After canceling the annual I/O event in 2020 yesterday, in 2021, Google is holding I/O again. Despite coming in a different format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I/O 2021 remains the “home” for many new announcements related to the Google ecosystem.
Google comes with quite several new announcements including a fresh and “aggressive” look of the latest Android and a new AI that talks like it’s Pluto. Alright, without further ado, here are 8 big announcements at Google I/O 2021.
- “Smart Canvas” for Google Workspaces
Google added a collaboration tool to the Google Workspaces they created as Smart Canvas. The tool was created to make it easier for users who use Workspace applications from Google such as Sheets and Docs so that working activities between the two can be done more easily and “seamless”.
Later this year, users will also be able to join video calls via Meet directly from Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Meet itself gets some updates such as improved noise cancellation, subtitles, and video quality.
- Next-gen AI named LaMDA
I/O 2021 is used by Google to introduce LaMDA – the latest generation of AI which is currently in the research and development stage. Google showcased LaMDA by simulating if LaMDA was the planet, Pluto.
The demo containing the conversations that are displayed feels natural and goes beyond what Google Assistant can now achieve. Google says that they will use LaMDA for Google Assistant, Search, and more. Through LaMDA, Google seeks to achieve a new future in terms of interaction with computers and smartphones.
- Chrome gets a new password feature
Soon, Chrome’s default password manager will get a myriad of new features. Users will be able to import passwords from other or third-party password managers into Chrome’s password manager.
What sets Chrome apart from others is that Chrome can recommend when to change passwords and then guide users through the process of changing to the site of the relevant service. This more advanced password manager feature will be rolling out to Android users as well as Google, but will first arrive on the Android version of Chrome.
- A myriad of novelties for Google Maps
One of the new features presented to Google Maps is Live View where just by pointing the cellphone camera at a restaurant or a destination, users can immediately see reviews to the inside appearance of the place. Furthermore, Maps is also planned to get a more detailed and realistic street view.
Going forward, Maps will also display results based on time. For example, the cafe will have a bigger pin in the morning and the business area will show how busy the area is.
- AI-based features on Google Photos
One of the most interesting announcements at I/O 2021 is the cinematic photo feature for Google Photos where users can use two photos to then be animated using AI. In addition, there is also another feature that utilizes AI, namely Little Patterns.
This feature can automatically scan objects in multiple photos – such as coffee cups – to then be grouped into albums. Lastly, Google is working on a tool to remove certain people or moments from “Memories”, such as exes.
- Android 12 with a “fresh” display
Google finally gave a “first look” at Android 12 and when compared to the previous version, Android 12 looks fresher with a newer and more attractive design. Google calls the design theme carried by Android 12 Material You.
One of the highlights featured in the announcement regarding Android 12 was the ability to match the theme colors to the wallpaper. Android 12 will also have a new privacy feature, namely “Privacy Dashboard”. The Android 12 beta is now available and can be tested on several cellphones from 12 selected Android brands.
- Google WearOS joins Tizen
Google and Samsung teamed up to combine WearOS with Samsung’s wearable operating system – Tizen. This combination is expected to give birth to a new wearable OS that is not only more agile but also has a longer battery life with an always-on heart rate monitor and application support from developers who are not half-hearted. Additionally, Google also announced that Fitbit will begin integrating with Wear later this year, alongside confirmation that Wear-based Fitbit devices are currently in development.
- Project Starline
Last but not least is Project Starline – one of the most impressive projects from Google so far. At I/O 2021, Google demonstrated this project in which Starline uses a high-resolution camera and depth sensor to create a real-time 3D model of a person “sitting” in the front to recreate the feeling of being face-to-face.
The demonstration was short but quite extraordinary for what was shown. Beyond that demonstration, not much is known of Project Starline. That was a review of any major announcements at Google I/O 2021. How about you, is this year’s I/O better than previous years?