The opening keynote Today’s Google I/O developer conference address was filled with announcements of new devices and AI-powered features coming to familiar software tools. The company relies heavily on generative computing, strongly establishing itself as a decade-long leader in AI tech. It also happily puts AI at the forefront of nearly every service and device it powers, including the new Pixel phones and tablets it unveiled today.
Here are all of Google’s announcements from I/O 2023.
The Pixel Fold Has Arrived
Google’s first foldable phone, the Pixel Fold, is here and costs a staggering $1,799. It’s thinner than Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold4, and has a wide, full-front screen that offers an almost normal smartphone experience. Open it up and you get a 7.6-inch OLED screen for watching movies, multitasking, or reading. We have a hands-on report where you can read more about the Fold. Preorders are live now — if you bite, Google is throwing in a free Pixel Watch — but it’ll ship in June.
There is also a Pixel Tablet
Announced at last year’s Google I/O, the Pixel Tablet is finally a reality. Well, almost—pre-orders are live now (in just 11 countries), and it goes on sale on June 20, so you’ll just have to wait. This $499 tablet certainly isn’t MEAN to be a tablet that you take with you on the go. Instead, it sits on a magnetic dock (included) when you’re not using it, and the dock wirelessly recharges the slate and doubles as a speaker (sound quality is said to be on par with a Nest Hub). Once docked, it acts as a traditional Google smart speaker, with options to control your smart home devices, and even has the same microphone array to pick up your “Hey Google” commands. Chromecast is built in, so you can cast it from your phone or laptop.
If you want to use it, just pop it in the dock and it’s a normal Android tablet—except better, because Google has taken some steps to improve the Android tablet experience, with more of 50 Google applications optimized for the larger screen. . It is powered by the Tensor G2 chipset, and has many of the same software features as other Pixel devices. Unfortunately, there are no other accessories – no stylus and no keyboard. you CAN take it out and use it with Bluetooth accessories, but Google clearly envisions it as a homebody.
Also a Low Cost Pixel 7A
Every year, Google announces an A-series version of its flagship Pixel predecessor. This year’s Pixel 7A is more expensive ($499) than last year’s model, but you get more high-end perks, like a 90-Hz screen refresh rate and wireless charging support. The cameras are also completely new, with a 64-megapixel sensor leading the pack. You can read more about it in our review (8/10, WIRED Recommended). You can also order it now—Google is throwing in a free case and $100 for another accessory (like the Pixel Buds A-Series) if you buy it now.
Chatbot-Style Answers Are Coming to Search
Google users in the US can access an experimental version of the company’s web search that includes ChatGPT-style text generation. For some questions, AI-generated text appears on top of regular links and ads, summarizing information pulled from around the web. A question about the coronation of the new British king can be answered with a couple of paragraphs summarizing the event. When asked about ebikes, Google’s algorithms can list bullet-point takeaways in product reviews published on various websites. WIRED is, of course, one of the websites that publishes many product reviews, so let’s see how this feature has changed the way readers encounter our buying advice.
Android gets an AI Boost
Google’s Android updates—usually the focus of I/O events in the past—came about 80 minutes into the event. As you might have guessed, Google is putting more AI features into its mobile operating system. It includes some privacy protection improvements, but most are focused on cosmetic settings. The big setting that Google’s bosses seem to be obsessed with is AI wallpapers, which allow you to change the art styles of photos and create interactive, moving backgrounds from photos and emoji.
Google has also brought the generative features of its Bard chatbot directly to Android messaging, with settings that let you ask questions right in the chat box and adjust the syntax of your messages to suit different tones.
Generative AI Creation Tools in Workspace
Google slides AI into Workspace apps like Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Duet AI for Workspace, as it’s called, can use Google’s generative AI to generate job descriptions, write creative stories, or create automatic spreadsheets for tracking information. It can also create entire presentations, suggest text for slides or instantly create custom visual elements such as photos. It appears to be Google’s answer to Microsoft’s 365 Copilot, which uses some of the company’s productivity tools to add productivity and creative enhancements to Microsoft Office software. Google’s AI-powered updates to its free web-based software suite will be available to consumers soon, the company says.
Check out the Magic Editor
An update to Google’s photo-editing feature Magic Eraser is coming later this year. The tool will now be called Magic Editor, and Google says it’s an easy mobile version of Photoshop. Users can change almost every element of a photo, including adjusting the lighting, removing unwanted foreground elements like backpack straps, and even moving the subject of the photo to other parts. in the frame.
Google positioned the service as a way to improve photos, but the potential is there to do any editing of a photo. It is not difficult to imagine that it cannot be moved on the rail, because any photo can be easily adjusted to move people, reposition the arms to make it appear that the person is touching something that they are not, or even add elements to the frame that are not. there in real life. Google did not say whether the manipulated photos will be marked as such, although it mentions that it is watermarking images that are completely created by computers.
Matter and Smart Home
We always seem to have the cusp in the real and helpful—and not annoying—smart home. But what does it take to bring that expectation into reality? Google is betting that small, incremental improvements will slowly tempt you to include more connected devices in your home, like the fabric-covered Pixel tablet that acts as a portable Nest hub with a one-tap access to a newly redesigned Google Home app. Other sweeteners include easy access to Google Home from your Wear OS smartwatch and a new control panel for your home running on Android tablets. Google even—prmi—build tools to provide Matter support for iOS users.
Google didn’t spend much time touting the relatively new Matter smart home standard during the I/O keynote. But it informed us in the briefings that in just a few weeks, you will be able to control Matter devices with the Google Home app from iOS devices. Any family member can access the panel, or switch profiles. As they say, if you can’t beat them, join them… by putting a Matter sticker on every household item.
In a small response to Apple’s surprising plans for CarPlay 2 announced in June last year, Google’s Android Auto team. in the end have news to share. It didn’t come up during the I/O keynote, but it came up in the side-briefing before the show.
Keeping up with the fact that people sit in their cars idle while at charging stations, Android Auto will now support video, gaming, and browsing in cars. Apparently, YouTube will be available on Polestars, which already run on a Google OS, in the coming weeks. The games mentioned include Beach Buggy Racing 2 (can you play with the steering wheel?), and Solitaire FRVR (yawn). Apple’s version, instead of working with existing car software, had to replace it entirely—so this Android Auto update feels “lite” in comparison. However, car companies are likely to be happier with Google’s less aggressive approach here. Android Auto also works with Cisco, Microsoft, and Zoom to enable conference calls, so you can join meetings via audio directly from the car’s display. Gaming, web browsing, and conference calls … it’s less tech-heavy. It’s also worth noting that if you’re sitting and charging your EV, you can do it all from your phone anyway. But any improvement on Android Auto is welcome.