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Google’s biggest announcements at I/O 2022

Google’s biggest announcements at I/O 2022

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All the Pixels

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Google has wrapped up its two-hour-long I/O keynote, which was absolutely packed with news. We heard about AI, Android, and, of course, a plethora of Pixel hardware. Here are the biggest announcements we saw on Wednesday.

Google isn’t bumping the price of its A lineup.
Google isn’t bumping the price of its A lineup.
Image: Google

The Pixel 6A features Google’s flagship chip but not its best camera

Google announced its new mid-tier phone, the Pixel 6A, which will cost $449 when it’s available for preorder on July 21st. The company seems to be flipping its usual script for this phone — previous A models have featured a camera comparable to the one found on Google’s flagship Pixels but had weaker processors. The 6A, though, has the Pixel 6’s Tensor chip and design but opts for a 12-megapixel camera versus the 50MP one on the standard 6.

Oh, and despite the fact that Google released a two-minute ad about the Pixel 5A’s headphone jack last year, the 6A doesn’t have one. Womp womp.

Hey, look at that. The screen is on.
Hey, look at that. The screen is on.
Image: Google

The Pixel Watch is coming later this year

The Pixel Watch’s hardware was thoroughly leaked, so it’s no surprise that it’s showing up on this list, but Google’s finally given us a look at what the software will be like. The wearable will run an updated version of Wear OS 3 and will feature a Fitbit integration that lets you keep track of your health metrics. There are still some unanswered (and very important) questions about the watch, though: we don’t know what kind of chip it’ll be powered by nor do we know how much it’ll cost. It’s slated to launch later this fall alongside the Pixel 7.

Wait, Pixel 7?

Oh right. Yes, Google teased the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro with a few renders, showing that the phones will have some slightly different camera cutouts and back panel. Like Google’s current Pixels, the 7 and 7 Pro will have two and three cameras, respectively. The pink color will apparently be gone, though, so I’ll never be happy again.

Google’s Pixel Buds Pro have active noise cancellation

Let’s not beat around the bush here: Google has announced its version of Apple’s AirPods Pro. The Pixel Buds Pro will cost $199, feature active noise cancellation, and have an estimated seven hours of battery life when you’re using ANC. Google says the Buds have a custom audio chip and that they’ll support Bluetooth multipoint, letting them connect to two devices at once. That’s a neat trick and one that’s not particularly common in the earbud world. They’ll also come in several colors, including black, red, and green, and will be available to preorder on July 21st.

A preview of the Pixel tablet coming next year.
A preview of the Pixel tablet coming next year.
Image: Google

A Tensor-powered tablet is coming

Google announced that it plans to release an Android-powered tablet next year to act as a “perfect companion for Pixel with a larger form factor.” The writing for this one has been on the wall for a while. (Android 12L focused on large-screen experiences, and there have been some tablet-related hires over in Mountain View.) But it’s good to hear that Google is looking to get into tablets again. The only real hardware detail we have about Google’s upcoming device is that it’ll have a Tensor chip in it.

Google Glass 2?
Google Glass 2?
Image: Google

Google’s working on AR Glasses

Right at the end of its presentation, Google showed off a pair of AR glasses that were capable of real-time translation during a conversation. There are pretty much no details on whether this will be a product people can buy, but it’s certainly interesting to see more hints of Google’s plan for joining companies like Snap and Meta in the race to put AR on your face.

Google Lens will be able to help you pick out chocolate.
Google Lens will be able to help you pick out chocolate.
Image: Google

Google’s AI power is growing

As is often the case, Google’s I/O presentation was chock-full of AI news. Perhaps the biggest is that it’s going to start letting people test its language model. Not just anyone will be able to try out LaMDA 2, but eventually, Google hopes to bring the tech to search and its other products (though it wants to do so very slowly).

There were a bunch of smaller AI-related stories as well. Google announced that its auto-generated translations are coming to YouTube on mobile, that you’ll be able to just look at your Nest Hub Max and start talking to the assistant, and that your phone will be able to look at a shelf full of chocolate bars and pick one out for you based on what you’re looking for. That last one Google described as “a supercharged Ctrl-F for the world around you.”

The company’s also expanding its multisearch feature, which lets you search along multiple axes. For example, you can give Google a picture of a specific type of cuisine you’re looking for and ask it where you can find that nearby.

Google tries to show it’s serious about user privacy

Google had a whole set of security and privacy announcements, including plans for the My Ad Center interface: a hub that will let users customize the types of ads they see by selecting from a range of topics they are interested in or opt to see fewer ads on a given topic. It also said the company is focused on implementing additional security features for its products by default, in addition to the concept of “protected computing” to do more processing on-device rather than sending data elsewhere.

The next version of Android is available in Beta today.
The next version of Android is available in Beta today.
Image: Google

Android 13 doubles down on Android 12’s features

Google went over its plans for Android 13, and the next version of its mobile OS seems to be going further with the ideas introduced in Android 12. The company is adding Material You themes to more places, letting you set apps to use different languages, and adding a few security and privacy features. That doesn’t add up to an earth-shattering release, but as my colleague Jon Porter points out, that’s probably a good thing. Android 12 has been a bit messy, so a year of refinements and small improvements is probably warranted.

For those who want to try it out, the beta is available today.

Google Wallet is back

Google is bringing back its Wallet app as a place to hold not just your payment cards, but your passes, rewards program memberships, vaccination records, and more. Google says the app is built for the age of digital identity. While I realize that’s probably the future, that knowledge doesn’t make me miss my physical Google Wallet debit card any less.

