7 things Google just announced that are worth keeping a close eye on


Google’s flagship developer conference called I/O just wrapped up with interesting leaps in how the Big Tech giant is planning to change the world. 

Here are the seven biggest things we learned from Google at I/O 2024.

Google’s injecting AI into nearly every aspect of its products and services

Google’s I/O 2024 conference  (Google)

Google’s I/O event was largely an opportunity for it to make its case to developers — and, to a lesser extent, consumers — as to why its artificial intelligence is ahead of rivals Microsoft and OpenAI. Here’s a rundown of the seven highlights to keep an eye on. Google’s AI, named Gemini, was featured prominently at the I/O conference and is now available to developers worldwide.

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According to the conference, Gemini is now capable of pulling information from text, photos, audio, web pages and live videos from your phone’s camera and is able to synthesize the information it receives and answer questions you may have about it. Here’s what the Gemini improvements look like in practice.

1. Phone call scam detection coming to Android could compromise your privacy

Google showed a demo for its phone call scam detection feature, which the company says will be coming to a future version of Android. How it works is revolutionary and concerning. The feature will scan voice calls as they occur in real time, and it’s already drawing enormous privacy concerns. It would be like allowing your phone calls to be tapped and monitored by Big Tech instead of Big Brother.

However, Google says, “This protection all happens on device, so your conversation stays private to you. This means that you will have the choice to turn this feature on, and if you have it on, your conversation doesn’t leave your device since the AI protection works directly on your device, so it’s impossible for Google or anyone else to hear it.”

Apple had planned a similar feature on iOS back in 2021 but abandoned it after backlash from privacy advocates. Google is under similar pressure, with privacy advocates worried that the company notorious for harvesting and profiting from personal data might soon misuse AI voice scanning technology.

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2. ‘Ask Photos’ will let AI help you find out about specific things in photos

The Ask Photos feature  (Google)

Google unveiled a new feature called Ask Photos, in which users can ask Gemini to search for their photos and deliver exact results. One example showcased was the use of Gemini to locate images of your car in your photo album by telling it your license plate number.

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3. An AI button is coming to many of Google’s most popular productivity tools

Starting immediately, Google has added a button to toggle Gemini AI in the side panel of several of its Google Suite apps, including Gmail, Google Drive, Docs, Sheets and Slides. Similar to Microsoft’s Co-Pilot AI function, the Gemini button can help answer questions, craft emails and provide summaries of documents and email threads.

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4. AI tool called ‘Veo’ makes video from text

Music AI Sandbox  (Google)

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On a more experimental note, Google also unveiled its VideoFX feature, a generative video model based on Google’s DeepMind video generator. Veo. VideoFX can create Full HD (1080p) videos from text prompts, and we also saw improvements made to ImageFX, Google’s high-resolution AI image generator.

For musicians, Google also showed their new DJ Mode in MusicFX, an AI music generator that can be used to create loops and samples from prompts.

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5. AI summaries will replace search results

A Google search  (Google)

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There’s been a lot of press lately regarding how difficult searching for things on Google has become. Constant changes to search engine optimization as well as a new wave of bots and AI-created content has disrupted the once monolithic search engine. However, Google showed off its new AI-organized search, which promises more readable search results.

Google also showed off how it is using AI to create overviews, which are short summaries to help you answer questions posed in the search box. These summaries will appear at the top of the search results page, so you don’t even need to visit another website to get answers you may be looking for.

6. Google TV gets the AI treatment

Google managed to work its Gemini AI into its Google TV smart TV operating system, allowing it to generate descriptions for movies and TV shows. When you are viewing content that is missing a description, Gemini will fill it in automatically. Gemini on Google TV will also now translate descriptions into the viewers’ native language, making it easier to find international shows and movies to watch.

7. AI for educational purposes

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Google also unveiled LearnLM, a new generative AI model that is designed for education. It comes as a collaboration between Google’s DeepMind AI research division and Google’s Research lab. LearnLM is designed as a chatbot that looks to tutor students on a range of subjects, from mathematics to English grammar.

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Kurt’s key takeaways

If you missed Google I/O 2024, here’s the scoop: Google’s AI, Gemini, stole the show with its ability to integrate information from various media and answer your queries on the fly. Noteworthy features include a call scam detection for Android, a photo search tool that can find your car using your license plate number and the integration of Gemini into Google’s Workspace suite for smarter document handling. 

Plus, Google’s new AI-powered search promises more readable results, and Google TV now boasts AI-generated content descriptions. For creatives and learners, Google introduced VideoFX for AI-generated videos, MusicFX’s DJ Mode for music creation and LearnLM, an AI tutor for students. It’s clear that Google is betting big on AI to keep ahead of the competition.

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