Google are making quite big advancements, one of which you’ll be able to view businesses from street level and pull the business listing via your camera, potentially making Google reviews even more accessible!
So what was announced at Google’s annual developer conference this week?
It will be a while before Google Lens is available – but it can work out what’s in an image, and then carry out an action such as connecting to wifi
The app uses image recognition to identify objects appearing in your camera lens in real-time. It means you can point a smartphone at a flower and be told exactly what it is. You can even point it at the sticker on the back of a wifi router – the one containing the long password you need to enter – and the app will know it’s a wifi password and automatically connect you to the network without the need for manual input, how clever is that! Other uses could be pointing it at a restaurant and getting instant reviews or menus, or even scanning a menu in a different language, having it translated, and being able to ask “what does that dish look like?” and be shown a photograph of the meal.
HTC is working on a standalone headset that will work with Google Daydream
Google announced its Daydream virtual reality (VR) platform last year, along with a headset that you could slip a smartphone in to create a budget VR experience. Google also announced it would be launching two standalone Daydream headsets that wouldn’t require you to add a smartphone in order to make it work.
Google’s Photo app now has 500 million users, its secret to success being the use of machine learning to sort through your pictures and understand what they contain – such as seeing a birthday cake and grouping pictures from the same day as “birthday party”. The next step is to help you share your pictures more easily. Using facial recognition, Google Photos will now spot, say, your mate Bob and automatically suggest you send the picture, or a group of them, straight to Bob. The idea is to remove a little of the friction with photo-sharing. Using machine learning and AI the app will also remove unwanted objects from pictures, for when something ugly spoils a good shot.
Most of us are familiar with GPS – global positioning system – but that technology can only get you so far. Though terrific for travelling around large areas outside, GPS has real limitations when you need something more accurate. Google thinks VPS – visual positioning system – is how to fill that gap. Using Tango, a 3D visualisation technology, VPS looks for recognisable objects around you to work out where you are, with an accuracy of a few centimetres.
Google Home, the company’s standalone assistant, has made a modest start but still lags behind Amazon’s Alexa device. Google announced a few new features designed to plug that gap. First is calling – you can now make phone calls using the Home, and its voice recognition capabilities make it possible for different family members to call from their own separate numbers through the same Home device. The device will also now offer proactive information, rather than just answers to questions you have asked. The example given on stage was a warning about heavy traffic – by referencing Google Calendar the assistant was able to know that the user needed to be somewhere at a certain time, and that traffic on the way was heavy.
An interesting read: www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-39958028
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