London is one of the cities Immersive View is debuting in, along with San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
London is one of the cities Immersive View is debuting in, along with San Francisco, New York, Los Angeles, and Tokyo.
Image: Google

Google Maps is getting an “Immersive View”

Google’s adding a new mode to Maps, which is basically Street View from the sky — in select cities, you’ll be able to get an overview of a location to get a better view of the geography before getting lost in the streets below.

Update May 11th, 3:25PM ET: Added Google’s surprise AR glasses preview.

Today’s Storystream

Feed refreshed 54 minutes ago Dimorphos didn’t even see it coming

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Thomas Ricker54 minutes ago
Check out this delightful DART Easter egg.

Just Google for “NASA DART.” You’re welcome.


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Twitter
Richard Lawler12:00 AM UTC
A direct strike at 14,000 mph.

The Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) scored a hit on the asteroid Dimorphos, but as Mary Beth Griggs explains, the real science work is just beginning.

Now planetary scientists will wait to see how the impact changed the asteroid’s orbit, and to download pictures from DART’s LICIACube satellite which had a front-row seat to the crash.


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The Verge
We’re about an hour away from a space crash.

At 7:14PM ET, a NASA spacecraft is going to smash into an asteroid! Coverage of the collision — called the Double Asteroid Redirection Test — is now live.


Asian America learns how to hit back

The desperate, confused, righteous campaign to stop Asian hate

Esther WangSep 26
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Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
There’s a surprise in the sky tonight.

Jupiter will be about 367 million miles away from Earth this evening. While that may seem like a long way, it’s the closest it’s been to our home planet since 1963.

During this time, Jupiter will be visible to the naked eye (but binoculars can help). You can check where and when you can get a glimpse of the gas giant from this website.


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Twitter
Emma RothSep 26
Missing classic Mario?

One fan, who goes by the name Metroid Mike 64 on Twitter, just built a full-on 2D Mario game inside Super Mario Maker 2 complete with 40 levels and eight worlds.

Looking at the gameplay shared on Twitter is enough to make me want to break out my SNES, or at least buy Super Mario Maker 2 so I can play this epic retro revamp.


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Russell BrandomSep 26
The US might still force TikTok into a data security deal with Oracle.

The New York Times says the White House is still working on TikTok’s Trump-era data security deal, which has been in a weird limbo for nearly two years now. The terms are basically the same: Oracle plays babysitter but the app doesn’t get banned. Maybe it will happen now, though?


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Youtube
Richard LawlerSep 26
Don’t miss this dive into Guillermo del Toro’s stop-motion Pinocchio flick.

Andrew Webster and Charles Pulliam-Moore covered Netflix’s Tudum reveals (yes, it’s going to keep using that brand name) over the weekend as the streamer showed off things that haven’t been canceled yet.

Beyond The Way of the Househusband season two news and timing information about two The Witcher projects, you should make time for this incredible behind-the-scenes video showing the process of making Pinocchio.


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Russell BrandomSep 26
Edward Snowden has been granted Russian citizenship.

The NSA whistleblower has been living in Russia for the 9 years — first as a refugee, then on a series of temporary residency permits. He applied for Russian citizenship in November 2020, but has said he won’t renounce his status as a U.S. citizen.


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Emma RothSep 26
Netflix’s gaming bet gets even bigger.

Even though fewer than one percent of Netflix subscribers have tried its mobile games, Netflix just opened up another studio in Finland after acquiring the Helsinki-based Next Games earlier this year.

The former vice president of Zynga Games, Marko Lastikka, will serve as the studio director. His track record includes working on SimCity BuildIt for EA and FarmVille 3.


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Vietnam’s EV aspirant is giving big Potemkin village vibes

Idle equipment, absent workers, deserted villages, an empty swimming pool. VinFast is Vietnam’s answer to Tesla, with the goal of making 1 million EVs in the next 5-6 years to sell to customers US, Canada and Europe. With these lofty goals, the company invited a bunch of social media influencers, as well as some auto journalists, on a “a four-day, multicity extravaganza” that seemed more weird than convincing, according to Bloomberg.


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James VincentSep 26
Today, 39 years ago, the world didn’t end.

And it’s thanks to one man: Stanislav Petrov, a USSR military officer who, on September 26th, 1983, took the decision not to launch a retaliatory nuclear attack against the US. Petrov correctly guessed that satellite readings showing inbound nukes were faulty, and so likely saved the world from nuclear war. As journalist Tom Chivers put it on Twitter, “Happy Stanislav Petrov Day to those who celebrate!” Read more about Petrov’s life here.


Soviet Colonel who prevented 1983 nuclear response
Photo by Scott Peterson/Getty Images
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The Verge
James VincentSep 26
Deepfakes were made for Disney.

You might have seen the news this weekend that the voice of James Earl Jones is being cloned using AI so his performance as Darth Vader in Star Wars can live on forever.

Reading the story, it struck me how perfect deepfakes are for Disney — a company that profits from original characters, fans' nostalgia, and an uncanny ability to twist copyright law to its liking. And now, with deepfakes, Disney’s most iconic performances will live on forever, ensuring the magic never dies.


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Hurricane Fiona ratcheted up tensions about crypto bros in Puerto Rico.

“An official emergency has been declared, which means in the tax program, your physical presence time is suspended,” a crypto investor posted on TikTok. “So I am headed out of the island.” Perhaps predictably, locals are furious.


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The Verge
Richard LawlerSep 26
Teen hacking suspect linked to GTA 6 leak and Uber security breach charged in London.

City of London police tweeted Saturday that the teenager arrested on suspicion of hacking has been charged with “two counts of breach of bail conditions and two counts of computer misuse.”

They haven’t confirmed any connection with the GTA 6 leak or Uber hack, but the details line up with those incidents, as well as a suspect arrested this spring for the Lapsus$ breaches.