Google I/O 2024: Top 7 AI Breakthroughs, Featuring Gemini and Android 15

A Deep Dive into the Gemini Revolution

Image credit: Google

As the excitement from Google I/O 2024’s keynote settles, one thing is crystal clear – the spotlight was firmly on Google Gemini and the suite of new AI tools. These innovations have painted a vivid picture of the future of our digital existence. Sundar Pichai, the CEO, aptly likened the event to a tour of new eras, placing the “Gemini Era” at the pinnacle of this journey.

This year marked a departure from tradition, with Gemini and AI not just being part of the conversation but becoming the conversation itself – the term ‘AI’ echoed through the event a staggering 121 times. The reveal of “Project Astra,” a cutting-edge AI assistant poised to revolutionize mobile – and potentially eyewear technology – underscored the theme. Gemini’s integration into an array of Google’s services and products underscored its pivotal role.

The two-hour presentation was a veritable feast for the intellect, particularly for those passionate about large language models. To make it digestible, we’ve distilled the 7 pivotal announcements from Google’s I/O 2024 keynote, along with updates on when these groundbreaking tools might become a part of our everyday lives.

1. Project Astra: Google’s AI Agent for Everyday Life

Google has finally unveiled its answer to OpenAI’s GPT-4o and Microsoft’s CoPilot: Project Astra. This remarkable “AI agent” is like Google Lens on steroids, capable of understanding, reasoning, and responding to live video and audio. In a recorded video demo, a user walked around an office, providing a live feed from the rear camera while asking Astra questions spontaneously. Gemini, the underlying AI framework, seamlessly processed the visuals and addressed the queries.

What sets Project Astra apart is its multi-modal and long-context capabilities. It swiftly identifies and delivers responses, even pinpointing specific parts of objects (like a speaker) and recognizing neighborhoods in London. Impressively, it generated a band name for an adorable pup next to a stuffed animal during the demo.

While immediate rollout isn’t on the horizon, developers and the press (including us at TechRadar) will get a chance to try out Project Astra at I/O 2024. Additionally, a tantalizing teaser hints at Astra-compatible glasses, possibly signaling a Google Glass revival. Whether as a demo or a future reality, Project Astra promises to supercharge smartphones and redefine our interactions with digital assistants – making them genuinely helpful and effortless.

As for the launch date? Google describes Project Astra as “our vision for the future of AI assistants,” leaving us eagerly awaiting its arrival.

2. Gemini Elevates Google Photos with AI Magic

Image credit: Google

Imagine effortlessly retrieving a cherished snapshot from years ago – a handwritten note, your puppy’s first moments, or even your car’s license plate. Google is transforming this dream into reality with a significant enhancement to Google Photos, powered by Gemini. This upgrade grants it the ability to peruse your photo collection and swiftly surface the images you’re seeking.

During a live demonstration, CEO Sundar Pichai showcased this capability by requesting an image of a license plate. Google Photos promptly displayed the picture, complete with visible digits and letters. The same ease applies to more personal queries, like finding memories of your child’s first swim. This feature promises to simplify the search process for even the most cluttered photo collections.

Termed “Ask Photos,” this new functionality is set to be available to users in the near future. It’s poised to be a game-changer, likely to spark envy among non-Google Photos users.

As for its debut? Google hints at a rollout “in the coming months” as an experimental offering.

3. NotebookLM: Your Ultimate Homework Assistant

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Every parent knows the struggle of helping kids with homework. The knowledge we once possessed seems to fade into oblivion after two decades. But fear not! Google’s upgraded NotebookLM note-taking app is here to save the day.

With access to Gemini 1.5 Pro, NotebookLM becomes a better teacher than any of us could be. In a captivating demo at I/O 2024, Google’s Josh Woodward loaded a notebook brimming with science-related notes. With a single button press, he conjured up a comprehensive learning guide, complete with quizzes and FAQs extracted from the source material.

