Which technology would be the next Google

Google shows dialogue with computers and video communication of the future

Berlin - Talking devices have long become an integral part of everyday life. In the car, nobody is surprised when the navigation system makes recommendations as to where the driver should turn. And Alexa or Siri can now answer simple everyday questions. At Google, developers have reached a new level. The software responds intuitively, based on existing information, without any instructions from the programmer. This is how Google boss Sundar Pichai described it in his presentation.

Pichai made the result clear with an example. The interlocutor was not a fictional person, but the planet Pluto. "What would I see if I visited you?" Asked the spokeswoman. Pluto's response: “You would see massive canyons, frozen icebergs, geysers and some craters.” Response from the speaker: “That sounds great.” Pluto's response: “I can assure you that the trip would be worth it. But whatever, think of a warm coat, because it will be cold. "Answer of the speaker:" I'll keep that in mind, but have one more question: Have there ever been visitors to Pluto? "Pluto again:" Yes, there were some. Particularly noteworthy was 'New Horizons', the space probe that visited me. "

Then it's back to Google boss Pichai. He explains the technical background, describes how the software was trained to actually respond spontaneously and in context. These are the prerequisites for an open conversation, says Pichai. However, the project is still in the development phase; answers were also shown during the presentation that make no sense. Where will the new communication technology, called LaMDA, lead in the next few years? "We believe LaMDA will make information more accessible and computers easier to control," said Pichai.

It is quite possible that the technology can be used wherever simple conversation takes place. Call and service centers are conceivable areas of application. In general, the concern of the company is to make its knowledge of the world as a whole increasingly useful through language. In the future, it should be enough to tell the map service that you would like to take a route with a beautiful view of mountains on the way to your destination, so that a corresponding route can be selected.

Artificial intelligence is also used in “Project Starline”, with which Google wants to revolutionize video conversations. With the system, people and lighting conditions are recorded by more than a dozen cameras and sensors. The images are transmitted to newly developed screens, which are supposed to reproduce details in a particularly realistic manner. A journalist from Wired magazine, who was able to test the system in advance, confirmed the impression that the person you were talking to was sitting across from you. At the same time, the effect diminishes as soon as you do not look at the display from the right place, which limits it. According to Google, the technology has been worked on for several years - and more years of development are needed.

At the same time, Google gave an outlook on the next version of the dominant smartphone system Android at its developer conference Google I / O. Google introduced the current interface, "Material Design", back in 2014. It should now give way to the new "Material You" in autumn and be used for the first time in Android 12. In addition to the new design, Android 12 also brings new options when it comes to protecting your own data. A new privacy dashboard provides an overview of the authorization settings and provides detailed information about which apps have accessed which data and how often. App authorizations can then also be withdrawn directly in the dashboard if necessary. With the approximate location, Google is also introducing a new authorization category for apps that require the location, but not the exact one, only the approximate one. An application example for the approximate location would be weather apps.

The aspect of data security also includes the option of deleting the search request history from the past 15 minutes. In addition, you will be able to set up individual folders with password protection in the photo app - for example for taking pictures of documents. To better protect privacy, more data processing will take place directly on the smartphone in the future (private compute core), especially when it comes to personal data from the video, audio and language sectors.

The beta version of Android 12 is now available for Pixel smartphones, so that those interested and those keen to experiment can take a look at “Material You” with a Google phone. With a revised color palette and newly designed widgets, the new interface should be more personalized than before.

In view of the corona pandemic, the group organized the conference in an online format this year. In contrast to many other such events, the presentation was not recorded in advance, but broadcast live on Tuesday from a small stage between the buildings of the company's headquarters in California. Some Google employees with masks caused applause from a safe distance from one another as spectators.

Meanwhile, in the computer watch business, Google and Samsung are teaming up to better compete with the market leader Apple Watch. Samsung will no longer equip its next smartwatches with the in-house Tizen operating system, but will switch to Google's Wear OS platform. At the same time, Wear is to be further developed into a comprehensive system with Tizen elements.