Alphabet’s stock has risen to its highest level since August 2022 following the announcement of a number of artificial intelligence (AI) features at Google’s I/O developer conference. The company is looking to simplify complex queries with AI in its search product, while also making a suite of workplace tools more intuitive via AI, allowing users to create new documents and spreadsheets. The firm also said it would make its chatbot, Bard, more widely available, allowing it to respond in different languages and images. Analysts praised the announcements as a potential means to keep Alphabet at the forefront of developments in AI.
At I/O, Google also revealed updates to Android, including a decidedly smartphone-like interface for Chrome OS, a new “Instant Apps” feature that differs from conventional mobile apps in that it doesn’t need to be downloaded, and a smart messaging app dubbed Allo.
Elsewhere, the search giant has released the Android N developer preview, which will allow developers to offer feedback on and begin preparing for the upcoming operating system upgrade. Google said this preview is the earliest it has released the platform to developers.
As well as improving the search and messaging experience, Google has announced a range of features aimed at improving the user experience for YouTube and Play Store users. YouTube is getting a new mobile app that claims to make it “easier than ever before to find videos you love”, while the Play Store will get a new redemption option that allows users to play certain games/apps before downloading them. And for developers giving away free apps/games with in-app promotions, Google is launching a new Smart Lock feature that will allow those who use all of their data to unlock advanced app content without the need for passwords.
Google also unveiled Daydream, a new platform for mobile virtual reality (VR), which is due to launch this autumn. The Daydream ecosystem will consist of APIs, hardware reference designs and a “Daydream-ready” certification programme that will ensure certain devices meet certain standards. The company is committed to having Android devices ready for Daydream out this autumn.
In addition, Google is launching Google Home, an Amazon Echo-like connected speaker, which allows users to access the company’s assistant software. The company worked on the product for two years and is due to launch it in the autumn. According to The Verge, “Google envisions the product, called Google Home, as a hub for all its connected services that operates without a smartphone.”