Google's focus on AI means it will get even deeper into our lives video

Google kicked off its annual developers conference by outlining a broad vision of how it thinks artificial intelligence will shape the way we communicate, travel, work and play.

Chief executive Sundar Pichai said that improving artificial intelligence is Google's top strategy in its continuing goal to organise the world's information.

Using AI, Gmail will now suggest phrases for your replies, based on its interpretation of your conversation. Google Photos will figure out which of your snapshots are best for sharing, and it will use facial recognition to figure who should get those photos. A program called Google Lens will analyse your photos and be able to remove obstacles, such as a chain-link fence, that obscure your shot. Google Assistant will also be more proactive, now nudging you to leave earlier if the traffic to your next appointment is bad, rather than waiting for you to ask about it.

Two attendees wearing Google Glass listen to the opening keynote during the annual Google I/O developers conference.
REUTERS/STEPHEN LAM

Two attendees wearing Google Glass listen to the opening keynote during the annual Google I/O developers conference.

The differences are subtle, but significant, said Gartner research vice president Brian Blau. "We're not going to see that many new features - maybe some new buttons and dials. But what will improve is how well these apps relate to the individual."

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With those personalised improvements, however, will come an even greater demand for data from Google services. For example, one big addition to Google Photos is the ability to auto-share your photos with a person of your choosing. That means that users not only allow Google to process their pictures, but also tell the company who their closest confidantes are.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the developers conference in San Jose, California.
REUTERS/STEPHEN LAM

Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the developers conference in San Jose, California.

"Many of these new features in Google Assistant, Photos, and Home add value but also require the sharing of a lot of personal voice, photo, video and location information," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insight and Strategies. "Google has the most personal information, [and] does the processing in the cloud, so I think right now they have the richest consumer AI capabilities."

Consumers looking for big gadget announcements out of the conference, however, may have been disappointed. There was almost nothing said about Android Wear, Google's play for wearables. Details about the next version of Google's Pixel smartphone line - about which Google has offered few sales details - aren't expected to come until later this year.

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 - The Washington Post

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