AI, AI and more AI: Here is a round of major reveals at the Google I/O 2024 event

Godfrey Elimian
..the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-heavy Google announcements reveal the company’s intention to take on the AI battle with all its might.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Google has wrapped up this year’s edition of the Google I/O annual developer conference, the tech giant unveiled many updates and innovations aimed at shaping the future of technology. All we can say is that the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-heavy Google announcements reveal the company’s intention to take on the AI battle with all its might.

Among the major highlights were significant advancements centred around its generative technology, the Gemini AI and Google’s advanced artificial intelligence system. Its new integrations into applications like Gmail and Meet led off the conference, along with a look at Google’s Astra project, which uses a camera to provide AI analysis.

The company’s integration of Gemini AI into its major apps must now prove efficient and become a worthy contender against OpenAI’s GPT-4 and its new and faster iteration, GPT-4o.

Since you might not have time to watch the entire two-hour presentation, we will summarise the biggest news and updates from the keynote. Let’s explore the key announcements from the event.

Read also: Pixel Fold, android 14 updates, AI announcements expected during the Google I/O 2023 event

Gemini AI: Google’s latest beauty

Google introduced Gemini, a cutting-edge model designed to seamlessly process various types of data, such as text, images, video, and code.

Over the past year, significant advancements have been made to the technology. These include the development of Gemini 1.5 Pro, which excels at handling long contexts and has been adopted by over 1.5 million developers. 

Unveiling Gemini AI: The ultimate innovation at Google I/O 2024

Now, Google is officially integrating the AI powerhouse into its existing products such as Search, Photos, Workspace, and Android. This will enable users to benefit from Gemini’s capabilities in their everyday tasks and interactions with technology.

According to the announcement, Google is also infusing the Gemini 1.5 Pro into the sidebar in Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Drive, and Gmail. It will be the same virtual assistant across all of those apps, and the exciting bit is that the AI bot will know about everything you have saved everywhere.

In Gmail, for instance, users will be able to perform tasks such as drafting emails and processing e-commerce returns directly within their inbox, thanks to Gemini’s advanced capabilities. 

Gemma 2 updates

Google began the event by introducing Gemma 2, its next-generation AI model with an impressive 27-billion-parameter capacity.

This upgrade is in response to developers’ demands for more robust AI capabilities. Gemma 2 is optimised to run efficiently on next-generation hardware, promising enhanced performance and versatility.

Unveiling Gemini AI: The ultimate innovation at Google I/O 2024

Previous Gemma models were limited to 2-billion-parameter and 7-billion-parameter versions. The introduction of the 27-billion-parameter model represents a significant advancement in capacity.

Google emphasises optimisation for Nvidia’s next-gen GPUs, Google Cloud TPU hosts, and the managed Vertex AI service, ensuring efficient performance across various platforms.

Read also: A sneak peek into Google I/O 2022, product upgrades and launches

Google Search has undergone a significant transformation with the integration of Gemini technology, offering users a more dynamic and personalised search experience. 

Over the past year, Google has observed a surge in user engagement, with billions of queries processed through its Search Generative Experience (SGE). This innovative approach has enabled users to explore new search methodologies, including longer, more intricate queries, and even image-based searches, resulting in enhanced access to relevant web content.

The success of the SGE has led Google to expand its reach beyond experimental stages, with plans to introduce the fully revamped AI overviews feature to users across the United States. This updated search experience promises to deliver comprehensive insights and tailored results, showcasing Gemini’s ability to augment search functionality and improve user satisfaction.

The Circle to Search feature also received enhancements, allowing users to solve more complex problems using gestures, thereby enhancing the accessibility and usability of Google Search across various devices.

Ask Photos

Google Photos has introduced “Ask Photos,” a groundbreaking feature powered by Gemini AI. This feature enables users to search their photo collections using natural language queries, making it easier to find specific photos or moments.

Now, with “Ask Photos,” you can just ask your photos for stuff. Like, if you forget your car’s licence plate number, you can just Ask Your Photos, and it’ll tell you! It’s like having a super smart memory helper. 

Unveiling Gemini AI: The ultimate innovation at Google I/O 2024

You can even ask it about special moments, like when your kid learned to swim. Then, it shows you all the swimming moments and how they’ve progressed over time. It’s like a storybook of your memories! 

Google Play enhancements

At Google’s I/O 2024 developer conference, significant updates for Android developers were announced. Google Play has introduced a discovery feature for apps, enhanced user acquisition methods, and updates to Play Points.

The Engage SDK was highlighted. This will offer developers a way to showcase personalised content to users.

Additionally, Google enhanced its Play Points rewards program and expanded Google Play Games on PC. Updates to the Play Integrity API introduce features to enhance app security. Developers can now leverage custom store listings on the Play Store and use Gemini AI assistance for writing app descriptions.

VEO (text-to-video generator)

Next, Google introduced VEO, its latest advancement in text-to-video AI models, following its Lumiere model presented in January.

VEO boasts of the capability to produce high-quality 1080p resolution videos exceeding a minute in length, representing a significant leap in Google’s generative video technology.

The model enhances user experience by comprehending natural language inputs more accurately, allowing for video generation that closely aligns with the user’s intent. Furthermore, Veo incorporates cinematic concepts like “timelapse,” offering users various styles and greater control over the final video output.

While not yet available to the public, Veo is accessible to select creators through a private preview within VideoFX, with an option for others to join a waitlist for future access. 

Pixel 8a and Pixel Slate

Google unveiled its latest hardware offerings, including the Pixel 8a smartphone and Pixel Slate tablet, featuring cutting-edge hardware and software enhancements. These devices, powered by Google’s AI technology, promise to deliver an unparalleled user experience.

Detecting scams during calls

In a bid to enhance user safety, Google unveiled a new feature designed to detect potential scams during phone calls.

Leveraging Gemini Nano, Google’s smallest AI model, this feature listens for conversation patterns associated with scams in real-time, providing users with timely alerts and safeguarding them against fraudulent activities.

Generative AI upgrades

Google introduced Imagen 3, the latest addition to its Imagen generative AI model family, boasting improved text prompt understanding and creative image generation.

Additionally, Project IDX, a browser-based development environment, entered open beta, integrating Google Maps Platform and Chrome Dev Tools, facilitating seamless app development.

Google’s new AI era

Google has underscored its commitment to advancing AI innovation through state-of-the-art infrastructure and hardware. This culminated in the introduction of Trillium, the next generation of TPUs. These advancements lay the foundation for groundbreaking AI applications and experiences.

The company also emphasised its responsible approach to AI development by introducing AI-assisted red teaming and expanding SynthID for identifying AI-generated content. These initiatives aim to ensure that AI technologies are developed and deployed ethically, prioritising user privacy and safety.

Lastly, the tech company expressed gratitude to its developer community for their contributions and highlighted their collaborative efforts in advancing AI technology.

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