Google is currently in the middle of its annual I/O event, at which it usually makes announcements of new technologies and developments.
Central to the company’s plans going forward seems to be artificial intelligence, which will eventually permeate most if not all of its products and services.
Virtual assistants, about which more below, is just one area in which Google is competing for pre-eminence. Of course it already owns the web search market, and is doing rather well in many others.
Here’s some of the big announcements Google CEO Sundar Pichai revealed on the first day, as reported by TechCrunch.com:
- Google Drive currently has 800 million monthly active users;
- 2 billion people are using Android devices of one type or another;
- When you point your phone camera at something, Google Lens will be able to identify what that something is;
- The company is launching a separate AI research and development unit called Google.ai;
- Tensor processors now deliver up to 180 teraflops of performance;
- Google Assistant is more talkative and is now on more than 100 million Android devices, as well as on iPhone;
- The second version of Google Home is out, and is ready to take on Amazon Echo and anything Apple might launch;
- Android O is out – that’s the new version of the mobile device operating system;
- Google is adding support for a computer language called Kotlin, which is said to “a more modern coding language” by TechCrunch; and
- Google search now has a jobs section – Google for Jobs.
There were plenty of other announcements but those seem to be the main ones.
Another that TechCrunch mentioned indirectly was virtual reality. Daydream VR is part of Google’s Project Tango, and uses a technology called VPS – which is like GPS except it’s for indoors.
VR is probably a technology that will grow in value quite quickly because it’s finding applications in manufacturing and other industrial setting, which may not have been expected.
VR was always seem as being something which appealed to gamers, which it does, but the industrial market is embracing the technology is a big way.
Engineers are using it to show their new machine designs to each other as well as potential clients. Architects may eventually adopt it in a big way too, since that would seem an obvious area for the technology to enhance.
But it seems AI will be at the core of all Google offerings, since it’s difficult to see how so much data – which images alway generates – can be processed and presented with it.
Meanwhile, the virtual digital assistant install base is set to exceed 7.5 billion active devices by 2021, which is more than the world population according to the US Census Bureau on May 1, 2017.
Google Assistant will dominate the voice AI–capable device market with 23.3 per cent market share, followed by Samsung’s Bixby (14.5 per cent), Apple’s Siri (13.1 per cent), Amazon’s Alexa (3.9 per cent), and Microsoft’s Cortana (2.3 per cent).
Ovum’s Digital Assistant and Voice AI–Capable Device Forecast: 2016–21 found that smartphones and tablets clearly lead the voice AI–capable device market, with 3.5 billion active devices in 2016, most of which use Google Now and Apple Siri.
However, the use of AI in conjunction with other devices greatly increases consumer engagement and is set to unlock new opportunities, particularly in the home.
Ovum expects an exponential uptake of voice AI capabilities among new devices, including wearable, smart home, and TV devices, with a combined installed base of 1.63 billion active devices in 2021, a tenfold increase on 2016.
Despite all the hype that surrounds AI-capable connected speakers, TV devices – such as smart TVs, set-top boxes, and media streamers – offer a larger opportunity, accounting for 57 per cent of that installed base in 2021.