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Indian-born Google CEO Sundar Pichai unveils ‘Google Assistant’

Google recently unveiled their answer to Apple's Siri in the form of ‘Google Assistant’, a two-way conversational assistant

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Wikimedia Commons
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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.

Related article: Google for India

“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.

Source: IANS

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  • Pritam Go Green

    I wonder sometimes where are we going. From a traditional society to a fully automated life. Well i must admit the fact that already google smart watch is doing wonders and now this !!!!! #GoogleHome
    I think the level which Google possess this is going to be a big challenge for SIri and Cortana. Brace yourselves people !!! cz some serious automata is about to enter in ur lives !!!!

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  • Pritam Go Green

    I wonder sometimes where are we going. From a traditional society to a fully automated life. Well i must admit the fact that already google smart watch is doing wonders and now this !!!!! #GoogleHome
    I think the level which Google possess this is going to be a big challenge for SIri and Cortana. Brace yourselves people !!! cz some serious automata is about to enter in ur lives !!!!

Next Story

Is New Google Glass-Based Solution a Blessing for Autistic people?

According to Dr Ned Sahin, Founder and CEO of Brain Power, a US-based science-driven company, Augmented Reality (AR)-powered wearable computers can help those with ASD gain confidence, clarity, understanding, social integration and self-sufficiency.

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In this technology, the child or adult wears light, computerised Glasses and sees and hears special feedback geared to the situation -- like digital coaching on facial expressions of emotions, when to look at people, feedback on the user's own state of stress or anxiety. Flickr

Google Glass — an eye-wearable device that made headlines in 2015 but failed in the consumer technology space — has now rekindled the hopes of millions of people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) globally, including in India. Although no official numbers are available, at least 70 million people have autism worldwide, including over 10 million in India.

According to Dr Ned Sahin, Founder and CEO of Brain Power, a US-based science-driven company, Augmented Reality (AR)-powered wearable computers can help those with ASD gain confidence, clarity, understanding, social integration and self-sufficiency.

There is no cure for autism but early diagnosis and intervention with therapies does improve the long-term outcome.

“We need help. We need families and schools to support the first wave of technology for autism and special school communities.

“I am open to collaboration if there is an interest from schools, organisations and families from India. We can customise our Google Glass-based applications for autistic people in India,” Dr Sahin told IANS.

Brain Power is currently working with several schools in the US. The “Empower Me” wearable system has been used by hundreds of children and adults on the autism spectrum.

In this technology, the child or adult wears light, computerised Glasses and sees and hears special feedback geared to the situation — like digital coaching on facial expressions of emotions, when to look at people, feedback on the user’s own state of stress or anxiety.

Google
The “Empower Me” wearable system has been used by hundreds of children and adults on the autism spectrum. Flickr

“The apps also encourage them to make eye contact and control repetitive behaviours — both of which are big challenges related to autism,” said Dr Sahin, a famed neuroscientist who studied at Harvard and MIT.

According to Dr Sahin, contrary to what most of the people think, kids actually treat wearable devices as fun and are facing no problem using them.

“We have discovered scientifically that people with autism enjoy using wearable devices and embedded software for socio-emotional learning,” Dr Sahin told IANS.

Each software module connects to Brain Power’s Cloud-hosted portal where Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms produce insights and predictions in real time.

The game-like apps collect numerical behavioural data — scientifically and rigorously — and present the child, family, school or clinic with insights and answers they can readily understand.

At AWS Public Sector Summit in Washington DC last month, Dr Sahin announced a couple of new products.

“We now have a package for schools consisting multiple AR devices. The devices and the software add more functionalities than we had before. It generates very good data about how kids are learning, their progress and whether young adults have the right skill-sets to get a job,” Dr Sahin explained.

Another new product is called “Learning Eye”.

Google
In this technology, the child or adult wears light, computerised Glasses and sees and hears special feedback geared to the situation. Flickr

In this technology, a camera is placed in the classroom which is connected to a computer that runs Machine Learning (ML) algorithms.

“AWS gave us access to its new product called Deeplens months before releasing it to the public. ‘Learning Eye’ uses Deeplens’ capabilities to run ML in the classroom in order to assist teachers as well as kids,” noted Dr Sahin.

The technology can detect if a student is paying attention or not. It can also detect if a student is writing a message on his smartphone in the classroom, giving a warning to the student while alerting the teacher.

“The teacher can also assess when the student is bored and initiate an immediate feedback to improve the student’s mood. She can get entire data about what is happening in the classroom,” Dr Sahin informed.

AWS Deeplens helps the Brain Power team run deep learning models locally on the camera to analyse and take action on what it sees.

DeepLens is easy to customise and is programmable using AWS Lambda — a serverless compute service that makes it easy to build applications that respond quickly to new information.

Google
Augmented Reality (AR)-powered wearable computers can help those with ASD gain confidence, clarity, understanding, social integration and self-sufficiency. Flickr

“We are very serious about maintaining privacy. Video footage stays in the classroom and is never sent to Cloud. Video processing is done at the edge of the Cloud to maintain complete privacy,” Dr Sahin told IANS.

The company has also developed a method known as “Fidgetology” which rapidly quantifies body language to assess mental health or to estimate enjoyment of ads or other media.

“Fidgetology” was developed in collaboration with AWS, using the company’s Cloud-based AI, ML and computer visions tools.

Also Read-Gmail: Google Alerts its Users About the New ‘Confidential Mode’

Dr Sahin is positive that Indian schools and organisations working in the field of autism will come forward to a life-changing experience.

“We would like to expand our capabilities to India. It all depends on the desire of the people to have the new technology and empower children and adults all along the autism spectrum to teach them practical life skills,” the neurotechnology entrepreneur hoped. (IANS)