Google Maps is getting a whole new experience called “immersive view,” to provide an improved digital model of buildings and streets around the world. The new mode uses advances in computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to deliver a rich viewing experience to users, Google said when announcing the new feature during its keynote I /O 2022 Wednesday. Google also announced the second beta version of Android 13, its next operating system. The company also announced upcoming updates to Google Workspace, including automated transcriptions, portrait lighting, and portrait restoration on Google Meet. Additionally, there have been announcements regarding Google Assistant, YouTube, skin tone representation and others which you will find in detail here.
Google Maps updates
With the “immersive view”, Google Maps helps provide a rich view of a popular neighborhood, landmark, restaurant or place you are looking for. It merges billions of Street View and aerial imagery alongside advances in computer vision and AI to deliver the rich digital model of virtual maps, the company said.
“Whether you’re traveling somewhere new or looking for hidden local gems, the immersive view will help you make the most informed decisions before you go,” Google said.
In addition to the immersive experience, the new view includes the time slider which users can even use to check what the area looks like at different times of the day and in various weather conditions. Users can also swipe down to street level to look at nearby restaurants and see information such as live activity and nearby traffic.
The “immersive view” uses Google Cloud to deliver the digital view to users. Thus, it is device-agnostic and can work with any phone and device, Google said. The experiment first began to roll out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Google Maps is also expanding the eco-route to more places, including Europe. It was launched in the United States and Canada in the recent past and has been used by people to travel 86 billion miles, saving more than half a million metric tons of carbon emissions, Google claimed.
Additionally, Google is making its live view available to developers through the new ARCore geospatial API. It brings augmented reality (AR) to display arrows and directions in addition to real-world visualization to help users navigate indoor areas such as airports, malls, and train stations.
Android 13 Beta 2
Among other announcements, Google during the I/O 2022 mainstream keynote announced the release of Android 13 beta 2. The update will contain a list of enhancements and improvements over the first beta version which debuted for select Pixel devices last month. Google also announced features like a unified security and privacy settings page, a new media control with album artwork, and a new photo image that lets users select the exact photos and videos they want. grant access. Android 13 will also include optimizations for tablets, including better multitasking capabilities and features, including an updated taskbar with the ability to switch the view from a single tablet to a split screen.
Google Meet updates
Google Meet gets Portrait Restoration which uses Google AI to help improve video quality and add enhancements even if a user is sitting in a dimly lit room and using an old webcam or has poor Wi-Fi connectivity. Google said that feature can help improve video automatically.
Along with the portrait restoration feature, Google Meet is getting a portrait light that’s supposed to use machine learning to simulate studio-quality lighting in the video stream. Users can also adjust the position and brightness of the lighting.
Google Meet also gets dereverberation which helps filter out echoes in spaces with hard surfaces using machine learning. The company says the feature helps you sound “like you’re in a conference room with a mic…even if you’re in your basement.”
Additionally, Google Meet gets live sharing to sync content shared in a virtual call and allow participants to control media. Developers can also use live sharing APIs to integrate Meet into their apps.
Google will also bring automated transcription later this year and meeting summaries next year to improve conversations on Google Meet.
Google Workspace updates
Google Workspace gets automated transcriptions from Google Meet to help users transcribe conversations directly into their documents. Google is also extending auto summaries to spaces to provide a summary of long conversations. Auto summaries were introduced to Google Docs earlier this year.
Additionally, Google is adding security protections that were part of Gmail to Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets. The company claimed that these protections will help users prevent opening documents containing phishing links and malware with the help of automatic alerts.
Google Assistant updates
During the I/O 2022 consumer keynote, Google announced Look and Talk which is rolling out in the US on Nest Hub Max to help people access Google Assistant without saying the keyword “OK Google” or ” Hey Google”. Users will only have to look at the screen and then ask what they need. The feature uses Face Match and Voice Match features based on machine learning and artificial intelligence algorithms to recognize users and quickly activate voice interactions. Google said the feature will be available as an opt-in offer.
Once enabled, you can use Look and Talk to interact with Google Assistant by simply looking at your Nest Hub Max screen.
“The video of these interactions is processed entirely on device, so it is not shared with Google or anyone else,” the company said.
Google also noted that the feature works on a range of skin tones and for people from diverse backgrounds.
In addition to Look and Talk, Google is extending Quick Phrases to Nest Hub Max to allow users to skip saying “Hey Google” for their most common daily tasks. This means that you will be able to turn on your bedroom lights by saying “Turn on the living room lights”, without saying the keyword first.
Google Assistant is also getting new speech and language models that can help understand the nuances of human speech — like when someone pauses but hasn’t finished speaking, the company said.
During the I/O keynote, Google announced that it is bringing auto-translated subtitles to YouTube for mobile users to help users view video subtitles in 16 languages. Google will also bring auto-translated captions to all Ukrainian YouTube content next month.
Skin tone updates
Google is launching a new skin tone scale called the Monk Skin Tone Scale (MST) based on research conducted by Harvard professor and sociologist Dr. Ellis Monk. This will help make the spectrum of skin tones more inclusive, the company said.
The new 10-shade skin tone scale will roll out to various Google products over the next few months. Google is also openly releasing the scale to allow others in the tech industry to incorporate a wide range of skin tones into their experiments.
One of the main Google products that will start using the MST scale will be Google Search. It will start showing users an option to help users further refine results by skin tone. Creators, brands, and publishers will also be able to use an inclusive schema to label their content with attributes such as skin tone, hair color, and texture.
Google Photos will also use the MST scale to allow users to enhance their photos using a new set of Real Tone filters. These filters will be rolling out to Google Photos on Android, iOS, and web in the coming weeks.