San Francisco: Google CEO, the Tamil Nadu born Sundar Pichai recently unveiled their answer to Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana in the form of ‘Google Assistant’, a two-way conversational assistant that helps with all tasks from coordinating a dinner with friends to searching movie timings to setting the oven timer.
Pichai also unveiled ‘Google Home’ – a voice-activated product that brings Google Assistant to any room in your house, a new messaging app called ‘Allo’ and video calling feature ‘Duo’ as the company kicked off ‘Google I/O,’ its annual developer conference in Mountain View, California.
“It makes it easy to buy movie tickets while on the go, to find that perfect restaurant for your family to grab a quick bite before the movie starts, and then help you navigate to the theater. It’s a Google for you, by you,” Pichai wrote in a blog post.
“The Assistant is an ambient experience that will work seamlessly across devices and contexts. So you can summon Google’s help no matter where you are or what the context. It builds on all our years of investment in deeply understanding users’ questions,” he added.
Google Home lets you enjoy entertainment, manage everyday tasks and get answers from Google – all using conversational speech. With a simple voice command, one can ask Google Home to play a song, set a timer for the oven, check your flight, or turn on your lights.
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“It’s designed to fit your home with customisable bases in different colors and materials. Google Home will be released later this year,” Pichai informed.
The messaging app Allo comes complete with the Google Assistant so one can interact with it directly in their chats, either one-on-one or with friends. Allo includes ‘Smart Reply’ which suggests responses to messages based on context and comes with fun ways to make your chats more expressive, including emojis, stickers and the ability to get creative with photos.
“Because the Assistant understands your world, you can ask for things like your agenda for the day or photos from your last trip. If you’re planning a dinner with friends, you can ask the assistant to suggest restaurants nearby, all in one thread,” Pichai further wrote.
Duo is a companion app for one-to-one video calling. “With Duo, our goal is to make video calling faster and more reliable, even on slower network speeds. We also introduced a feature called ‘Knock Knock’ which gives you a live video of the other caller before you answer,” the Indian-born executive posted.
Best of all, both Allo and Duo are based on your phone number, so you can communicate with anyone regardless of whether they’re on Android or iOS. Both apps will be available this summer.
“We are sharing details about what’s coming in Android N, including better performance for graphics and effects, reduced battery consumption and storage, background downloads of system updates, and streamlined notifications so you can power through them faster, and updated emojis including 72 new ones,” Pichai said.
On top of Android N, Google has built a new platform for high-quality mobile virtual reality (VR) called ‘Daydream’. “Together with Android manufacturers, we’re working on upcoming phones and sharing designs with them for a VR viewer and controller that will be really immersive, comfortable and intuitive to use,” Pichai added.
Google also previewed ‘Android Wear 2.0’, including a revamped user experience and stand alone apps that run right on the watch, no matter where your phone is or even if it’s off.
“Finally, we’re introducing Android Instant Apps – which let you run Android apps instantly, without requiring installation,” he said.