Google Lens and augmented reality, what’s new at Google I/O 2017

During Google I/O 2017 some important news were announced: a new VR visor and Google Lens, filters for augmented and mixed reality

During a non-stop speech of over two hours, Google presented at its annual Google I/O 2017 conference dedicated to developers a long series of new products and future updates on its various services.

Among the most interesting new products unveiled during the conference is definitely Google Lens. These are not smart glasses or lenses but AR filters that can be applied to the camera of a device with Google Assistant. This technology will be able to recognize what it sees: for example it will be enough to take the smartphone pointing at a restaurant with the rear camera and Google Lens will recognize the restaurant and automatically show on the screen feedback, schedules and menus. Google said that in the future we will understand the world just by pointing a camera at it.

New hardware for artificial intelligence

Google during the I/O conference also announced the second generation of its artificial intelligence hardware. The  "tensor processor units" (TPU) will be implemented in Google's cloud system. This will allow, simply put, large companies to have a much faster and better performing cloud service.

Updates for Google Assistant

Thanks to the implementation of Google Lens there are many improvements planned for Google Assistant. Google's intelligent assistant will now be able to perform several actions simply by pointing the camera at an object. For example, if we point the phone on the photo of our favorite band, the assistant recognizes the band and asks us if we want to play some of their songs, or if we want to buy the latest album or book a seat for one of their concerts. Google Assistant will also be available on iPhone. Google has released to developers the possibility to integrate the voice-controlled personal assistant on future mobile devices. In addition, several languages have been added, including Korean and German. Finally, Google Assistant will arrive in Italy by the end of the year.

Google Home

The artificial intelligence developed by Google to counter, in the field of smart home, the devices Amazon Echo continues its growth path. Google Home will provide real-time notifications even when we are out of the house. For example, if we record our return time from work during the week, just before the end of our workday we will receive a notification from the assistant that advises us which road to take based on traffic updated in real time or which bus to find the right connections and get home sooner. In addition, on Google Home you can now make calls. At the moment, however, only for the U.S. and Canada.

Google Photos

Also during the Google i/O 2017 conference, it was announced that over 500 million people store photos through the app Google Photos. The U.S. company also unveiled some new updates for the app, including the ability to find the best photos to send and share with friends. Google also launched Photo Books. This is a feature where users can choose the most meaningful photos they have saved on the app and decide to create a physical album that will be shipped for $10 directly to their homes. For now, the service is only available in the US.  Lens support will also be coming to Photos. It will be enough to point at a person to know who he is, his phone contact, or we can aim at a building and the assistant will inform us about the history of that structure or monument.

Google VR and AR

Google, as mentioned, talked a lot about its new projects for virtual reality and during the conference said that it will probably soon launch a new device for its Daydream VR platform. According to several rumors, confirmed by HTC, the visor should arrive before Christmas. The company also showed off some new augmented reality features intended to help students with their studies. They are similar to the educational software released by Google in 2015 that allowed pupils to take virtual school trips to learn history, geography and art in an interactive way.

Android Go

One of Google's flaunted goals is to make low-cost smartphones that can succeed in emerging countries. Now Google's project is much clearer and aims to create a Lite version of its mobile operating system that can also run on devices with less than 1GB of RAM. Android Go, this is the name of the OS, should make its debut on smartphones from 2018.