But wait, there’s more! A prototype feature took things up a notch by converting all the content into audio – think of it as a podcast-style discussion. Multiple speakers engaged in natural conversations, making it far more helpful than a frustrated parent attempting to play the role of teacher. When Woodward interrupted with a request for a basketball example, the AI seamlessly switched gears, weaving clever metaphors in an accessible context. Parents everywhere are eagerly awaiting this innovation.

As for the launch date? It remains unknown for now.

4. Searching Google with Video: A New Frontier

(Image credit: Google)

During an intriguing on-stage demo involving a record player, Google unveiled an impressive search trick: video-based searching. Yes, you can now record a video and search it for answers.

Here’s how it works: A curious Googler filmed the record player while asking a question. Google’s search magic kicked in, providing an answer in text form (which could be read aloud). This novel approach, akin to Google Lens for video, differs from the real-time capabilities of Project Astra. Instead, it requires recording and subsequent searching.

But that’s not all! Google’s generative AI infusion extends to search results. Before the video search demo, they showcased a similar experience for recipes and dining. Imagine searching in natural language and receiving recipes or restaurant recommendations right on the results page.

In summary, Google is fully embracing generative AI for search, offering diverse ways to access information.

When will it launch? Google promises that “searching with video will be available soon for Search Labs users in English in the US” and will eventually “expand to more regions over time.”

5. Veo: AI-Generated Video Tool

Google has stepped into the generative video arena with Veo, a powerful AI model capable of creating high-quality 1080p video clips. Like OpenAI’s Sora, Veo generates videos based on text prompts. Here are the key features:

  • Quality and Duration: Veo produces videos that can go beyond a minute, maintaining impressive resolution and visual fidelity.
  • Cinematic Styles: It captures different visual and cinematic styles, including landscapes, time lapses, and more.
  • Editing Flexibility: You can upload an input video along with a command, and Veo will edit the clip to match your request. Additionally, you can add masks and tweak specific parts of the video.
  • Availability: While not widely accessible yet, Veo will be available to select creators through VideoFX, an experimental Labs feature. Google plans to expand its capabilities to YouTube Shorts and other platforms.

6. Android’s Gemini Infusion

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Google is integrating Gemini directly into the core of Android, enhancing the user experience. Here’s what to expect:

  • Context Awareness: Gemini can view, read, and understand what’s on your phone screen, anticipating questions related to your current context.
  • Examples:
    • While watching a video, Gemini understands the context and can provide relevant information.
    • When viewing a lengthy PDF, it anticipates summarization requests.
    • It’s ready to answer questions about the app you’re currently using.
  • Gemini Nano with Multimodality: Launching later this year on Pixel devices, this feature will improve speed and efficiency. Notably, Gemini will listen to calls and alert you in real time if it’s spam, enhancing call screening.

7. Smarter Google Workspace with Gemini

(Image credit: Google)

Google Workspace users will benefit from Gemini integrations and features:

  • Mail: A new side panel allows you to ask Gemini to summarize recent conversations with colleagues, highlighting key points.
  • Google Meet: Gemini provides meeting highlights and answers questions from participants, eliminating the need for note-taking during lengthy calls.
  • Google Sheets: Gemini assists with data analysis, including pulling specific sums or data sets.
  • Virtual Teammate “Chip”: This futuristic feature lives in G-chat and can be summoned for various tasks or queries.
  • Launch Timeline:
    • Gemini’s side panel in Gmail, Docs, Drive, Slides, and Sheets will be upgraded to Gemini 1.5 Pro starting today (May 14).
    • The “summarize emails” feature will be available to Workspace Labs users this month (May) and to Gemini for Workspace customers and Google One AI Premium subscribers next month.

These advancements promise exciting possibilities for creativity, productivity, and seamless interactions. Google’s commitment to AI-driven enhancements continues to shape our digital experiences! 😊

Source: Google I/O

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