Beyoncé, Google for Your Home, and More Featured at Google I/O Kick-off

Google unveiled a host of new technology at Google I/O including a new assistant; new ways to communicate; and the ushering in high-quality Virtual Reality.

Google Home (Image: Google)
Google Home (Image: Google)

Google I/O, the search giant’s annual three-day tech conference, kicked off with a keynote address from CEO Sundar Pichai and a succession of Google engineers unwrapping the latest and hottest upcoming tech from Google. Personal assistants, new ways to chat and communicate, virtual reality (VR), and even Beyoncé were all part of the keynote show.

Pichai started off by saying that most of us are now doing searches on our mobile devices, and more of us are using our voices to search. Google is focused on fine-tuning the search experience. “We are pushing ourselves really hard,” said Pichai. “You search for Beyoncé, and you get a rich information card [of] music, upcoming show events—and you can book [shows] right there.”

Google All Up in Your House

With new capabilities in mobile search, a user can stand in front of a building and ask Google, “Who designed it?” then get a voice answer.

Google’s advancements in search technology have resulted in a new product, Google Assistant: an Internet-connected device for the home that lets users ask Google questions and manage tasks. The more you use it, the more it learns about you.

A Google engineer explained the ways in which Google Assistant can be used. For example, you can ask it to show you movies nearby. Then, based on your search history, Google Assistant will recommend movies playing nearby for you. You could also tell it that you are bringing the kids along, and Google Assistant will tailor the search to family-friendly movies. It will even retrieve and buy tickets without you needing your phone or opening an app.

Google Assistant can also broadcast music and entertainment throughout a home. Additionally, it can manage tasks, such as your travel itinerary, and inform you of traffic conditions for your drive to work. Google calls it “your personal Google around the house.”

There will inevitably be comparisons to the Amazon personal assisting device, Alexa. Pinchai gave credit to Amazon for innovation with its personal assistant, but also said that Google Assistant can handle search queries in ways other assistants can’t.

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