I/O 2018: Google Unveils What it has in Store for  Developers

May 15, 2018 12:49:53 PM

Google IO 2018

Google hosted its I/O Conference 2018 that brings together developers from around the globe annually for talks and have hands on learning with Google experts. CEO, Sundar Pichai along with his key executives took the stage and announced major add-ons to Google Assistant, Google Photos, Google Maps and other proprietary products.

Along with unfolding Google’s roadmap for the year, I/O keynote session introduces the latest developers products by the tech-company. This year, Google seems to have made major investments in AI, deep learning, natural language processing, machine learning, and neural networks to make developers life open for innovation.

Here, we share some of the biggest announcements that Google made for developers in the I/O 2018 conference and how they are going to impact developers road to build ingenious applications.

Google Duplex: Giving more power to voice user interface (VUI)

Google is strong in its endeavours to make Google Assistant more than just a personal assistant. This year, the tech-giant has announced the continued conversation update to Google Assistant, which makes talking to it feel more natural.

This ability of the Assistant is supported by technology called Google Duplex, which ensures that real-work tasks are performed over the phone through natural conversation between humans and machines. Currently, the technology is directed towards completing tasks, such as scheduling appointments.

Importance for developers:

When people talk, they frame sentences according to the context, are more verbose than required to convey their message clearly. With voice user interface, there are challenges in conducting conversations instinctively.

“Natural language is hard to understand for machines, natural behaviour is tricky to model, latency expectations require fast processing, and generating natural sounding speech, with the intonations is difficult.”- Google

Google duplex

Google Duplex can help to overcome these limitations in VUI, enabling developers to build applications that have low dependency on humans to execute a task. With on-demand apps highly dependent upon inquiries and appointment bookings, developers can back VUI based apps with Duplex, making user-experience with the app more seamless.

Machine Learning Kit: Add AI smarts to Android and iOS apps

Google introduced ML Kit, a software development kit for app developers that will allow them to integrate pre-built machine learning models to the app. For developers with beginner level expertise in ML, there are 5 production-ready, base APIs provided to address common mobile use cases:

  • Text Recognition
  • Face Detection
  • Barcode Scanning
  • Image Labelling
  • Landmark Recognition

Importance for developers:

With ML Kit, developers get the base API on cloud and on-device. If the base API do not cover the ML use case that developers want, they can deploy their own TensorFlow lite models.

As the apps are made to do more, their size keeps increasing, which affects the app store install rates and annoy users with data overages. Since ML models can reach up to 10 MBs in size, Google is investing in model compression technology that will keep the app size in control. Developers will be able to upload the TensorFlow model, along with the training data, and can receive compressed TensorFlow lite mode.

Android P Beta: Improving user engagement with Android apps

Google will be coming out with new version of its proprietary Android OS, called Android P. The beta version of the OS is available for developers to try the latest release, test their apps, and provide feedback to make the OS more stable.

“Android P puts AI at the core of the Operating System and focuses on intelligent and simple experiences.”- Google (Click to Tweet)

Importance for developers:

The upcoming version of Android enable developers to make the most of the new smarts, specifically, when it’s about improving app engagement with the apps. Currently, Pixel and Pixel 2, along with Sony Xperia XZ2, Oppo R15 Pro, OnePlus 6 are some of the devices that support Android P beta edition.

Also, developers can try their hands on the OS features like App Actions (which will be available for developers to try soon), Slices (allow apps to provide remote content to users), smart reply in notifications, Text Classifier (identify entities in content or text input to support more types like Dates and Flight Numbers), new system navigation etc. Having hands on these features through the beta version, developers can prepare to make their app compatible with the new OS.

Other highlights from I/O 2018 conference:

ML Kit, Google Duplex, Android beta P were some of the major updates from I/O 2018 for developers. Other than this, announcements that are worth mentioning includes Augmented Reality coming to maps, Google Lens helping to locate places (enabling visual search), AI in Google News, Chromebooks to get Linux app support, Google Pay’s support to ticketing and boarding pass information etc.While some of the products, services, and features that Google announced are awaited to be rolled out, it would be interesting to see the difference that they will make to the tech-ecosystem.

Kartik Kakar

Written by Kartik Kakar

Lead Marketer at Daffodil Software. Inbound Marketer with a passion for technology and cool stuff.