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article imageLatest Android innovations showcased at Google I/O

By Tim Sandle     May 10, 2019 in Technology
A new Android operating system, the rebranding of Google Home, and a cloud streaming gaming platform were among a host of new technologies presented at the annual Google I/O meeting. We take a look at the highlights.
Google I/O is the annual developer conference held by Google in Mountain View, California. The I/O originally referred to "input/output", although this has morphed into the slogan "Innovation in the Open" (emphasis is on the 'I' for innovation and the 'O' for open). It's a big event, with the after show party seeing a performance by The Flaming Lips.
Aside from the pomp, the 2019 event has presented an array of new Google offerings, from updates to the mobile operating system and newer smartphones; and from an array of smart home gadgets to Google's new Stadia game-streaming platform. The key announcements for 2019 related to:
Google I/O 2019 highlights:
Pixel 3a and 3a XL.
AR walking directions in Google Maps.
Offline, streamlined Google Assistant.
Android driving mode.
Google Home devices renamed to Nest.
Android Q live captioning.
Project Mainline (streamlined OS update process on Android Q).
Duplex web API.
Looking at a few of these:
Advancing AI and protecting privacy
At the keynote session, Sundar Pichai, Google CEO outlined a strategy where Google can make use of artificial intelligence and at the same time protect the privacy of its customers. Pichai said: "We are moving from a company that helps you find answers to a company that helps you get things done. Our goal is to build a more helpful Google for everyone."
Pichai explained why Google is confident that it can leverage more from AI without private data leaving a user's device. This is through a type of machine learning called federated learning. Essentially this process allows mobile phones at different geographical locations to collaboratively train a machine learning model without the need to transfer any data that may contain personal information from the devices.
Google Home
Google Home will be rebranded to 'Nest'. With Google Home is to receive some updates where there will no longer be a need to say "Hello Google". An example presented at the event relates to when an alarm sounds. Instead of having to say "Hey Google, stop alarm", the user will be able to simply say "stop."
Android Q
Android Q was presented at Google I/O, as the third beta version and it comes with new features. This is a version that can be installed on 21 different smartphones from 12 OEMs, which is far more devices than the earlier role out Android P supported in 2018. Android Q features support different accent colors, smooth over sharing tools, easier Wi-Fi sharing via QR codes, plus a secret desktop mode. Android Q will also come with a dark mode that makes the screen easier on the eye for long periods of time.
Google Stadia
Google Stadia is a cloud gaming service, which will offer game streaming potential to anybody with Internet access and the Chrome web browser. A key feature will be the functionality to switch from one device to another in just a few seconds, allowing gamers to take their games with them wherever they go.
New Google Pixel devices
Google unveiled the Pixel 3a and Google Pixel 3a XL. These two devices are Google’s first entries into the mid-range smartphone segment and are presented as being more affordable compared with earlier releases in the Pixel line. the new devices boast a 30 hour battery life. The new phones will also come with AR-enabled Google Maps.
Beyond these devices, Google is reportedly exploring several Pixel 4 designs in readiness for 2020 based on a Galaxy S10-like design.
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