new feature announced today, Google is launch an “immersive view” for Maps. This new improved “view” uses advanced graphics to put you in real-life simulations of cities you want to visit. So, unlike Street View, which is based on real images, the “immersive” view essentially transforms the local terrain into a remotely readable Skyrim level. If you want to rate the interior of a local London restaurant just to ‘check the atmosphere’ you can. The digital detail should make you “feel like you’re there before you ever set foot in.”
“Whether you’re traveling to a new destination or looking for hidden local gems, the immersive display helps you make the most informed decisions before you leave,” claims Google. The new feature will roll out in select cities later this year, including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, London and Tokyo. More cities should be added to the list soon. This reminds us how Microsoft Flight Simulator uses Bing map data to build realistic models of cities and other environments, but not tied to a video game.
Google Docs will give chase
Slow readers and weaklings of the world rejoice! Google launches a new feature for Workspace that will provide automated digests of Google Docs… documents so you don’t have to struggle by means of particularly long lasts. You could call it the TL; DR function. Powered by AI and machine learning, the new tool has the power to shrink a 25-page report into a digestible summary, Pichai claimed during the feature presentation. The feature will eventually be rolled out to other products in Workspace, he said. This is good news for you and possibly bad news for Gizmodo writers, whose jobs will likely be replaced by an algorithm soon.
Google makeup image results are filtered by skin tone
Google says you can now search for makeup by filtering by skin tone. The new function will use what is known as the Monk Skin Tone Scale, a tool developed by Ellis Monkan associate professor of sociology at Harvard University designed to “provide a broader spectrum of skin tones that can be used to evaluate data sets and ML [machine learning] models for better representation.” Google says it is making this technology open source so that other companies can use or adapt it for their own purposes. Google is also working to apply the lessons learned in this study to its photo apps.
24 new Google Translate languages
Google also has added 24 new languages for Google Translate, bringing the languages spoken by millions of people around the world. For today, the company’s translation feature only worked with 109; today’s additions bring the total to 133.
The new languages are: Assamese, Aymara, Bambara, Bhojpuri, Dhivehi, Dogri, Ewe, Guarani, Ilocano, Konkani, Krio, Kurdish (Shoran), Lingala, Luganda, Maithili, Meiteilon (Manipuri), Mizo, Oromo, Quechua, Sanskrit , Sepedi, Tigrinya, Tsonga and Twi.