On Wednesday, Google kicked off its I/O developers conference with a keynote providing a peek into what the tech giant has planned for its range of services, including its artificial intelligence-powered Google Assistant.
Here’s what we learned from the first day of I/O:
Google wants to help you find a job
The company wants to make it easier for search users to discover job postings. Welcome to Google for Jobs, which will organize job listings more efficiently. So, if you search for, say, a software engineering job in a specific city, those listings pop up right at the top of search results. “The challenge of connecting job seekers to better information on job availability is like many search challenges we’ve solved in the past,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai.
Google Assistant is on the iPhone
Owners of Apple’s smartphone now have three choices for a digital voice assistant: the native Siri, Amazon’s Alexa (available through the main Amazon app), and Google Assistant, available as a standalone app. Most of the functions of Assistant are there, including the ability to make calls, send messages, or review weather updates and sports scores. Siri still holds a major advantage on the iPhone though, since it’s readily accessible via Home button.
Google dabbles with augmented reality through Lens
Imagine you see a restaurant through your smartphone camera, only instead of taking pictures you see a review and star rating. Google Lens borrows a bit from augmented reality apps, overlaying information on top of what you see through your camera. However, the app will recognize what it’s viewing and offer specific actions. The feature will also integrate into Assistant.
Hands-free calling isn’t just for Amazon Echo
Within the next few months, owners of the Google Home will be able to call any landline or mobile number in the U.S. and Canada. It’s all hands-free, too. The speaker will also support voice commands for more entertainment services including HBO Now and Hulu.
Virtual reality without cords or phones
Ready for a headset that won’t require a PC, game console or even a smartphone? HTC revealed it will make a standalone VR headset leveraging Google’s Daydream platform. According to a blog post from HTC, it will launch later this year.
Turn those Google Photos into books
Yes, digital photo albums are great, but sometimes they can’t top the real thing. Google is planning to update Photos to allow users to create their own photo books. Because Google automatically backs up photos, there’s no need to upload images. Google Photos will also add shared libraries.