Google had a lot to prove coming into I/O 2023 — and the company showed up with a ton of AI announcements to show it would be a serious player in the field.
There was a new large language model, AI features in Docs and Sheets, and generative features in Android. And Google demoed a major overhaul to Google Search that puts generative results front and center.
The company also announced a wave of new Pixel devices, including the Pixel Fold, Pixel Tablet, and Pixel 7A.
Read on below for all the details.
Google has announced PaLM 2: its latest AI language model and competitor to rival systems like OpenAI’s GPT-4.Read Article >
“PaLM 2 models are stronger in logic and reasoning, thanks to broad training in logic and reasoning,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai onstage at the company’s I/O conference. “It’s also trained on multilingual text spanning over 100 languages.”
Google is adding a smorgasbord of new features to its AI chatbot Bard, including support for new languages (Japanese and Korean), easier ways to export text to Google Docs and Gmail, visual search, and a dark mode. Most significantly, the company is removing the waitlist for Bard and making the system available in English in 180 countries and territories. It’s also promising future features like AI image generation powered by Adobe and integration with third-party web services like Instacart and OpenTable.Read Article >
Collectively, the news is a shot in the arm for Bard, which was released two months ago for select users in the US and UK. The chatbot — which Google still stresses is an experiment and not a replacement to its search engine — has compared poorly to rivals like OpenAI’s ChatGPT and Microsoft’s new Bing chatbot. Notably, Bard made a factual error in its first-ever public demo (though this problem is common to all such bots). Now, Google is adding a lot of new features as well as upgrading Bard to use its new PaLM 2 language model. This should improve its general answers and usability.
Google’s latest Photos trick is a feature it’s calling Magic Editor, which uses generative AI to let you make major edits to a photo without professional tools. The company revealed the feature at Google I/O 2023.Read Article >
Google shared a couple examples of Magic Editor in action that are both pretty cool. In one, a photo of a person in front of a waterfall, Google entirely moves the person further to the side of the photo, erases people in the background, and makes the sky a prettier blue. Watch this GIF to see it all happen:
- Google upgrades its Gmail AI writing assistant.
From Smart Reply to Smart Compose to “Help me write” — that’s the new branding for Gmail’s AI-powered writing assistant, as announced at I/O. It looks like they’ll be more options to compose messages and tweak the tone but it’s not clear who’ll have access. Follow our liveblog for more details here.
Google Maps is bringing its recently launched Immersive View to your travel routes, which could make it much easier to understand where you want to go. The new feature, which Google calls Immersive View for routes, was announced at Google I/O 2023 on Wednesday.Read Article >
Immersive View currently offers a 3D view of a place and adds information like weather or traffic to give you a better idea of what’s going on at that location. (It’s kind of like Apple’s Flyover view but with more detail.) By bringing the Immersive View to route planning, you’ll be able to get a bird’s-eye view to help you better visualize the landmarks and buildings you might see while navigating somewhere new. Google will even let you see traffic simulations so that you can understand what you might be dealing with on the roads.
May 10Google I/O kicks off in just 10 minutes.
We’re expecting a barrage of news, from Pixel devices to AI announcements. If you want up to the second updates, you can follow along with our live blog. Our team is seated at the Shoreline Amphitheatre and reporting on... a duck with lips.
Yet another leaked teaser for the Pixel Fold has surfaced just hours before its expected launch at Google I/O. In a promo video by leaker SnoopyTech, Google highlights just how thin its flagship foldable really is and also shows off how you can prop the device up on a table when watching videos.Read Article >
The ad offers a look at what multitasking on the device might be like as well. As shown in the clip, a user has a video call open in one panel when the device is unfolded, while Google Drive is open in another. They’re also able to drag and drop files across both screens.
- Google’s in trouble — here’s where it goes next.
Ahead of the big Google I/O keynote later today, we have this segment of The Vergecast, as Nilay, David, and Alex discuss some of the issues facing the tech giant (like setting a YouTube promo ad for the Pixel Fold to premiere at the correct time) and how it might address them with AI news revealed during today’s event.
