What Surprises Came Out of This Year’s Google I/O Conference?

google io conference 2018

The headlines read “expect AI in everything”, and they were right. The CEO of Google, Sundar Pichai, took to the stage last week at Google’s annual I/O developer conference to unleash their barrage of new and exciting tech developments.

Taking all of about 2 hours, Pichai reeled off some of their most ambitious innovations yet, starting with their own OS system—Android.

Android OS

Continuing their obsession with deep learning, Google announced their latest operating system for the mobile—Android P. Their insistence on placing algorithmic intelligence high on their to-do list is clear. From better battery management to mindful notifications, Android P is all about making life more convenient for you.

If you have an Android phone, expect a sleeker and simpler design, a function that causes it to wind down if you’re over-using it, and handy rotation control, which allows you to toggle when you want to shift the screen sideways or vertically.

Google Assistant

Even though it has a much smaller market share than Amazon (with 26%), it is growing year-on-year. And this year Google wowed audiences with its updates, which include etiquette notifications that help people mind their manners. The updates also reflect Google’s collaboration with well-known soul singer John Legend, which was focused on making the virtual assistant’s voice richer and more natural. Legend’s voice is now one of six new options you can choose from.

They also announced a new feature called Duplex, which you can use to book reservations and appointments, if you need them. Pichai demoed this on stage by simulating a real-life scenario where the assistant was able to make calls on his behalf to hairdressers and restaurants and was so convincing that it would have made Alan Turing proud.

App development

With over 3+ million apps in the Google Play Store ranging from industry-leading apps like PokerStars Casino app to Netflix, Google has this year highlighted a chosen few as their best newcomers. For 2018, they handpicked the meditation app Simple Habit, the indie game Old Man’s Journey, and the incredible dream-like app BBC Earth: Life in VR as some of the best out there.

On the home front, Google’s very own popular app Google Maps has also received a handy update. The app will now function in augmented reality mode. So, if you’re out and about, you can have a detailed view of nearby businesses and events in real time. This basically means that as you follow the street with your camera, it will overlap with instructions of where you want to go.


Google also announced updates to its email platform Gmail, including a profile of a great new function called Smart Compose. By assessing your communications, Smart Compose enables you to automatically finish your emails by simply pressing the tab key several times.

Self-driving cars

On the self-driving car front, Google announced that their sister company Waymo will launch a self-driving car service later this year in Phoenix, Arizona. However, ambitious companies in the same market space (including Tesla and Uber) have all experienced problems, so it might be some time before Google actually release this service to the public for which you may still need to use your local such as towingless in case your car breaks down the road a they will not have google coverage.

If you have been involved in an accident while riding your motorbike, you can seek compensation for any injuries that you sustain if the accident was as a result of someone else’s negligence.

With all these developments out of the bag, we’re now waiting to see when all of these products will get an actual release date, as not all of their products make it over the starting line.

Yet, one thing is for sure: Google’s exploration of AI is just beginning. And at this pace, we can probably expect robots on the stage with Pichai next year—and we can’t wait.

[Photo by wayx // CC0 License]