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Key Announcements from Google I/O 2019

Yesterday, Google’s annual developer conference kicked off at the Shoreline Amphitheater in the city of Mountain View, California. Google I/O is a three-day developers festival, starting on Tuesday 7th May and finishing on Thursday 9th May. The event brought thousands of developers together from across the globe for talks, workshops, keynotes and hands-on learning sessions from Google experts and a glance at some of Google’s exciting upcoming developer products and updates. We’ve picked out some of the most important highlights of I/O 2019 for you.

4 min read

After an impressive Google I/O 2018 with plenty of exciting announcements, this year’s event kicked off in similar fashion with a powerful keynote speech delivered by Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

So lets through some of the most eye-catching announcements made on the first day of the Google I/O 2019 developer conference.

Pixel 3a & 3a XL

For those who have been looking to buy a new smartphone but want to avoid paying over €1000 for it may be interested in Pixel 3a and Pixel XL, two new mobile phones that after months of speculation have finally been placed on the market by Google.

The Pixel 3a & XL devices will be available for prices starting at around $400 after officially going on sale yesterday. This cheaper version of Google’s flagship mobile phone will come with a free headphone jack, whilst it supports cool features such as night-vision camera, an adaptive battery, high-resolution zoom and several other advanced camera features.

Introducing Android Q

One of the biggest announcements at this year’s conference was the launch of the Android Q Beta. This is now available for download on Google mobile devices, including the newly released Pixel 3a & 3a XL.

This latest version of Android, dubbed Android Q for the time being, comes with a list of super cool updates such as the Smart Reply and Live Caption tool features.

Google is also adding a new feature named ‘Focus Mode’. In contrast to the Wind Down mode that greys out your screen, Focus Mode allows you to select particular apps that you want to avoid using during a period of time and only disable those. Furthermore, families will soon be able to link up parents’ accounts to those of their children, giving parents the opportunity to monitor their children’s usage and settings.

For more information, click here!

Google Assistant

Google has updated its Assistant a.k.a. Google Assistant so that it can now respond to requests up to 10x faster! The Assistant has become more fluid in its delivery and no longer requires users to say ‘Hey Google’ before every question.

Another impressive capability that has been added is Google Assistant’s ability to tell the difference between a question and a command. This freshly updated version of Assistant will arrive to Pixel phones later on this year.

It has also added ‘Driving Mode’ so that mobile users can switch it when they get in the car, before presenting the driver with all the things it may need during the journey e.g. podcasts or navigation maps. The entire experience will be hands-free and can only be controlled by voice in order to ensure driver safety. This particular feature is expected to be rolled out at some point this summer.

Duplex coming to the Web

Last year, Google introduced Duplex a bot that can understand fast speech and complex sentences, whilst appropriately and naturally responding to any follow-up questions. It could also schedule appointments and book reservations for you.

This year, Google announced that Duplex is coming to the Web! Google is updating its Duplex tool to help you automatically complete tasks such as booking a stay at a hotel and buying concert tickets. Duplex’ added capabilities now allow it to automatically enter your details for you, such as the length of your trip and preferred mode of transport before allowing its state-of-the-art automation to complete the entire booking process on your behalf. Awesome!

Nest Hub Max

Another interesting announcement was Google’s newly updated version of its Home Hub smart speaker. It’ll be called the Nest Hub Max. Furthermore, Google also revealed that it’s rebranding all of its smart home products under its new Nest line.

This new smart display by Google will serve as a kind of command centre for your smart home. It can control several appliances including the Nest Thermostat or smart lights. It also has a camera that you can use it to record footage whilst you can use the screen to watch videos.

And similarly to Google’s other home devices, the Nest Hub Max can support several users at once. Voice Match can recognise each person in your household by the sound of their voice, whilst the new Face Match can tell different people apart through the help of their highly advanced camera.

And with the importance of privacy still in mind, the company has also revealed that there’s a button on the back of the Nest Hub Max that completely shuts off the microphone and camera.

The Nest Hub Max will be priced at around €200 and will launch at some point during this summer.

Increasing Privacy

One of the biggest focus points at this year’s Google I/O conference was privacy and Pichai announced a host of new features that would help increase and prioritise people’s privacy and online safety during his keynote speech.

With the aim of helping users manage and control the kind of information they share with the rest of the world, a number of privacy measures will be implemented this month. For Google applications such as Drive, Pay, Gmail, Calendar & Contacts you’ll be able to easily access your privacy settings by simply clicking on your profile picture in the top right corner of your screen. Other products such as Search, Maps, Assistant, YouTube, Chrome and News will be updated later on this month.

Meanwhile, Google also has plans to launch an Incognito mode for apps such as YouTube, Maps & Search. It will also offer users the chance to set a limit on the length of time that Google retains your web and activity for. This will even be possible for location history to when it is rolled out in the coming weeks.

As ever, Google didn’t disappoint with its updates and announcements! Which new feature caught your eye the most? Let us know by commenting in the section below!

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