Google I/O conference showcases futuristic technology related to machine learning
Alphabet Inc. (NASDAQ: GOOG), the parent company of Google Inc., has released a gamut of new technology-based offerings at the Google I/O conference held in San Francisco, California, on May 18-20th 2016. Many of the new offerings have integrated artificial intelligence to outwit similar products made by rival technology firms. A few examples of the awesome stuff showcased are: Google Home, a voice-controlled device that is similar to Amazon.com Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AMZN) Echo; Allo and Duo, two new messaging apps incorporating artificial intelligence, built to potentially compete with Facebook Inc.’s (NASDAQ: FB) popular Messenger and WhatsApp messaging apps; and a new VR headset called Daydream (along with a new VR section for Play).
Google also displayed some new features for the upcoming Android N operating system; an overhaul of the Android Wear ecosystem; updates to Android Auto; and some new tricks for Google Pay. The Company also touted a new software set for release later this year, dubbed Google assistant, which is akin to Apple Inc.’s (NASDAQ: AAPL) Siri virtual assistant that comes with the iPhone.
New products reflect push into machine learning
Google’s new offerings come with artificial intelligence integration, which enables software to reason and to learn new skills and applications that would not have been possible by merely programming computers with instructions. For example, Google said it would incorporate the assistant technology into Allo, a new messaging app that could potentially compete with the likes of Whatsapp. Users will also be able to request services like booking movie tickets through Allo. Google’s researchers are increasingly using machine learning to enable computers to “teach” themselves new skills by reviewing data sets. This in turn would enable computers to understand speech and interpret the meaning of users’ queries and commands.
Recently, Google started building its own specialized chips to expedite the machine learning algorithms. These so-called Tensor Processing Units (TPUs) are custom-built chips that Google has now been using in its own data centers for almost a year. Google has also managed to speed up the machine learning algorithms with these TPUs. The Company decided to build these application-specific chips because it was looking to enhance efficiency.
Last year, machine learning helped computers recognize images more accurately than humans for the first time. At the conference, Chief Executive Officer Sundar Pichai said that Google’s software had learned how to recognize eye disease in scans. Amazing indeed!
Following the Android approach
Google also announced new virtual reality (VR) software called Daydream, which it said will allow developers to build virtual-reality apps and experiences that will work on a variety of VR headsets. Not surprisingly, Google is also giving manufacturers reference designs for virtual-reality headsets and controllers. This approach closely follows Google’s strategy with its Android mobile-operating system that powers the majority of the world’s smartphones. As with Android, Google is teaching phone makers how to configure their devices to support Daydream.
Google also provided details about its coming version of Android, which has more than 250 new features. Many changes will be focused on making Android perform faster across a wider range of smartphones. This strategy will again put Google in the frontiers of an emerging technology in the years to come. Google’s mission “to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful” is now truer and more important than ever before!