May 19, 2017Published by: Fereshta Amir

AI-first: what we learned from Google I/O 2017

This week, Google kicked off its annual developer conference, a three-day event which is typically packed with juicy launches and this year didn't fail to deliver, with major announcements on Google Home, Assistant, Google Lens and more.

Google I/O started with a keynote by Google CEO Sundar Pichai, who gave the 7,000+ audience a stat attack to put things in perspective: Google's focus on deep data and machine learning is what allowed them to scale to a billion users across its products. Google Drive has over 800 million active users, Google Photos has 500 million monthly users who upload a whopping 1.2 billion photos every day, and finally, as of this week Android crossed over 2 billion active users. Whoa.

AI and machine learning were key themes throughout the event, as the shift from mobile first to AI-first was mentioned a few times by Pichai. The extent of Google's AI reach is everywhere from Google Photos to the Google Cloud Platform, and to give you just a few of the other updates:

  • Soon, algorithms will not just stabilise photos, but enhance them too — he showed the crowd a picture of a baseball match in which a whole fence is automatically removed.
  • Smart Reply, a bot that analyses emails and offers quick responses it thinks you might want to send, is coming to Gmail.
  • Google Lens will soon let us point cameras at an item and learn things about it, like point at a flower which Lens will tell us the type of, and in coming months, point the camera at a store front and it’ll pull up information and reviews about that location.
  • Google Assistant, the voice powered assistant tool, is now available for iPhones.
  • Google Home has a bunch of new features, like visual responses and hands free calling.
  • Since July 2016, the incorrect word rate has dropped from 8.5% to 4.9% on Google’s AI-powered voice transcription.

We'll be playing around with all of the above goodies and will keep you posted on them! In the meantime, you can re-watch the talks here.

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