Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL - Get Report) Google's CEO Sundar Pichai addressed his company's army of developers on Tuesday, becoming the third giant tech company to hold its annual software conference in the past week. On Monday, Microsoft Inc. (MSFT - Get Report) CEO Satya Nadella announced several new products and services, while last week, Facebook's (FB - Get Report) Mark Zuckerberg addressed his company's developers.
Watch Pichai's keynote address below, and read our summary of the announcements made by him and other Google executives:
The latest on Waymo
John Krafcik, the CEO of Waymo, Google's self-driving car division, and engineer Dmitri Dolgov demonstrated how Waymo is using artificial intelligence to develop a deep understanding of the physical world and can accurately detect pedestrians and movements around it. With neural nets, Krafcik said Waymo can train its systems 15 times more efficiently than before. ANd Waymo's fleet of self-driving cars have been trained on more than six million miles of driving since the company started.
Android P will include trackers that show your digital activity and prevent you from spending too much time unproductively, a feature that some have called on Apple (AAPL - Get Report) to add for its iPhone. Android developers can also link to more detailed breakdowns about how users are using their apps.
In addition, the new OS will give users app timers to set limits on the time they spend on given apps, a Do Not Disturb mode, and a new gesture codenamed 'Shush' that automatically launches Do Not Disturb when you turn your phone over. Starred contacts, such as a spouse or school, can still get through you with a phone call even if do not disturb is turned on
Android P beta is available on Pixel and 7 more phones today.
Dave Burke, VP of engineering for Android, debuted the new version of Android called Android P. The key new features use AI to improve users' smartphone experience. Examples include 'adaptive battery' to optimize your usage based on apps you use, 'adaptive brightness' that learns how you like to see light in different environments and automatically adjusts for your preferences, and moving beyond predicting which apps you might use next to predicting the next actions you might take.
For developers, Google announced a new ML kit that includes APIs to standard Android features such as image labeling, and text, face and landmark recognition
Burke also talked about a redesigned and cleaner user interface for Android, emphasizing simplicity.
Improvements to Google Assistant, including a Legend-ary new voice
Pichai announced there will be six new, more naturally-sounding voices on Google Assistant, and that megapopular musician John Legend's voice will be available later this year in certain contexts. Scott Huffman, VP of engineering for Google Home, then announced several improvements to Google Assistant.
Continued conversation will allow users to not have to say 'hey google' every time since Assistant will understand the context of a conversation. Also, multiple tasks can be requested in a single sentence, and a new 'pretty please' feature will be available for families to encourage kids to use the word 'please' when making requests of the Assistant.
Role of AI and technology
Pichai opened by talking about the possibilities of technology but also noted that we "can't be wide eyed about...the impact of these advances."
"The path ahead needs to be navigated carefully and responsibly," Pichai said.
He then highlighted the ways that AI and machine learning could help improve health diagnoses, predictions of health relapses, and improve accessibility to technology for the handicapped.