Google I / O 2021: Android 12, Search, Photos and Featured Starline Project

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The Google Developers Conference was the subject of numerous announcements on various topics. A look back at the presentation of Android 12, the improvements in Search and Photos, and the Starline project for Meet.

Among the diff

Not yet in physics, the annual I / O developer conference is being held virtually and has been full of announcements for all of Google’s products and services, with the exception of terminals. Those who were waiting to learn more about the next Pixels smartphones, Chromecasts, Stadia consoles or Nest home automation equipment will have to wait. On the other hand, the firm was not stingy in detail on the much awaited Android 12, and announced improvements to the Search, Photos and Shopping experiences with a repeated focus on the protection of user privacy. Not to mention the Starline HD and 3D video project to give more presence to remote conferences.

Android 12 adopte le design Material You

Android 12, the next iteration of the mobile OS, was arguably one of the most anticipated announcements of the event. Google said it has redesigned every aspect of its operating system, from the user interface to notifications to quick settings. The result: a design called “Material You” previously known as Material Next. As usual, Google will first deploy Android 12 on its Pixel devices – but the company has not announced anything in the matter. Good news, however: Google says it has made under the hood improvements to speed up Android 12 by up to 22%. This means that the OS will be able to run on cheaper and less powerful terminals.

Android 12 will automatically generate the themes with a “designer eye”. First modification visible in the Android “Material You” user interface: the setting of the phone wallpaper. All you have to do is select an image, and Android will recalibrate the colorimetry of the device’s interface to complete it. Google says Android 12 will adapt to every device as well, with adjustments to the layout, color, and even line width. And this also applies to third party applications. Quick settings have been reworked, with a focus on Pay and Home automation ecosystem controls.

Privacy indicators will also signal when apps are using the smartphone’s camera or microphone, and a feature called Private Compute Core will allow Google’s AI to perform tasks. Finally, Google Assistant has undergone a big change: Now you just need to long press the power button to access it.

Privacy protection efforts

For a year, Apple has made “privacy” one of the watchwords of iOS. Google responded by unveiling a number of privacy-focused features – some of which were already mentioned above. CEO Sundar Pichai has said repeatedly that the company cares about user privacy. For example, it revealed that more than 2 billion Google accounts are now using the “automatic deletion” feature which erases all activity on the web and in applications after 18 months. Google has also said it is working to eliminate weak passwords and encourages mobile authentication.

No need to worry about your search history: Google allows you to quickly delete it. (Credit: Google)

The group has also announced orders removing recent searches (in chronological order, for example the last 15 minutes). Maps will also remind that location history is on, so the user can turn it off if they want. Finally, Photos is enriched with a protected locked folder in which it is possible to de facto store all the images in a safe. Photos placed in this folder will not appear elsewhere in Photos or on the device.

The optimized search engine

Google has pioneered the next generation search engine of the Search engine. Called a “Multitask Unified Model” or MUM, this model is able to understand the context of a query (“What do I need to climb Mount Fuji?”) And find the answer in text, video, and even in foreign languages. The editor also clarifies that the user will be able to take a photo of their hiking boots, ask if they can be used for that purpose, and the search algorithm will understand the specific request enough to answer the question.

Augmented reality can be used to identify local businesses. (Credit: Google)

Visual recognition of the world around you is also coming to Android mobiles. Google has signed deals with Simone Biles (gymnast) and Megan Rapinoe (footballer) to place them “inside” augmented reality so that the user can watch Simone Biles perform a virtual tumbling number. In Maps, he will be able to use the screen and the camera of his smartphone to identify the businesses when he passes in front of them, to know the level of frequentation and even what dishes they serve. Google is also gradually rolling out the Indoor Live View in Zurich, an augmented reality map of stations and airports.

Maps is also more up to date. For example, at the start of the day, it will preferably indicate cafes rather than restaurants. (Credit: Google)

Shopping connects to Lens

Google is also harnessing the power of Lens to make real-world shopping easier. On their phone, the user can tap the little Lens icon in the Google search bar, take a photo, and Google will try to identify the object being photographed.

In a future version of Chrome, the user will be able to view all the baskets of products purchased on different sites at the same time. (Credit: Google)

In a future version of Chrome, the user will also be able to see the items they have placed in the baskets of different e-commerce sites. Officials also specified that the Navigatur would search for promotional codes (as in Microsoft Edge) and apply discounts to loyalty programs to which the user is subscribed, all via Pay.

Photos will better sort the memories

More than four trillion photos and videos are stored in Photos, and Google knows that most of them will probably never be viewed again. That’s why the firm invented Memories, an existing feature that brings out older photos depending on the given day or subject. Google is going to improve the feature by adding what it calls “models,” which find a number of related photos, like pictures from birthday parties or hikes, and display them together.

Any user will be able, if they wish, to delete photos from the Google Moments feature. (Credit: Google)

Google also knows that for some, the memories can be painful – an ex-partner, a missing loved one, or a complicated time in their life. To avoid this, the user will be able to exclude a specific person, photo or period.

Starline project puts visio Meet in perspective

If Meet allows you to video chat with a friend or colleague a few hundred miles away, they will still appear to be sitting in a distant room. The idea of ​​the Starline project is to correct this feeling of estrangement by combining video cameras and very high-definition depth cameras, and to link everything together through a high-speed interface by applying digital compression to the data to accelerate the flow. .

Google’s Starline project combines high-definition and 3D video. (Credit: Google)

Finally, Starline renders a 3D space in high-definition instead of the classic 2D video representation. For now, the solution will be tested on the Google campus, but the company may deliver a commercial version a little later. This is what we can say about this year’s Google I / O event. You just have to wait to see all of these features in action in the real world.

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