At this year’s I / O Developers Conference, Google announced its new AI ambition and expanded its quantum AI Park, including its first quantum data center, research laboratory and chip manufacturing facility.
Google has released Android 12, an operating system that has undergone major design upgrades, including new appearance and many new functions, such as allowing people to use mobile phones as digital keys to unlock cars.
The updates come at a time when Google and other technology giants are facing severe scrutiny for false information spread on their platforms and are the target of three antitrust cases.
Tencent technology news on May 19, after a year of chaos, the search giant Google announced its new AI ambition at the I / O Developers Conference, and released a major design upgrade of the operating system Android 12 and holographic video chat function. It is trying to get rid of its cultural and business scrutiny.
Reshape the function of video chat
In Google’s latest video chat, a woman reaches out to a baby, who jumps on his mother’s lap. The baby’s fingers are in her mouth, the mother is smiling, and the picture is so vivid, just like the woman thinks she can touch the person on the other side of the screen. It’s not a hologram, but it looks very close.
In the novel coronavirus pneumonia, Zoom has become the lifeblood of many people to maintain contact. Now Google is trying to reshape video chat with computer vision and machine learning to create realistic 3D images that people can talk without wearing special helmets or glasses. This is what Google calls the “magic window”, connecting people from different cities and countries. Later this year, the world’s largest search service provider will test the project with several partners.
The project, called Starline, is one of the most important announcements at Google I / O Developers Conference. The Google I / O developer conference was cancelled in 2020 due to the epidemic and its blockade measures, but it was held online again on Tuesday. In 2020, people will keep themselves at home to protect themselves against this rapidly spreading virus. Hospitals are overcrowded, and many even lose their loved ones. They are no longer interested in the idea of technology executives announcing new products.
Starline creates 3D images of people for video chat
Now, many parts of the world are different. Many countries continue to distribute vaccines, and more parts of the world are reopening. Google, the search giant, also hopes to turn a new page. It opens the three-day I / O developers’ grand meeting in an almost retro way – live broadcast.
Coincidentally with the spirit of the times, the new normal is a little different. The keynote speech was broadcast in the courtyard of Google’s mountain view headquarters in California, rather than in the nearby shoreline amphitheatre. Since 2016, Google has been hosting developer conferences at the coastline amphitheater. The audience is no longer a large group of developers from all over the world, but a small number of Google employees. It’s a far cry from the shiny, prerecorded videos apple and Samsung launched during the outbreak, but it’s still a big step for Google.
“In the past year, we’ve seen how technology can help billions of people through the most difficult times,” Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said in a statement ahead of his keynote speech. This makes us more committed than ever to our goal of building a more helpful Google for everyone. ”
For Google, the chaos goes far beyond the impact of the epidemic. In the past 12 months, the company has weathered a series of controversies. It is the target of three major antitrust lawsuits, including antitrust charges initiated by the U.S. Department of justice and a bipartisan coalition of nearly 40 states. Google fired a well-known AI researcher, which caused the anger of the whole industry. Mr. Pichai, who has been chief executive since 2015, was called to Congress three times last year to defend the company in front of members, who were worried about everything from false information to so-called anti conservative bias.
A few days before the virtual Developers Conference, Google fully demonstrated its efforts, including the latest progress in developing quantum computing, updates to services such as search and maps, and tools to use mobile cameras to help people identify skin abnormalities. The announcements highlight how keen Pichai and his team are to focus on Google’s product and engineering efforts rather than on Google’s business practices and corporate culture.
“Google is focused on the product story, it’s the story they want to tell, and they’re eager to show that they’re moving forward,” said Bob O’Donnell, founder of consultancy technology research
“We have to overcome all this”
AI is a key area for Google, which highlights the complex challenges Google has faced in the past year. Google is a giant in the field of AI, and its I / O announcement also shows this strength. But behind the scenes, tough issues highlight the dilemma Google wants to get out of.
One of the biggest unveiling events at the I / O conference was Google’s announcement of a new campus in Santa Barbara, California, dedicated to quantum computing development. There will be hundreds of Google employees, including the company’s first quantum data center, research laboratory and chip manufacturing facility. “It’s a long-term bet on an interesting technology that might solve an important problem that no traditional computer can solve,” said Jeff Dean, Google’s AI director
The first mock exam is Google’s search technology called MUM, which Google calls “milepost” for understanding information. The aim of mum is to decipher complex problems involving several steps and levels. For example, if someone asks Google how to prepare to climb two different mountains, search engines can provide the person with information about the altitude of each mountain in the future, as well as details of what training they need and what equipment they need to buy.
Google’s quantum computing campus in Santa Barbara, California
Google has also launched a new service called derm assist, which uses AI to help people learn more about possible skin, hair and nail diseases. Through the camera on the smartphone, people can upload photos of symptoms and ask a series of questions. The software then matches the images to a database of 288 known diseases and provides them with information about what the disease might be.
