Five takeaways from Google’s annual developer conference
This week saw Silicon Valley heavyweight Google hold its 2017 annual developer conference. The company chose to use the platform to demonstrate the advances being made in artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, augmented reality, and more. While relatively light on hardware, it offers investors an excellent insight on some of the things that could make their way down Google’s pipeline in the not-too-distant future. If you have a spare 2 hours, you can watch the conference below. Otherwise, these are some of the things that stood out:
Google’s annual developer conference 2017 in full
Google Lens is a long way from market, but it was nonetheless a centerpiece of the keynote speech. Using image recognition and augmented reality, Lens will allow users to bridge the gap between the online and offline worlds. This might mean pointing your phone at a flower to discover exactly what flower it is, or it might mean pointing it at a restaurant you’re passing to get instant reviews. Google doesn’t have a release date, and it doesn’t know exactly how it will roll the Lens technology out, but it’s clear the company expects it to be a game changer.
Google is also making inroads into its Daydream virtual reality (VR) platform, which was announced at last year’s keynote speech. Google will be launching a budget headset that uses smartphones to provide a VR experience, and will also launch two standalone headsets that are compatible with Samsung’s Galaxy devices, and the company is partnering with HTC and Lenovo – major players in the space – to create the hardware. But getting it to sell might take a while.
CCS Insight analyst Geoff Blaber said: “Daydream has had a challenging start. Google will hope that a dedicated headset with superior performance will help to further expand the market but the real challenge remains a lack of content”.
Google’s Photo app has half a billion users, and its application of AI to photos – now, Google can actually tell what your photos contain – is a selling point. Now, the company wants to help its users share their photos more easily. It will do this by adding facial recognition technology and shared libraries. So now, your phone will recognize the person in your photo and curate personalised albums between the two of you.
Google is also launching a micro-accurate version of GPS called VPS – Virtual Positioning System. This will use Tango, a 3D visualization technology, to look for recognizable objects around you and pinpoint your location to within a few centimeters. Google’s head of VR, Clay Bavor, explained the uses that VPS may have in regards to shopping:
“GPS can get you to the door, and then VPS can get you to the exact item you’re looking for.”
Google Home, the company’s virtual personal assistant (VPA) is also getting an upgrade. Thus far, it has lagged behind Amazon’s Alexa, but the company want to rectify that. So now, you can make phone calls from your Home assistant, and its voice recognition software means it can even choose which number to call from depending on who you are. It will also start offering ‘proactive assistance’ – meaning, for example, if you’re plotting a car journey, Home will tell you what the traffic is like.
Dominion holds Alphabet, the parent company of Google, in its Global Trends Ecommerce Fund.
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