The Google I/O 2019 Keynote, which took place on May 8, brought several announcements that are important to both developers and consumers. As with any major keynote, there is bound to be a lot to unpack so without further ado, here is a recap of all the major announcements Google made during their I/O 2019 keynote.
Pixel 3a and 3a XL
The more affordable alternatives to the Google Pixel 3 are finally here with the Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL. Aside from missing out on a few premium features like waterproofing and wireless charging, the Google Pixel still carries the advanced camera technology that Google Pixel is known for and comes with features such as Google Lens, Night Sight, and even a Timelapse function. The Google Pixel 3a and 3a XL are retailing for S$659 and S$779 respectively.
Nest Hub Max
Google has rebranded its smart home brand to Google Nest, with Next being the brand moving forward for all Google home products. Last year’s Google Home Hub has been renamed and is now called the Google Nest Hub. The Nest Hub comes alongside a new, much larger Nest Hub Max. The Nest Hub Max is essentially a combination of the Nest Camera, Google Nest Hub, and the Google Home Max. Unlike the Nest Hub, the Nest Max will come with a camera built-in, and is able to perform facial recognition to provide personalised service for different members of the family.
Android Q Beta
Google’s latest Android Q beta is now available for download. With Android Q, you can now get Dark Theme support. The Dark Theme can be switched on by either inverting the app colours manually, and by using battery savers mode. The theme also uses true black, instead of a dark grey, which will also help to reduce battery consumption.
Android Q will also be coming with a Focus Mode, which lets you disable certain apps for a specific period of time, this will come in handy for people that find themselves constantly distracted by their phones when studying, or working. A function to link account between parents and kids will soon be available, so parents will be able to set app limitations on those that their kids spend the most time on.
Google’s next-gen Assistant will be much faster and more intuitive, and unlike its predecessor, the next-gen Assistant will only take up half a gigabyte on your phone. The improved speed at which the next-gen Assistant is able to parse commands means that users will be able to speak more naturally, instead of having to say a command like “Hey Google.” before every request. Users will also be able to shut off alarms and timers with a simple “Stop” command instead of having to say “Hey Google” first.
A new Live Caption feature will soon be coming to Android. The new feature adds subtitles to any audio or video source – be it on your camera roll, an app, the web, and even during video chats. Google mentions that they added this function to help people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Google will be adding the function to phone calls, so that users who are hard of hearing will be able to read a live transcription of the current conversation as it is happening.
Google Maps Incognito Mode
A new Incognito mode will be coming for Google Maps and Google Search to ensure that users search result are not traced to your Google account. Google had previously already launched the feature for their Chrome browser and its YouTube app. To activate the Incognito mode in maps, users simply have to tap their profile photo in the search bar which will bring up a menu screen, with “Turn on Incognito mode” listed as an option.
Google Lens Update
The Google Lens which was first released in October 2017 is getting a slew of new features. Now users can search for an exact dish on a menu, and Google Lens will look for photos on how the dish looks like based on Google Maps information. No longer will users order a dish they do not know and hope for the best. Hovering Google Lens over magazines that Google has partnered with, such as Bon Appétit Magazine will bring up recipes for the dishes onto your phone. Google Lens will also be able to translate foreign languages, and calculate how much to tip in a restaurant.
Google Duplex is Google Assistant’s reservation feature for restaurants, movies, and more. Perhaps what is most remarkable about the feature was how it is capable of making actual phone calls to restaurants to reserve a table on your behalf. Duplex will soon be making its way to the web, with Google explaining that it will be able to even help users rent a car without them having to do anything. It will pull up the dates of their trip, as well as car preferences from Gmail and their search history. While the service is not available yet, Google is currently working on it and will share more information on the feature later in the year.
Germaine is a fun-sized introvert who loves nothing better than sleeping in on rainy days. She can be found reading fanfiction and manga while still waiting for her Hogwarts acceptance letter. It’ll come eventually.