As helpful as that sounds, the service raises potential privacy issues. For some, sending pictures of worrying symptoms to Google can be creepy. But Karen DeSalvo, Google’s chief health officer, said people have come to Google with their health concerns, and nearly 10 billion Google searches a year are related to hair, skin and nail diseases. Still, she admits there are barriers to trust, especially as people become increasingly wary of big technology companies.
“This is something we are thinking about in depth,” DeSalvo said. Over time, we hope that as people see the quality of information getting better, they will be able to trust us more and more when they see themselves navigated to authoritative sources. ”
Despite Google’s strides in AI, the Division has been plagued for months by high-profile dismissals and resignations related to ethics and diversity issues. In December 2020, timnit gebru, one of the few outstanding black women in the field, announced on twitter that she was fired by Google because her research paper pointed out the risk of bias in AI, including the system used by Google’s search engine.
Since then, the incident has also led to the dismissal of Margaret Mitchell, who helped Google set up the ethical AI unit and co led it with gebru, who had conducted an investigation into data security. SAMY bengio, a senior executive who backed gebru and Mitchell, also resigned last month.
“It’s a real blow to the company’s reputation, but we have to overcome it,” said Jeff Dean, Google’s AI director, in his first interview after the controversy was made public in December. We are firmly committed to working in this area and think it is a very important area. ”
A series of application updates
Putting the spotlight back on products also means that the developer conference will focus on changes in Google’s products, which are used by billions of people every day, including Android mobile operating system, maps and search.
At the I / O conference, Google announced that Android has ushered in a new milestone. It now runs on 3 billion devices around the world, which is another sign that the world’s most popular mobile software is dominant. Almost nine out of every 10 smartphones in the world are equipped with Android.
Other changes to Android include a major design upgrade, the biggest aesthetic update to the platform since 2014. The new look includes color extraction, which generates a palette for the phone by extracting similar hues from the phone’s wallpaper.
Another feature now allows people to use their mobile phones as digital keys to unlock their cars, and it will also allow people to send keys to other mobile phones when they lend their cars. Google is working with BMW to launch the tool, which will first appear on Google pixel phones and Samsung Galaxy phones.
Google has also updated its map app, a major change that is a direct result of the epidemic, the ability to track congestion in communities and other areas. For example, Google estimates that you want to know if a farmer’s market attracts a large number of people, so you can avoid it. Another function is to add more background information to the map according to the time. So if you look at the map at 9 p.m., it won’t show the closed breakfast shop.
The technology giant also updated its most iconic service, search engine. Now, search results will include a tag called “about this result” to provide us users with more background information about the source in an attempt to combat misinformation. Google said it was working with Wikipedia to provide background information on the site, including a brief description. People can also see when the site is indexed and whether the user’s connection to the site is secure.
Liz Reid, vice president of Google search engineering, said: “this allows you to see more about the source from a given message. So you can really understand: why is this source telling you this information? How much do you trust the source? ”
The new feature of Google maps will tell users how crowded a certain area or community is
The updates come at a time when Google and other technology giants are facing severe censorship over false information spread on their platforms. When it comes to Google’s services, YouTube is often criticized for spreading misinformation and conspiracy theories, but suspicious search results can also be the culprit. In March, pitchay appeared in Congress with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and twitter CEO Jack Dorsey to testify about the dangers of false information on technology platforms. “To stay ahead of these challenges and ensure the safety of users on our platform is a top priority,” Pichai said at the time
About privacy updates
The search giant has long been criticized for its collection and use of data, and it also presented its privacy and security efforts at the I / O conference.
Many of Google’s privacy changes will be on Android 12. One of the most interesting is the function called “private compute core”, which separates data processing such as speech recognition and machine vision from other parts of Android 12 system. The processing is done locally on the device and disconnected from the network, which makes the data more private. It provides power for Google’s functions such as live caption and now playing. Live caption can generate subtitles in real time, and now playing can recognize the music played, similar to Shazam.
Another new feature allows people to limit what they share on the app, such as revealing their general location rather than their exact whereabouts. For example, this change can be useful if someone doesn’t want to share their exact location with the weather app.
In the past few months, with apple cracking down on data tracking on the iPhone, privacy protection across apps has become a hot topic. One of Apple’s changes requires developers to ask users for permission to collect data and track user behavior on apps and websites. The update angered many companies in the technology industry, especially Facebook, and sparked a spat between Zuckerberg and Tim Cook, Apple’s chief executive.
When asked why Google didn’t launch a similar app anti tracking feature, Sameer Samat, Android’s vice president of product management, said the company was working hard to solve the problem, but had “no details to announce” at the moment.
Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president for Google’s core experience and infrastructure, said that over the past year, people around the world have come to rely on technology and devices to keep in touch, which makes privacy protection more urgent. “The epidemic has accelerated many trends in terms of the time people spend on various devices, which only reinforces the importance of providing users with a secure experience,” she said Now Google has to prove that privacy protection is part of its normal behavior（ Tencent technology reviser / Jinlu)