Smarter search, Pixel Buds Pro, Pixel Watch and a preview of the Pixel 7 joined Google's parade of announcements at its annual developer conference.
Google I/O, the company’s annual conference for developers kicked off for 2022 with the usual keynote — in person for the first time in three years — hosted by CEO Sundar Pichai. During the keynote Google treated us to updates about the next version of its operating system, Android 13, and the company launched the Pixel 6A phone, Pixel Watch and Pixel Buds Pro earbuds. We also had teasers for a Pixel Tablet and Pixel 7 and 7 Pro phones, the latter slated for the fall. And highlighting instant translation and all the smarts depicted elsewhere during the event, Google delivered a quick sneak peek at its AR glasses in development.
Want a play-by-play, detailed summary? Check out our archived live blog.
The company also discussed its latest developments in privacy and security, including greater anonymization and virtual cards for payment in Chrome — a virtual credit card number generated on the fly when buying items online, keeping the numbers hidden from retailers. A new My Ad Center in the Google app lets you manage what ads you’d like to see and there’ll be an easier way to remove personal information from Google search results.
Search, Maps and automation
The company talked about a ton of automation updates, such as auto translation and auto transcription for video, plus big updates to Maps (and virtual lighting for Meet (which comes out of Project Starline). Google’s adding an auto-summarizing feature to provide a TL;DR (too long; didn’t read) of a large document. This will come to Google Chat as well, helping users get a highlight of a long chat conversation.
Search will be able to handle a query combining of a photo plus text question and integrated “near me” into those searches. It will also be able to handle searches based on a panned photo, a feature it calls “scene exploration.”
It’s been in the works for a while, but Google’s rolling out an implementation of the 10-point Monk Skin-Tone Scale (and open sourcing it) to help weed out biases in its technology and improve individual experiences where applicable, like search relevance and photo filters.
Nest Hub Max gets Look and Talk: It uses face recognition (on device) to initiate an interaction, so you don’t need to ‘Hey Google” repeatedly. Quick Phrases are commonly used instructions that can also bypass Hey Googling. You can choose which phrases it listens for. Assistant also improves its natural conversation performance.
Google Launches ‘Look and Talk’ Feature for Nest Hub Max
Google Wallet is exactly what it says on the tin. The company, like Apple, is working on bringing digital IDs — starting with driver’s licenses — to its wallet, and it will be rolling out to Wear OS and Android devices soon. The Android update includes enhancements to early warning and SOS systems as well expanding to Wear OS as well.
The company has put some work into streamlining Android for larger screens — in other words, tablets — with better multiple application handling that makes the tablets seem a lot more iPad Pro-like. It’s updating 20 of its apps for large screens.
And there are more ways in which it will enable cross-device handoff, such as accessing all your phone messages on your Chromebook (Phone Hub) or cutting and pasting between them. And, of course, it extends to smart home devices via the Matter platform.
You can get the beta starting today.
Google Pixel Buds Pro
These are the first Pixel Buds incorporating active noise cancelling and Google’s technologies for better isolation and better transparency. They’ll get an update post-launch to incorporate spatial audio, and you’ll be able to track them down via Android’s Fine My Device. Going or $199, they’ll be up for preorder starting July 21.
Pixel Buds Pro Are $199 Earbuds With Ear Pressure Sensors For Noise Cancellation
The new Google Pixel 6A. Google
Google Pixel 6A, Pixel 7 and 7 Pro
The $449 entry-level model of Google’s Pixel 6 phones will be available for preorder starting July 21.
Google also teased the Pixel 7 series, with a recycled aluminum camera bar and a glass back, plus an updated version of its home-grown mobile Tensor processor, which is optimized for AI. It will ship in the fall with Android 13.
Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet sneak peeks
We got a preview of the Watch, which will have an improved Wear OS interface and lots of curvy glass. It will support Google Wallet and have extensive integration with Fitbit. It will be available in the fall.
The tablet is pitched as a complement for the Pixel phone and slated for 2023.