We’re surprised to be saying this, but Google IO 2022 was absolutely manic – Google was launching new software tools and products left, right and center, like a kid who’s had too much cola and got their hands on a nerf gun.
If you paid attention, you probably caught all the big announcements: these include Android 13, the Google Pixel Watch, Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel 6a and Pixel 7, and of course the Google Glasses.
But there was actually so much more that Google threw into the event, and we don’t blame you if you missed a few of them.
To fill you in on some of the Google IO announcements that you may have missed, we’ve written this guide to some of our favorites.
1. More inclusive AI
One of Google’s first announcements was that its skin tone research is helping to make more inclusive AI.
It’s doing this by making an open-source development tool to help AI more accurately detect different skin tones, which is something AI currently struggles with.
When developers start using this tool, it should be just as useful for AI photo processing tools to accurately edit snaps as it is for search results to provide a better range of search results (instead of just a wall of white people).
2. Better health tech
Announced not at the keynote conference, but just to developers, is something called Health Connect, which could be incredibly useful for fitness fans.
Basically, this is a way for various disparate health apps (like diet, wearable, workout tracking, and peripheral ones) to all share the same data – this means you don’t need to jump between a hundred different apps to track your health.
This is great news for people who have too many health gadgets.
3. Better tablet software
We’re always complaining about Android tablet software (because it’s not great) but Google might have found a way to shut us up (and improve its tablets too).
With Android 13, Google is drastically improving its tablet software. It’s redesigning the home page layout, its quick-settings swipe-down menu, and lots of its native (and third-party) apps. Plus, multi-tasking is getting much more convenient.
This should make Android tablets real competitors to the iPad line, and we couldn’t be more excited.
4. A Google tablet
On the topic of slates, this is something that Google mentioned but moved swiftly on from: the company is finally making its first new tablet in years.
This tablet will come out in 2023, will run Android, and will use the Tensor chipset. That’s basically all we know so far. Admittedly it’s not much, but the slate is likely a year or more out, so that’s a lot for now.
5. Google Assistant wants to be casual
If you’re sick of addressing your Google Assistant like it’s a dumb robot or misbehaving child, there’s some good news for you.
Soon, Google Assistant will be better at picking up your casual cues for commands: instead of saying ‘Hey Google’ you can just look at the device and speak. It’ll also understand hedging in commands (like umms or errs) and know that you’re trying to watch ‘Quantum of Solace’ and not ‘Quantum of… uh… shoelace? Um… shortcake?’
Some people – this author included – aren’t fans of giving voice commands to AI assistants, but maybe this will change our minds.
6.Magic eraser? I barely knew ‘er!
The Google Pixel 6 introduced us to Magic Eraser, a Google software tool that lets you scrub out unwanted details in the background of pictures, with AI filling in the blanks. Well, it’s getting an upgrade.
A Magic Eraser demo showed a prominent image being rubbed out – but instead of it leaving a shoddily-AI-filled hole, it simply changed color, to better match the scene.
It seems like Google’s tools are getting closer and closer to being Photoshop rivals every day, which will have us doubting everything we see in no time.
7. The world is your store shelf
Google Lens is already pretty good at identifying objects in the real world and trying to sell them to you, but it’s getting one step smarter.
Previously, you could point the Google Lens at a mug and it’d identify it, and even offer to sell you one. But now you can point it at said coffee-holder, and also say “Lost” and your phone will bring you to this coffee mug inspired by TV show Lost. Google used the example of searching for water bottles, but with rainbows on them.
Another example is clothes – you can scan someone’s top, but find it in another color. AI is getting too smart – and too good at selling us things.