Google shows off its newest gadgets, including revamps of older ideas
Google hosted its annual developers conference this week, which it called Google I/O. And for the first time since the pandemic began, attendees have the option to appear in person. The company announced software updates and new devices and, of course, details on improvements to the Android operating system, which runs on most mobile phones in the world.
The event also sets the tone for other major technology conferences throughout the year. For this week’s episode of “Quality Assurance,” where we take a look at a big technology story, I spoke with Ian Sherr, a majority editor for CNET who almost attended the conference. He said one of Google’s biggest revelations is a new usable device. The following is an edited transcript of our conversation.
Ian Sherr: What they are glasses that actually use Google’s translation technology in real time. And what you do is that when you wear the glasses, it somehow recognizes the language spoken by the other person and automatically translates it into a text that is on the glasses. So in many ways, you get the language of the text straight into the real world. And so looking at Google really thinks about these things and shows, “OK, well, we had a nerdy Google Glass many years ago. We really didn’t know what to do with this. But now, here’s the an idea that people would perfectly find a tool for, “I think it’s very neat.
Kimberly Adams: Talk a little more about that because, yes, a few years ago Google tried to release augmented-reality glasses, and it was a very popular flop. What is the difference now?
Sherr: In many ways, I think Google sat there and realized they had done something looking for a problem in the past. They make this very cool technology that, yes, you can have a computer kind of your vision is small, but not perfect, and a camera so you can interact with the real world in great ways. . But they don’t know what to do with it. They have two ideas, like giving you real-time direction as you walk down the street. But then, we all get these phones that do that well, and some of us have watches that do that well and [were] like, “Do I really have to wear these nerdy head glasses for that?” And so as a result, I think they kind of backed off. And they are not alone. I think Apple and Microsoft and Meta realize this too. They need to know what this thing can do to change my life, and not just give me a technology and say, “Go spend $ 1,000 on it and then think about how you’re going to use it.” And that’s a demo – they don’t show anything, they just show real life subtitles – you can see what the tool is all about.And I think that’s a strong moment for them.
Adams: What kind of emphasis did you see on tech and accessibility at this year’s conference?
Sherr: So there are actually a lot of accessibility factors that what happens is that these features help everyone. They take their vision to the computer, where the computer brain can actually understand what you are aiming at the camera. You go to a store, you point it to one of the shelves, and it really starts to understand what it looks like on all the shelves. And you can do a Google search by tapping on it.
Adams: Today, of course, we are still in the pandemic, marking the nearly one million people in the United States to date who have died from COVID-19. How did the pandemic cause what technology did Google choose to promote at this conference?
Sherr: Google has a lot of technology – and, also, it’s not just Google, it’s all technology companies. They have been building things like videoconferencing and internet collaboration software for a long time. And some people caught it, but never got it until we were hit by the pandemic. So one of the things they show is that their Google Docs, which they compete with Microsoft Word but it’s on the internet, has a basic TL function; DR – very high; did not read. It takes a very long document or maybe notes you took in a meeting, and somehow using Google’s computer brains can shorten it to something easy to read within a paragraph. . I didn’t fully understand how it would work, and I was tempted to give it a try. But it, again, says the whole thing “We’re interacting remotely, we’re using technology more and more we’re relying on it.” And so that’s another example. One more thing I would say is that in their video meetings, Google Meet – another one of those things they’ve been around for a long time, but they’re really supercharging during the pandemic – they’re already starting to do subtitling and the all as well there. Something, really, has already been done by Microsoft and others, but it has made these things widely available, in fact, I think life has been much easier. Now, does it change the world? I mean, for many ways, it will definitely give a little tip. But that’s what makes it interesting. Much of this is evolutionary change.
Adams: Google I/O will take place ahead of the Apple and Microsoft developers conferences. Do you think what we saw at this conference gives us an indication of what to expect from other major technology companies?
Sherr: Somehow, yes, it can set the tone to, “We’re still thinking about what’s the next big thing.” And the truth is that they don’t know. They don’t know what the next life-changing technology will be. And so they all bet all of these different directions, but obviously, no one has figured it out yet. And so I think that’s something we can see throughout. Apple has their stuff, and they’re cool and they get their pretty “oooh- ahhhhs,” but they’re not going to change the world in the same way. And if they do, I’ll be attracted. And Microsoft, same deal. I think we’re still at the point where they think things through.
Related links: More insight from Kimberly Adams
Sherr was live-blogging the conference for CNET with colleagues, and this included many more as he took on various Google announcements at the conference. He mentions those augmented-reality glasses that give consumers real-time interpretations, and, according to him and The Verge, there is still no information about how much the device will cost or if the technology will eventually be available to the public.
For reference, the versions of Google Glass you get now run between $ 1,000 and $ 2,000 – mostly on the secondary market.
And while we’re on the subject of gadgets, this week Apple announced the end of the iPod era. We’d love to hear your stories about your memories of dwindling devices over the years. Did you crave an iPod when you were a kid? Are you still there Do you still use it? Send us the voice memo at [email protected]