The Google I / O conference offers a glimmer of vision for the future

SAN FRANCISCO – There was a time when Google offered a wonderful vision of the future, with driverless cars, augmented reality glasses, unlimited email and photo storage, and predictive text to complete the sentence in progress.

Gentle Google revealed on Wednesday that the company is launching its annual developer conference. Google of 2022 is smarter and more understandable – more like a business-focused competitor at Microsoft than an imaginative playground for tech enthusiasts.

And that, by all appearances, is by design. Bold vision is still there – but it is a long way off. The professional executives who now run Google are focused on raising money from their research and development spending over those years.

The company’s biggest bet on artificial intelligence does not, at least for now, mean live science fiction. It means sensitive changes to existing products.

“AI is improving our product, making it more usable, more accessible, and offering innovative new features for everyone,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday.

In a short presentation of wow times, Google emphasized that its products were “useful.” In fact, Google executives used the words “help,” “help,” or “help” more than 50 times during the two hours of speeches, including marketing campaigns for its new hardware product: “When it comes to help, we can not help but help.”

It has introduced a cheaper version of the Pixel smartphone, a smartwatch with a round screen and a new tablet coming next year. (“The most useful tablet in the world.”)

The biggest applause came from a new feature in Google Docs that the company’s artificial intelligence algorithm would automatically summarize long documents into a single paragraph.

At the same time, it is not immediately clear whether other basic working methods, such as language formats that better understand natural conversation or can break tasks into smaller, logical steps, will eventually lead to the next generation of computing that Google has. touted.

Certainly some new ideas seem useful. In a demonstration of how Google continues to improve its search technology, the company unveiled a feature called “multisearch,” which allows users to take a photo of a shelf full of chocolates and then search for the best-reviewed dark chocolate bar without a grain. picture.

In another example, Google showed you how you can find pictures of a particular food, such as Korean fried noodles, and then find a nearby restaurant that serves that food.

Many of those capabilities are driven by the deep technological work that Google has been doing for years using so-called machine learning, image recognition, and natural language comprehension. It is a sign of more evolution than revolution for Google and other tech giants.

Many companies have been able to make digital services easier and faster in the past because of shared technologies such as cloud computing and repositories, but building infrastructure such as artificial intelligence models – is more expensive and time consuming than only the richest companies can build. Invest in them.

As with frequent Google events, the company does not take a little time to explain how to make money. Google brought in an ad headline – which still accounts for 80 percent of the company’s revenue – after an hour of other announcements, pointing to a new feature called My Ad Center. It allows users to request fewer ads from certain brands or focus on topics they would like to see more ads for.

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