Google I/O is back. That suggests a metric crap-ton of updates for the Google ecosystem. The annual developers’ conference didn’t fail to be a spectacle that spotlighted a bizarre cameo from Michael Peña , opera-singing digital blobs, and AI bots pretending to be Pluto, even if it was virtual.

Of course, some of the things like cough, Pixel Buds A, cough, which we were expecting didn’t appear. Don’t worry if you missed the two-hour keynote. Here’s everything you need to know about Google I/O 2021 as we sat through every chaotic minute.

The AI Bots Can Role Play Now |Google I/O 2021

No, you didn’t misread. Google demoed a machine learning model named LaMDA that improves on an AI’s conversational skills. When you get canned responses that don’t have anything to do with what you were asking, anyone who’s ever used a digital assistant knows it’s frustrating.

More free-flowing conversations that can jump between any topic is meant to be created by LaMDA. We’ll never realize why Google imagined a conversation between an AI bot and another AI bot acting to be Pluto and a paper aeroplane was the best manner to demo this.

Android 12 Gets a Lot More Colorful

Today was the first official peek as to what Google’s got in store for Android 12 even if there were a ton of leaks leading up to today’s event. Getting a whole new look is one of the biggest changes to Android 12. Android users will be able to redesign widgets that fit their backgrounds and customize their colour palettes. This design scheme isn’t limited to your smartphone and that’s great news. With the support for Pixel phones coming later this fall, the new Material you design language can also be ported to other devices and apps.

Including a dashboard that breaks down what data your apps are collecting, Android 12 is also getting more privacy features. On creating an ecosystem of devices that work more seamlessly together, Google’s also working —photos and texts sent to your Chromebook, built-in Chromecast remote controls, and digital car keys. Dive into what’s coming with Android 12, if you want a more in-depth. We got you.

Google Photos Reminds You Your Life Is Repetitive

Google Photos Reminds You Your Life Is Repetitive

Look, during the pandemic, our photos probably haven’t been that interesting. And that is probably because we’re not doing anything interesting. Well, with a new Memories feature, Google Photos will rub that in your face. It finds and groups three or more pictures that share a common element, and then resurfaces them.

An engineer’s orange backpack was included in one demo Google showed. No seriously. It generated a collection based on a backpack. I’d possibly get a bundle of pictures of my pets sleeping in the same two poses in the same three spots if I am the one using it. It’s a reminder at least the tech is cool even if life isn’t always exciting.

Also, Google is adding Cinematic photos. It’s very similar to Apple’s Live Photos. The neat difference between them is it can be used to stitch together similar photos scanned from an old photo album too. Finally, it’s also adding a feature that requires you to enter a passcode to access pictures stored there and it’s called Locked Folder. When you scroll in Google Photos, or from any other app, the pictures saved in the Locked Folder won’t appear. Try not to abuse it, okay?

Better Directions with Google Maps

A whole bunch of updates is also coming to GoogleMaps. To start, Maps will shortly suggest routes that do not cause you to suddenly slam the breaks (i.e., busy intersections, sharp corners, etc.). There’s also a Live View mode that overlays helpful information about your surroundings if you’re walking. That includes street signs to point you in the right direction at complicated intersections and stuff like restaurants and shops.

Live “area busyness” is another great feature for our current hell times so you can see which neighbourhoods are crowded and then you can maintain social distancing. As it might indicate which areas have a lot of interesting events going on, it works for the post-pandemic era as well.

Samsung and Google Team Up to

Samsung and Google Team Up to Fix Android Watches

From Wear OS, Google lopped off the OS, as it’s a brand new day, baby. Today’s news is a smidge different, while it was long rumoured that Samsung might ditch its Tizen smartwatch platform for Google’s. As it is collaborating on a new unified OS that smushes Tizen and Wear OS together to create…Wear, Samsung isn’t so much ditching Tizen. Wear watches will finally enter 2021 with the rest of the class as the new platform will also leverage some of Fitbit’s know-how in the wearables space.

Holograms, No Seriously, Holograms

There’s no other way of putting it: Google’s attempt at lifelike holograms is Project Starline. It’s pitched as during a call, looking “through a sort of magic window”. You can then watch a super-realistic 3D image of another person who’s not there, through that window. The result is some freaky deaky magic shit even if it combines computer vision, machine learning, spatial audio and real-time compression.