Google Maps “Immersive View”, Android 13 Beta 2 and everything else announced at Google I/O 2022

Google Maps is getting an all-new experience called Immersive View to provide an enhanced digital model of buildings and roads around the world. The new mode leverages advances in computer vision and artificial intelligence (AI) to provide users with a rich viewing experience, Google said when it announced the new feature at its I/O 2022 consumer keynote on Wednesday. Google also announced the second beta of Android 13, its upcoming operating system. The company also announced updates to Google Workspace, including automatic transcriptions, portrait lighting, and portrait recovery in Google Meet. There were also announcements about Google Assistant, YouTube, skin tone mapping and others, which you can find out in detail here.

Google Maps updates

With “immersive view,” Google Maps helps provide the rich view of a neighborhood, landmark, restaurant, or popular place you’re looking for. It fuses billions of Street View and aerial imagery with advances in computer vision and AI to provide the rich digital model of virtual maps, the company said.

“Whether you’re traveling to a new place or exploring hidden local gems, the immersive view will help you make the most informed decisions before you leave,” said Google.

In addition to the immersive experience, the new view includes the time slider, which allows users to even check what the area looks like at different times of the day and in different weather conditions. Users can also slide down at street level to look at nearby restaurants and view information like live employment and nearby traffic.

“Immersive View” uses Google Cloud to offer users the digital view. So it’s device-agnostic and can work with any phone and device, Google said. The experience was initially rolled out in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo.

Google Maps is also expanding eco-friendly routing to more locations, including Europe. Launched in the US and Canada in the recent past, it has been used by people to travel 86 billion miles, saving over half a million tons of CO2 emissions, Google claimed.

Additionally, Google is making its live view available to developers via the new ARCore Geospatial API. It offers augmented reality (AR) to display arrows and directions in addition to the real display to help users navigate indoor areas such as airports, shopping malls and train stations.

Android 13 beta 2 version

Among other announcements, Google announced the release of Android 13 Beta 2 at the I/O 2022 Consumer Keynote. The update will feature a list of improvements and enhancements over the first beta that debuted last month for select Pixel devices. Google also announced features including a unified security and privacy settings page, new media controls with album art, and a new photo image that lets users choose exactly the photos and videos they want to give access to. Android 13 will also include tablet optimizations, including better multitasking abilities and features, including an updated taskbar with the ability to switch the single tablet view to a split screen.

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Android 13 Beta 2 has been released
Photo credit: Google

Google Meet updates

Google Meet gets portrait restoration, which uses Google AI to improve video quality and add enhancements, even when a user is sitting in a dimly lit room using an old webcam or has a poor Wi-Fi connection. Google said the feature can help improve videos automatically.

In addition to the portrait restoration feature, Google Meet is getting Portrait Lighting, which it says uses machine learning to simulate studio-quality lighting in the video feed. Users can also adjust the lighting position and brightness.

Google Meet also gets de-reverberation, which uses machine learning to help filter out echoes in rooms with hard surfaces. The company claims the feature will help you “sound like you’re in a conference room with a mic… even when you’re in your basement.”

In addition, Google Meet is getting live sharing to sync content shared in a virtual call and give participants control over the media. Developers can also use Live Sharing APIs to integrate Meet into their apps.

Google is also rolling out automated transcription later this year and meeting summarization next year to improve conversations on Google Meet.

Google Workspace updates

Google Workspace gets Google Meet’s automated transcriptions to help users transcribe conversations directly into their documents. Google is also extending automatic summaries to Spaces to provide an overview of long conversations. Automatic summaries were introduced to Google Docs earlier this year.

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Google Workspace is getting new updates soon
Photo credit: Google

In addition, Google adds security measures to Google Slides, Docs and Sheets that were part of Gmail. The company claimed that these protections will help users prevent opening documents containing phishing links and malware using automatic alerts.

Google Assistant updates

At the I/O 2022 Consumer Keynote, Google announced Look and Talk, which is launching on Nest Hub Max in the US, to make it easier for people to access the Google Assistant without saying the hotword “OK Google” or “Hey Google.” . Users just have to look at the screen and then ask what they need. The feature uses Face Match and Voice Match features powered by machine learning and AI algorithms to recognize users and enable voice interactions quickly. Google said the feature will be available as an opt-in offer.

Once enabled, you can use Look and Talk to interact with the Google Assistant simply by looking at your Nest Hub Max’s screen.

“Videos from these interactions are processed entirely on-device, so they’re not shared with Google or anyone else,” the company said.

Google also noted that the feature works for a range of skin tones and for people from different backgrounds.

In addition to look-and-talk, Google is extending quick sentences to Nest Hub Max so users can skip saying “Hey Google” during their most common daily tasks. This means you can turn on the light in your room by saying “Turn on the light in the living room” without saying the hotword first.

Google Assistant is also getting new speech and language models that can help understand the nuances of human speech — like when someone pauses but hasn’t finished speaking, the company says.

YouTube updates

Google announced at the I/O Keynote that it is bringing auto-translated subtitles to YouTube for mobile users, allowing users to view video subtitles in up to 16 languages. Google is also bringing auto-translated subtitles to all Ukrainian YouTube content next month.

Skin Tone Updates

Google releases a new skin tone scale called the Monk Skin Tone (MST) Scale, based on research by Harvard professor and sociologist Dr. Ellis Monk based. This will help broaden the range of skin tones, the company said.

The new 10-level skin tone scale will be integrated into various Google products in the coming months. Google is also openly releasing the dial to allow others in the tech industry to incorporate a wide range of skin tones into their experiences.

One of the major Google products that will use the MST scale will be Google Search. Users will be presented with an option to allow users to further refine the results by skin tone. Creators, brands, and publishers can also use a comprehensive scheme to tag their content with attributes like skin tone, hair color, and hair texture.

Google Photos will also use the MST scale to allow users to enhance their photos with a new set of Real Tone filters. These filters will be rolling out to Google Photos for Android, iOS, and web in the coming weeks. Google Maps “Immersive View”, Android 13 Beta 2 and everything else announced at Google I/O 2022

Ryan Sederquist

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