Google I/O 2023 was Google’s most consequential I/O yet. In a year when critics are questioning if Google’s “still got it,” and in a year when Google seems to be falling behind AI competitors like OpenAI and Microsoft, Google needed to throw down the proverbial gauntlet and let the world know why it has been a tech giant for nearly three decades.
One thing is certain: Google gave us plenty to talk about at I/O ’23. Here’s what was announced in Mountain View.
Google Is All-In on AI
Google had roughly 100 announcements up its sleeve at Google I/O ’23. So it’s notable it spent 90 of the 120 minutes of the big show explaining its AI roadmap, like the new large language model (LLM), PaLM 2. Google not only showcased its latest tech, but also detailed how it wants it to impact our daily lives. Below are a few of Google’s AI announcements that really perked our ears.
Immersive View in Google Maps
Google Maps is convenient, but it’s always lacked context. Immersive View aims to fill in those gaps by zooming in on your route.
With Immersive View, you can zoom into a space at tree level and navigate a 3D-generated route of the area. Immersive View also gives accurate representations of the weather now and in the future. Google Maps’ hot new feature will be available for 15 cities by the end of the Summer; New York City, Tokyo, and London by the end of 2023.
Magic Editor in Google Photos
Magic Eraser erases objects like they were never there. Now, Google is taking that same concept and applying it to a photo editing tool called Magic Editor. It’s now possible to remove entire assets from images, like that embarrassing fanny pack you thought was fashionable.
Have a cool image that was cut off? Re-center the image, and Magic Editor will automatically fill in the missing imagery. You can also fix the sky, the colors, and almost anything else.
Magic Editor is Magic Eraser taken to the next level. It’s a part of Google Photos and will launch first on select Pixels late in 2023.
Bard’s Newest Feature: Practicality
Again, Bard didn’t show us anything we haven’t seen before with other generative AI chatbots. But Google I/O ’23 showcased a tizzy of new tools and features coming to Bard, like third-party support with services like Adobe Firefly and Instacart, and Image Prompting, a tool that lets you create prompts from existing images, and extract descriptions and details about the image you’re looking at.
So if you want to know what that mysterious dish was that you ate at the corner market, in theory, Bard’s image prompt could tell you the name of the food and how to cook it.
Google Search Gets a Makeover for Its AI Snapshot
If you want proof that generative AI is transforming Google Search, look no further than Search’s AI snapshot. If it works as well as the demo, it will be a welcomed change. Just one part of Google’s Search Generative Experience, AI snapshot will show a summary of your query, complete with resources and sources that corroborate the answer.
Want to try it out? Here’s how to sign up for Google’s AI-powered search experience.
The Pixel Fold Looked Sharp (but the Price Will Cut You)
The Pixel Fold more than wowed at I/O ’23. One look at the phone, and it’s easy to see how the best features of the Pixel Fold—like the stainless steel hinge and thin profile—command the steep $1799 price of admission for diehard Pixel fanatics.
But it doesn’t just have looks like slice and dice. The Pixel Fold also comes with five years of software updates and a machine learning-capable chip by way of Google’s Tensor G2 processor. It’s a top-shelf premium phone that’s also designed for longevity.
The Pixel Fold is available for pre-order, and will officially release June 2023.
Google Unveils Its Newest Mid-Ranger, the Pixel 7a
If the hit-the-bricks $1799 price tag of the Google Pixel Fold is too much to handle, consider the other phone announced at I/O ’23: the Pixel 7a!
The Pixel 7a offers many of the same features as the Pixel 7 at a lower price of $499. It comes with a few tradeoffs compared to its Pixel 7/7 Pro counterparts, such as slightly slower charging times. Other than that, it’s the same darn phone in a smaller package. If you don’t mind 2022’s flavor, the Pixel 7a more than suffices and is available now.
The Pixel Tablet Wants to Be the Family Computer of the ‘20s
Where do tablets fit into our daily lives now that foldables like the Pixel Fold exist?
Google seems to think that the tablet should be the hub of the household; seen and used by everyone. It feels reminiscent of the role of the family computer pre-smartphones: not exactly the entertainment centerpiece of the living room, but a worthy sidepiece.
User profiles let everyone in a household use their own privacy and security options. Chromecast options let anyone fling their own media. And with the Charging Speaker Dock, you can carry the Pixel tablet and use it at will in the kitchen, bedroom, etc. But is there a place for it today? Time will tell.
The Pixel Tablet costs $499, is available for pre-order, and will begin shipping in June 2023.
There Was So Much Big News at Google I/O ’23, We Couldn’t Possibly List Everything!
Google packed so much new information into Google I/O ’23 that it was overwhelming. But know this: AI is at the forefront of everything Google does going forward. What that future will look like is anyone’s guess. But it all started here, at Google I/O ’23.