Google’s Products Dig Deeper Into People’s Lives


Google Glass stole last year’s conference when a group of skydivers wearing the device were shown jumping from dirigible above the building where the meeting was being held. Their descent was shown live to the audience using the Google Glass camera.

By comparison, this year’s conference was more sedate, though the features that were announced will have a more immediate impact.

A virtual assistant called Google Now will now be able to deliver reminders to pick up the milk when a person is in a grocery store or call certain friends when visiting certain cities. Google Now also has been programmed to understand more spoken questions so it can be even more helpful. The technology is being expanded to work on Chrome Web browsers so it can be accessed on personal computers, extending its reach beyond smartphones and tablets. With the wider availability, the Google Now technology is likely to be used more frequently, enabling Google’s engineers to gain an even better understanding of human behavior. In turn, they can deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning tools to do a better job of anticipating users’ needs.

Google Plus, the company’s social networking answer to Facebook, is getting a facelift. The new look will include several automated features that promise to figure out appropriate hash tags for each post on the service and identify the best photos uploaded by individual users. What’s more, Google Plus will offer to automatically touch up photos so users won’t have to bother. The alterations will include red-eye removal, the smoothing of wrinkles, and sharpening of landscapes.

All of Google Plus’ automated tools can be turned off.

Google Maps, which has become the world’s most trusted navigation system with more than 1 billion visitors each week, is adding even more tools, pictures, business ratings and discount offers from nearby merchants.

Google also hopes to help steer people’s entertainment choices with it’s launch of a subscription based music service that will let users of Android phones and tablets listen to their favorite songs and artists for a monthly fee.

The streaming service, called All Access, is available in the U.S. for $9.99 per month after a 30-day free trial.

It will be available in other countries later. For those who start the trial by June 30, the monthly fee is $7.99.

All Access will compete with Spotify, Rhapsody, Pandora Media Inc. and other popular music services. Apple, the biggest seller of online music, does not have a subscription-based service, though there has been rampant speculation that the company intends to start one later this year.

Contrary to speculation leading up to the conference, Google didn’t unveil the next generation of a mini-tablet called the Nexus 7 that sells for $199.

Instead, the company announced that it will be selling a version of Samsung’s new flagship phone, the Galaxy S4, which runs a “clean” version of Android, without the modifications that Samsung applies to its phones.

In his talk, Page hinted that Google prefers taking big risks rather than releasing incremental upgrades. “We should be building great things that don’t exist,” he said.

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Posted by on Jun 1st, 2013 and filed under Literature & Electronic. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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