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Wait – what is Google I/O?

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I recently have written a lot about developer conferences. Snapchat, Facebook, and we even have Apple’s WWDC coming up soon. Google I/O is simply Google’s time to shine (a.k.a. tell you what all they’re up to). This happened from May 7 to May 9 of this year.

Now, could you simply watch the entire keynote instead of reading this blog post? Yes. Are you going to? Probably not, it’s almost 2 hours long. But hey, if you have the time, be my guest. If not, let me tell you what to look forward to.


Google I/O: Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

Google Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

This could use a whole blog post in and of itself, but I’m about to summarize it for you.

The Pixel 3a (and XL) are essentially the affordable versions of the Pixel 3 (and XL). Think of it as the iPhone XR to the iPhone XS. With 4GB ram and 64GB storage space, this $399 phone (yes, ONLY $399 in today’s day and age. The audacity!) has a very similar design to the Pixel 3; except, the 3a uses plastic whereas the Pixel 3 is glass. And yes, it has a headphone jack. Shocking, really.

The Pixel 3a has a 5.6 inch display, and the 3a XL ($479) is 6 inches. Both phones have a 12.2MP rear camera and an 8MP selfie-cam with a few tiny special features (image stablization, etc.). There’s also a “Night Sight” mode which Google’s proud of, which apparently makes your dark pictures very … non dark.

  • Available in black, white, or purple…ish.
  • Not water resistant.
  • No wireless charging.

Google I/O: Google Nest Hub Max

Google Nest Hub Max

So Google Home Hub is essentially going to be called Nest Hub now, and what you’re seeing now is the bigger version of it (Nest Hub Max). This $229 dollar, 10 inch-display device, has a security camera, a smart display (with a ton of AI) and is a speaker.

Most notable feature is its facial recognition, that essentially detects who’s in front of the camera and pulls up their respective information, i.e.:

  • Prithvi walks in front of camera – Prithvi’s emails and notifications show up.
  • Dog walks in front of camera – nothing happens because it’s dog. Unless dog were person.
  • Stranger walks in front of camera – the device alerts you because there’s a stranger in front of camera.

Google I/O: Live Caption

Google Live Caption feature

Regardless of if you’re watching your own video, or something online, Google is going to bring close captioning to your devices soon (a.k.a. subtitles on the go).

Google I/O: Google Lens 2.0

Google Lens viewing recipe for a meal

You already know about Google Lens, right? An image recognition technology that allows you to translate text in real time, look up dishes-on-a-menu on your phone (through the lens, obviously), and even explore nearby landmarks.

My favourite new feature has to be being able to point your camera at a bill and have it split the bill or calculate a tip!


Other things to note:

  • Google Stadia
  • Incognito Maps: essentially a “private browsing” mode but for your Google Maps app.
    • And Google Maps AR!
  • Focus mode: allows you to make a list of all the apps on your phone that tend to distract you the most (i.e. social media), and once you switch Focus Mode on, these apps will be unavailable.

These are only a few of the many features announced, but my favourite from the bunch!