Update: And now the full episode is available.
- Google is so thirsty to show what developers can do with AI, that it built this AI hype game for I/O.
Ahead of the I/O keynote speech later today, Google shared this I/O Flip card game as an example of what its tools are capable of, using generative AI tools for the art and descriptions that say things like “Dash the Wizard lives in a castle with his pet dragon. He loves to cast spells and make people laugh.”
Card descriptions were prototyped in MakerSuite and pre-generated using the PaLM API which accesses Google’s large language models.
Google has had a rough six months. Since ChatGPT launched last November — followed by the new Bing in February and GPT-4 in March — the company has failed to establish its AI credentials. Its own offering, the “experimental” chatbot Bard, compares poorly to rivals, and insider reports have portrayed a company in panic and disarray. Today, at its annual I/O conference, the company needs to convince the public (and shareholders) that it has a meaningful response. But to do that, it needs a new playbook.Read Article >
Google is undoubtedly a leader in AI research. As its executives like to point out, it was Googlers who created the transformer architecture that powers chatbots like ChatGPT. Just as significantly, it was Googlers who drew attention to these systems’ failings (and, as thanks, were fired). But Google has failed at making AI products; it’s failed to take this labor and mold it into tools that engage the public imagination. In short, it’s missed out on the AI zeitgeist, which — for all the discussions of existential risk and economic threat — is also defined by a sense of exploration, experimentation, and creative, chaotic fun.
Footage of the Pixel Fold has appeared in a YouTube ad ahead of its anticipated announcement at Google I/O later today. As reported by 9to5Google, the unlisted YouTube video features NBA and WNBA stars, the comedian Druski, and multiple close-up shots of the upcoming Pixel Fold in everyday use.Read Article >
Titled “Google Pixel x NBA: The Greatest Watch Party,” the link was shared in a tweet posted by the official Google Pixel account last night. It seems Google published the link prematurely as the tweet teasingly instructed readers to “check back in tomorrow.” That said, the tweet also includes a picture of MVP Joel Embiid clearly holding the Pixel Fold, so probably best to not think too hard about it.
Google I/O is almost here, and that means the launch of the highly anticipated Pixel Fold and Pixel Tablet is right around the corner. While the annual conference is largely geared toward developers, the company always holds a keynote revealing the latest and greatest things that’ll wind up in consumers’ hands.Read Article >
If you want to watch the keynote live but aren’t attending the event, here’s all the information about when and where you can stream it, as well as what you can expect.
Google’s I/O event is less than two days away, and a new CNBC report might have just revealed some of the major AI-focused updates to be announced at the show.Read Article >
One big component will be a new large language model (LLM), PaLM 2, which CNBC describes as a “general-use” LLM that is Google’s “most recent and advanced.” The LLM has apparently performed “a broad range of coding and math tests as well as creative writing tests and analysis,” according to CNBC, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see Google show off some of those capabilities onstage. (The first PaLM was announced in April 2022, months before the recent AI boom fueled by applications like ChatGPT.)
Google I/O is a couple of days away and, with it, the likely launch of the Pixel Tablet. By itself, the device is just another Android tablet, but when it’s connected to its charging dock, which has built-in speakers, it looks an awful lot like the Nest Hub Max. Like the Nest Hub Max, it can act as a smart home controller — and I sure hope it paves the way for a better smart home interface. It had better.Read Article >
The Nest Hub exemplifies everything that’s gone wrong with smart home controls: its interface is unintuitive and inflexible, its responses are laggy, and its responses are unpredictable and often just plain wrong.
May 4Read Article >
Google hasn’t revealed any specs for the device, but a brief teaser video shows off a full-size outer display on a phone that opens up similarly to Samsung’s Galaxy Z Fold devices. The camera bar on the back is similar to other Pixel devices but doesn’t stick out as prominently, reflecting what we’ve seen in leaked marketing materials and even a hands-on video.
