Google had a slew of new products and software to show off on the first day of its annual I/O developer conference in Northern California’s Bay Area this week.
The tech company’s continued investment in artificial intelligence was evident, with several of the products harnessing AI to make your life easier.
Check out the three things that stood out in particular from Day 1.
More Virtual Reality
Google made a big step towards staking its claim in the VR market by announcing a standalone headset. The “Daydream” headset was announced last year, but was merely an affordable add-on to your smartphone. Now they’re ready to compete with the big boys like Samsung and Facebook on the VR front.
Google is working with Qualcomm to create a headset untethered to your smartphone, the company said in a blog post. HTC and Lenovo will have the first two headsets ready by the end of the year. Clay Bavor, Google’s VP of VR, said they will have “dramatically improved tracking” that will not require external cameras.
Visual Positioning System
Think of VPS as the evolutionary next step after GPS. Rather than simply mapping out your location, VPS will use recognition technology to use the objects in your eyesight and help you find what you’re looking for. Bavor used the example of finding a product in a big store — GPS will get you to the store, “and then VPS can get you to the exact item that you’re looking for.”
Tango, a 3D computer vision platform, will be the backbone of the technology, but the one drawback is most Google smartphones don’t have it yet.
The highlight of Day 1 was Google Lens — which will allow users to snap a picture and be told exactly what they’re looking at. Lens will also answer questions from the pictures you take — if you grab a pic of a WiFi router, for example, Lens will shoot back its password. Another nifty feature is its ability to quickly translate a menu in a foreign language and tell you what dishes you’re looking at.
Google execs didn’t announce when Lens will be available, but keep your eyes peeled for the app in Google Play.