12th May 2023
This week, Google held its annual developer conference, Google I/O. The keynote was packed full of announcements, with the company’s AI advancements a big focus as expected. Here are a few of the highlights.
Improving Search with generative AI: Google Search is getting a significant update to enhance search results with AI “snapshots”. By enabling the Search Generative Experience (SGE) feature, users will see AI-generated answers at the top of search results for certain queries, with key information and context, not just links to websites. Tapping on a suggested next step in Search leads you to a conversational mode. Here, you can ask Google follow up questions about the topic while retaining context between inquiries. Generative AI tools will also be expanded to shopping results to help users make comparisons between products.
Bard updates: Google’s AI powered chatbot which launched in March is now available to everyone – the waitlist has been removed and it is opening to over 180 countries and territories with more coming soon. The chatbot has also been evolving. It is now fully running on PaLM2 (Google’s next generation large language model) and according to Google has ‘gotten much smarter at reasoning and math prompts’. There are further plans for it to become more visual in its responses and to be integrated into many Google apps and services.
“Help me write” in Gmail: Duet AI for Google Workspace has been available behind the scenes to some testers to help refine work or get started in Gmail and Docs. This experience is now coming to Gmail mobile and will be able to compose a series of responses to emails with a few words as a prompt. Duet AI in Google Workspace will also provide tools to generate images from text descriptions in Slides and Meet and create custom plans in Sheets (available to those who sign up for its waitlist).
Immersive View for Routes in Maps: This is expanding on the Immersive View feature launched last year and will provide immersive visualisation of your driving, walking or cycling route before you depart, with points of interest, weather and traffic information. This will roll out to 15 cities by the end of the year including New York, San Francisco, London, Paris and Tokyo.
Magic Editor for Photos: This tool in Google Photos will help make complex edits to photos easier. From repositioning objects to improving composition or filling in things cut off in a photo. It builds on the existing Magic Eraser which can delete items.
Google is seeking to ‘make AI helpful for everyone’ and following a somewhat underwhelming debut of Bard in February, the tech giant seems to have made a strong comeback in response to Microsoft's early strides in the AI wars with ChatGPT-maker OpenAI.
The Verge | Forbes | Google Blog | TechCrunch