What the Tech? How to Use New Google Features
Google this week introduced new features for its Chrome and Android operating systems that will change or improve many of the tech gadgets you use every day.
At its annual I/O developer’s conference, Google CEO Sundar Pichai introduced several Google employees and developers who discussed changes with Google Photos, Pixel phones, Google Maps, Google Lens, and privacy. Even with all of those products, it was a new virtual video call that stole the show.
Google’s Project Starline uses artificial intelligence and 3D to make video calls look and feel like you’re sitting across from the person you’re talking to.
In the demo from the conference, a high-resolution camera captures the shape and appearance of a person from multiple perspectives. Those images are then used to develop a realistic representation of someone sitting right in front of you in three dimensions.
The example shown at the conference was of a man and woman talking in what appeared to be sitting at the same desk in front of blank walls. In actuality, both people were sitting in front of a camera and their faces and bodies were being shown on a screen. Of course, it didn’t look like a screen at all but like the two were in the same room.
Google admits Project Starline is still being developed and is only being used in a couple of offices in its Mountain View, California campus. In a blog post, Google also said the technology is being tested with partners in healthcare and the media.
Among Google’s other announcements:
● Google Lens will be available while looking at Google Photos. By tapping on “Lens”, the software will show the user items in the photo that are for sale on the web. Google’s demo showed how it could be used to find shoes that someone in the picture is wearing and where they can be purchased.
● Google Maps will be updated to show routes that would save fuel.
● Google Maps AR functions will add virtual street signs so that while walking a particular street, images will appear on the screen to help the user better navigate complex intersections.
● Google Maps AR will also work in many places indoors.
● Pixel cameras will more accurately capture high-quality and more realistic images of people with dark skin.
● New privacy feature where Google will automatically delete a user’s activities after 18 months.
● Notify users when one of their passwords has been involved in a third-party breach and help them change the passwords quickly.
● Google Assistant will be more conversational. In the demo, a person could ask Google to find a video on the web and show an exact moment in the video just by asking.
The new features will roll out to Google Chrome and Android operating systems.