ICYMI: Google held its annual keynote event last week at the Google I/O 2019. The tech giant made some pretty big announcements that are shaking up the Android/Google ecosystem.

So that you don’t have to, we sat through the entire Google live stream to give you 5 of the most exciting updates. The tech firm really brought out the big guns this time, and Apple‘s going to have a lot to deliver next month.

01: Google’s new, mid-range Pixel 3a & 3A XL

Image credit: Google

The biggest highlight at Google I/O 2019 had to be the unveiling of the Pixel 3a & 3a XL.

We were reminded of the iPhone 5C, SE as well as the latest XR — flagship phones with variants more accessible in price point.

For a 2019 smartphone, certain specs are a must-have to the average consumer, and not every brand gets it right with a mid-range price point to meet.

THE GOOD: The newest Pixel retains its iconic camera, featuring Super Res Zoom, Night Sight and Portrait Mode for both front and rear-facing cameras. Even the headphone jack is back — something wired-device users will be happy to hear.

THE BAD: To justify the much lower price point (starting from US$399), you’ll have to live with a mid-tier Snapdragon 670 processor; there aren’t wireless charging nor IP certifications, too – so no coming back from a drop in the pool.


02: A smarter home with Google Nest Hub MAx

Image credit: Google

Google is rebranding its smart home devices with the Nest name, birthing its latest product called the Nest Hub Max.

Essentially, it is a combination of the Google Home Hub and the Google Home Max but with a really smart Nest camera installed.

This camera recognises different users in the home and harnesses more intelligent voice and face features to show personalised information, like your daily appointments and music recommendations.

When doubling as your kitchen TV, simply raising your hand is enough to lower the volume — no “Ok Google” needed.

Security features are also ramped up — there is a physical switch that cuts off the electronics entirely, so there’s no worry about a compromise of privacy.

03: Dark mode in THE NEW Android Q

Image credit: Android Developers

Android has some quirky software names, but Google’s new Android release is the Android Q — no candy names this time.

The newest version comes with a multitude of updates, including Dark Mode browsing for mobile, a Focus Mode to keep out distractions from your most active apps, an Incognito mode for Maps as well as a live caption system for your videos.

Its beta platform is now available on select smartphones like the Pixel, Nokia and Oneplus.

04: a better dining experience with google lens

Image credit: Google

We’re particularly excited about the latest update to Google Lens, using image recognition to deliver new information based on what your camera sees.

Simply snap a picture and you’ll get all the information you need with translation, text to speech and search functions; but that’s not all.
Your dining experience is about to change. One snap of your receipt with Google Lens will tell you how to split the bill with your friends and also how much to tip.
You can also search for exact items on a restaurant’s menu and photos of the said dish will appear — brilliant for checking out new dining haunts.

05: Let Google Duplex do more work for you

Image credit: Google

No more filling out forms on your own. At the Google I/O 2019 keynote, CEO Sundar Pichai demonstrated the new updates to Google Duplex, its technology first introduced last year.

Simply say “Book a National Car Rental for my next trip” and Google Duplex will pull in your information and fill out the relevant forms — all that’s left for you is to confirm the details.

In essence, the Google Duplex is a revamped AI feature, machine learning that adapts to your input. The more information you give, the more intuitive it becomes.

More details of the Google Duplex will be announced later this year.


This article was first published on Lifestyle Asia KL.

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