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#368850 - 17/05/2017 17:36 Google IO 2017 keynote announcements
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
New stuff from the keynote:

. Cloud AI services, petaflops worth of neural network training and execution in second-generation tensor processors, including a potentially game-changing "AutoML" that will try huge numbers of different neural network configurations to figure out what gets you the best prediction rates. I know damn near nothing about machine learning except to know that you really need to know what you're doing when building the models. If they actually manage to make this easier for non-experts, it will be a very big deal. Also, they're giving away free cycles to academics who want to use it.

. Souped up Google Assistant, merging vision features (Google Lens: "Hey what's that?"), and other context like your location. Also now coming to the iPhone and with support for a bunch of languages. And an SDK so you can integrate it elsewhere. Google is clearly gunning for the Amazon Echo here in all kinds of ways, including their own features and 3rd party APIs. Oh, and they also tossed in free phone calling (U.S. and Canada) with optional spoofing of your caller-ID. And some clever integration with a Chromecast. You talk to the Google Home, it tells your Chromecast to show things.

Amazingly, despite the livecast having a zillion "Ok Google" sounds, not once did my phone trigger. I wonder if they've special-cased this.

. Souped up Google Photos. I already like it. I've been pondering uploading my full Lightroom catalog, just to make it easier to query (and as an oh-shit backup). Now, they're adding logic to try to automatically pick the best photos, figure out who's in them, and offer to share the pictures with them, all at once ("Suggested Sharing" and "Shared Libraries"). Nifty. Also, "Google Photo Books" -- automatically picking and arranging photos for printing in books, for which there was a live demo failure, but the idea makes a lot of sense.

You can really see the impact of Google's "AI ALL THE THINGS" efforts. They're going out of their way to do cool things that others won't easily be able to match. Also, you can see they've thought through the privacy issues, maybe not perfect, but it's clear that there's been attention to the issue.

. YouTube: more goodies on your big screen ("living room products"). 360-degree videos that you can pan with your remote control. Yawn. Also, "Super Chat" so you can pay for badges in livestreamed videos, making more money for a content provider. Umm, okay. And now there's an API for it, so you can get notifications from these paid chat messages and connect them to external whatever. (The porn people are going to love this.)

Was all this YouTube content worthy of the time budget? No.

. Android. There are now 2 billion active Android devices. Yowza. Android Wear: supported by more manufacturers. Android Auto: supporting more cars (and also "Android Car" doing a lot more of the in-car experience, not being described here.) Android TV: a new UI coming. Android Things: stuff to help you build connected devices. "Full launch coming later this year."

. Android "O": Release "later this summer". Picture-in-picture seems to be well executed. "Notification Dots" show up on app icons on the home screen so you know there's a related notification, and the notifications can show up as pop-ups from the app icon rather than needing to pull down the notification shade. Also, username/password "autofill" is now integrated with the Chrome browser cloud backend. (Security? Hopefully.) Clever use of machine learning so when you do text selection on an "entity" (address, phone number, etc.) it auto-expands the text selection to the whole entity; entirely on-phone. This I like. Also, "TensorFlow Lite", for doing ML on the phone. Also, "Vitals": better battery life and supposedly better security (mostly running inside the app store, but now more visible on the client side). Also, yet another improved garbage collector. Most useful is some sort of performance profiler integrated with the app store that tells you about what's happening out there in the world of people using your app. Also a better local profiler in Android Studio.

. Oooh, Kotlin is now an officially supported Android programming language. Kotlin already supported Android well, so this isn't a major big change, but Google is "partnering" with JetBrains on this.

. "Android Go": New "data management" to make Android work better in constrained data environments (think: 3rd world countries on pre-paid plans). Among other things, they've got an API to make it easy for users to "top up" their accounts. This also shows up in various apps like YouTube, which has an offline mode now. They'll highlight apps on the store that follow "Building for Billions" configuration guidelines.

I'm very curious what this Kotlin thing is about. I suspect this is a big piece of Google's "oh shit, what if Oracle manages to screw us on Java" story. JetBrains is already working on an LLVM backend for Kotlin. You can now see a path for Google getting completely away from Java on Android. If Apple could roll out Swift on top of Objective C so well, Google can do the same with Kotlin.

. Virtual reality / augmented reality: "Daydream" support in Samsung Galaxy S8 and the upcoming LG flagship. Also coming, "standalone VR" headsets that have everything built-in, rather than slapping your phone into the front. Better optics. Better motion tracking. Devices coming "later this year". Also, a second-generation Tango phone (with stereo cameras, etc.) coming "this summer". Notably, they've got a "visual positioning service" that uses cameras and known landmarks to localize the phone within "a few centimeters". The given example is helping you find a shelf in a store.

I'm intrigued by Tango phones going from research into something more like production. VR has always made me seasick, so maybe this dedicated hardware will be low-enough latency to fix that. It's probably not going to be cheap.

At the end, Sundar Pichai announced some kind of job matching AI (i.e., connecting job seekers to employers). It's also built into the Google search engine.

AI people who worry about "the singularity" have talked a lot about the obsolescence of work. It's curious that Google is trying to help people find jobs, using AI to do it.

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#368851 - 17/05/2017 21:13 Re: Google IO 2017 keynote announcements [Re: DWallach]
DWallach
carpal tunnel

Registered: 30/04/2000
Posts: 3653
A very big deal: Android "O" now officially supports color profiles. This means that OLED screens with their wide color gamut will now have "normal" appearing colors, unless an app really wants to use AdobeRGB or whatnot. This makes me very happy.

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