Highlights from Google I/O 2021

Google spent nearly two hours announcing a number of new features and improvements to its platforms in a live event yesterday in Mountain View, California.

The event kicked off with Google Workspace improvements. Google is attempting to have its apps have a more integrated approach and its answer is Smart chips. Smart chips allow Workspace apps to link to one another and be easily integrated into one another. Google Meet is now available in each Workspace app, so a team can meet within doc.

Image: Google

In Meet, users can re-arrange tiles, expect better noise cancellation, and have access to live translations. (This is a very cool feature!)

There were a number of improvements made to Google Shopping, most notably the ability to track a price of an item. Google maps added additional biking lanes and information as well as Eco Routes that calculate the route with the smallest carbon footprint.

Image: Google

Google Photos added a number of features including Little Patterns, which uses machine learning to identify photos with a similar trait and highlight them. For example, it might identify images of the same couch and gather a collection of photos of family members lounging on the couch. Cinematic Photos also use machine learning to animate photos; when we take pictures, our cameras capture multiple images. The algorithms interpolate the images into a smooth animation.

Video: Google

Google is also adjusting its photo processing algorithms so that people of color have a better experience with the results of the camera on android devices.

Google saved Android 12 until the end of its presentation. Material You is its news design feature with gives users the ability to have greater control over customization on the entire look of Android 12 as well as the looks of all of the apps that run on Android 12.

Image: Google

Android 12 features redesigned toggles, which are slightly larger than the existing ones (which I prefer, to be honest). There’s a privacy dashboard that gives users full control over their microphone, camera, and location data (but no ad blocking!).

The final announcement was a partnership between Samsung and Google to develop a shared platform for their wearables (watches) that will improve performance, battery life, and features.

Beta 1 of Android 12 is available today is available today.

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