You’ve seen renders. You’ve seen a little footage. You’ve heard the marketing leaks. Now, you can feast your eyes on what are almost certainly the first images from Google itself of the leaked Pixel Fold. And if you haven’t looked at this story in a while, there’s a new third image as well:Read Article >
Those are the sorts of images that are the bread and butter of Evan Blass, aka @evleaks, and while his Twitter account is still private, he’s a friend of The Verge who’s happy to let us share them with you this fine evening. (Evening for me, anyhow, I’m in California.)
Apr 22Read Article >
It’s true, there’s not a lot to distinguish this as the Google foldable in this video alone — no logos, no distinctive design touches like a big camera bar, just a selfie camera up front, internal bezels, and a folding screen with rounded edges. It looks like it could be a Samsung prototype as easily as a Google device.
The Pixel Tablet is supposed to launch sometime this year — Google I/O in May feels like a pretty good venue! — and ahead of its eventual release, somebody captured a video of the tablet in real life at Google’s “Shaped by Water” installation currently happening as part of Milan Design Week (via 9to5Google).Read Article >
In the Instagram video from Saori Masuda (you’ll need to browse over to the very last video in the gallery), you can see many Google and Pixel devices laid out along a table, including some Pixel Tablets, Pixel Watches, different versions of Pixel Buds, and Pixel phones.
When will we finally see Google’s first foldable phone? The smart money is now on May 10th, with availability in June. CNBC says it got hold of internal marketing materials showing Google will launch the repeatedly reportedly delayed smartphone at Google I/O.Read Article >
Most of CNBC’s report corroborates what leakers like Roland Quandt and OnLeaks have already told us. You should expect a closed-book 5.8-inch phone that folds out into a 7.6-inch tablet, powered by Google’s Tensor G2 processor, starting at north of $1,700 — making it a direct competitor to Samsung’s $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold 4.
Google’s still-unannounced Pixel 7A might cost $499, meaning the rumored midrange phone will launch at a $50 premium over last year’s Pixel 6A, according to 9to5Google. While that price might be a bit of a disappointment, the new phone will apparently getting some big upgrades that could justify the cost.Read Article >
The cameras, for example, are moving up to a 64MP main camera (up from 12MP in the Pixel 6A) and a 13MP ultrawide camera (up from 12MP), 9to5Google reports. The phone will apparently also be getting a 90hz display, the Tensor G2 chip that powers the Pixel 7 and 7 Pro, and wireless charging. Those all seem like nice improvements from the very-good Pixel 6A.
The Google Pixel Fold could be available as soon as the second week in June, according to WinFuture’s Roland Quandt. The reliable leaker tweeted on Tuesday that the phone will come with 256GB base storage and that you’ll be able to get it in either a black / dark gray color or white.Read Article >
The foldable has been rumored for a long time, and there have been whispers that it would be announced sometime in the next few months. However, a January report from The Elec threw some cold water on that idea, saying that the screen wasn’t even set to go into production until July or August.
I can’t quite say it was inevitable, but — in some of the least surprising yet amusing tech news in the world — a Vietnam gadget enthusiast has managed to obtain a developer unit of the unannounced Pixel 7A smartphone.Read Article >
Seriously: we called the Pixel 4 the most-leaked phone ever — and that was after multiple Russian-speaking bloggers obtained the Pixel 3 XL. The Nexus 4 was fully reviewed before it was ever announced. The Pixel 4A and Pixel 5 leaked like a sieve, and Google itself tipped the 6A in a coloring book, not unlike how it accidentally revealed the Nexus 5 in a YouTube video. The Pixel 6 got unboxed, and the Pixel 6 Pro even got a teardown before the phone launched. It’s not hard to see why Google tends to tease its gadgets early now.
Google has announced its annual I/O conference will begin on May 10th. The company says it’ll be “broadcast in front of a limited live audience and is open to everyone online” and that you can register to attend today.Read Article >
This year, the biggest expectations revolve around all of the artificial intelligence technology Google is developing. Expect news about Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT, as well as other products to generate images, write code for apps, or test product prototypes.