Google is all set to kick off its annual developer’s conference, Google I/O 2018, that will take place between May 8 to May 10 at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View. The 3-day conference typically sees the company announced the next major Android software version alongside news on other products and services such as Google Assistant, Google Home, WearOS and Android TV, among other things. Google CEO Sundar Pichai is expected to deliver the keynote on Tuesday at 10 am PT (9:30 pm IST) and you should be able to live to stream it from the official I/O website here.
At this year’s Google I/O 2018, Google is expected to officially announce Android P, its next major Android software version. Additionally, we also expect some new developments in the sphere of artificial intelligence which will likely include some announcements on Google Lens, Google Assistant, TensorFlow. We should also hear something on Google’s core products that include Gmail, Play Store, Drive, YouTube and Photos among other things. Based on everything we have heard so far, here’s what you can expect from Google’s developer conference this week.
The likeliest highlight of I/O 2018 will be Android P, which is the next big Android version and successor to Android Oreo. The developer preview of Android P has been available to some since March and based on that we know that Google is going to focus on visual changes this time around. We also know that Android P will get a redesign to accommodate the notch. Some rumors also suggest that Android P will include the iPhone X-like gesture design.
The first developer preview also suggests some changes to the quick settings, notifications, settings menu among others. Android P may also bring new ways to take screenshots, edit them and also control media volume as well. Notifications may see some changes as well as they could show full conversations when you pull down the top bar. A report this week adds that Android P will restrict apps from monitoring the network activity on your device.
Google’s virtual assistant has been growing bigger and bigger in the two years since its existence. In fact, Assistant has overtaken Apple’s Siri as a smarter voice-based AI. The company has expanded Assistant’s capabilities as well as its presence around the world. Just this past week, the company announced that Assistant can connect to over 5,000 devices for your home.
Google is expected to announce some of these developments as well as some new integration with Google Home. The company could also announce some Assistant-back smart displays that were first shown off at CES earlier this year.
Google last year stressed that the company was shifting from a mobile-first to an AI-first strategy. Over the past few years, AI has been at the heart of many of its products and Google sees a lot of possibilities with AI. Take Google Lens for example, which uses machine learning to analyze and identify things through the viewfinder and provide relevant actions.
AI and machine learning have been incorporated in Google Photos, Play Music, cameras on the Pixel 2 series, Gmail, Google Translate, Maps, and Trips to name but a few. You can expect Google to announce some new AI-related features for its products at I/O 2018. Recently, Gmail for web got a bunch of new AI-based features such as Smart Replies and Nudging and the company may mention them briefly this week.
GOOGLE PHOTOS AND GOOGLE LENS
Last year, Google introduced a number of new AI-based features to Google Photos and we may see some more new features being announced this year around the face and object recognition and how it might help in improving sharing or automated creation of colleges and animations.
LG last week also let it slip that Google will be announcing some new features to Lens when the company launched the G7 ThinQ. While we don’t have any info on what these new features might be, LG said that the G7 ThinQ will be among the first phones to receive them. Google Lens was unveiled at last year’s I/O 2017 and is currently available on the Pixel 2’s camera app and on Google Assistant. The company could announce a broader availability of Lens for Android and perhaps iOS users as well.
OTHER EXPECTED ANNOUNCEMENTS
Google has a number of products and services that it is currently investing heavily in such as AR and VR. This week, the company announced that the Lenovo Mirage Solo a standalone VR headset with Daydream is now available for purchase. The company may announce this as well as some new developments in AR and maybe even a new VR headset at I/O 2018.
Additionally, Google also has the ARCore, a tool to allow developers to build augmented reality-based apps that can be published on the Play Store. Google’s ARCore rivals Apple’s ARKit and you can bet good money that the company will spend some time talking about where ARCore is right now and where the company sees it going. A new AR headset is also a possible announcement.
Android TV and Android Auto may also get some noteworthy improvements and feature, but nothing is sure for now. Wear OS, which is a rebranded Android Wear, may also see some announcements. Last week, the company also announced some new features coming to Assistant on Wear OS which includes the smart suggestion that will bring up contextually relevant suggestions when using Assistant. Google is also bringing Actions to all Wear OS smartwatches, which means you will be able to perform over 1 million Actions – things to do – through your smart wristwatch. Developers may get to test these Actions out during the conference.