Google I/O 2023: keynote, Bard, Pixel 7a, Tablet, Fold

Google I/O 2023: keynote, Bard, Pixel 7a, Tablet, Fold

The Google I/O 2023 event on May 10 showed that the tech giant is playing on all fronts to bring AI to almost all of its products. Nearly two-thirds of the conference was devoted to Google's progress in this area. Here we have put together key facts about new apps and devices shown at the event.

Google I/O 2023: AI anytime, anywhere

Google Search, Gmail, Google Photos, Google Docs, Sheets and Slide (online office suite), Google Maps and even Android 14. None of the Google products will escape the arrival of artificial intelligence. In this way, Gmail will be able to help you write a complete email (or even write it for you) depending on the context with the "Help me write" feature.

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An AI tool that can also be found in the Workspace office suite to complete a document, automatically generate a table, or even add comments to a slideshow.

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Google Photos will also get new tools. After the magic eraser, which allows you to remove an unwanted element from an image in a few seconds, we will soon be able to take advantage of the magic editor. This is a tool that allows, for example, to move an object on an image in a few clicks. The AI will recreate the missing pixels and adjust the brightness to make the image look realistic.

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AI chatbot Bard, whose capabilities have lagged somewhat behind what ChatGPT offers, is also gaining momentum. It is much more convenient and relevant, especially when it comes to laying out code or detecting possible errors.

Google I/O 2023: Android 14 thinks bigger

Android 14 is currently in public beta and will see significant progress. First of all, the operating system adapts to large screens. And for good reason, as Google now offers a tablet and a foldable smartphone in its product portfolio (see below). Therefore, most of its applications have been redesigned for these new formats. Android should also benefit from artificial intelligence to further improve customization. In this way, it will be possible to create a new wallpaper with parallax effects applied to an existing photo.

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In addition, the Messages application will offer a writing aid to automatically compose a response to an SMS by varying the tones. As for Messages, Google made a joke with Apple (without naming it) indicating its intention to replace SMS with the RCS protocol. And to show that Apple isn't an enemy after all, Google has announced its partnership with Apple so that Bluetooth trackers and AirTags can detect and alert you to unwanted trackers.

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Google I/O 2023: new gadgets

We were expecting a lot from this conference to see the new Google Pixel products. Only three were shown: the Pixel Tablet, the Pixel 7a, and the Pixel Fold. Therefore, we will have to wait a little longer to see the Pixel 8 and 8 Pro or a new Pixel Watch that were not mentioned at the event.

Pixel Tablet: a family tablet

Briefly shown off by the Japanese Amazon store ahead of time, the Pixel Tablet made its official debut at the conference. It has an 11-inch LCD screen with generous dimensions of 258 x 169 x 8.1 mm for a weight of 493 g. The gadget has an in-house Tensor G2 SoC (the same one that Pixel 7 smartphones are equipped with), 8 GB of RAM, and either 128 or 256 GB of storage space. 

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The tablet is also equipped with Google Chromecast function to cast content from other devices, for example a smartphone, to its screen. The basic version will cost $499. Add $100 for the 256GB version. The Pixel Tablet is available for pre-order now and will go on sale in June.

Pixel 7a: mid-range smartphone with big ambitions

The Pixel 7 family of smartphones, as expected, welcomes a new member, the Pixel 7a. It has a 6.1-inch FHD+ (2400 x 1080 pixels) OLED screen with a 90Hz refresh rate (the screen of previous model only featured 90Hz). It also inherits the Tensor G2 powerhouse of a CPU, 8GB of RAM (versus 6GB on the 6a) and 128GB of storage space (256GB version is not available). When it comes to cameras, the favorite area of Pixel smartphones, the device has evolved from its predecessor. It now has a main module of 64 megapixels (against 12 in the 6a) and an ultra-wide angle of 13 megapixels (against 12 megapixels in 6a). Same for selfies with a 13MP sensor vs 12MP on the 6a.

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So the new model is better than the 6a in every way? Not really. The battery capacity has slightly decreased from 4410 mAh to 4385 mAh. This loss, however, should go unnoticed thanks to the better power-saving performance of the Tensor G2. But the price has increased compared to the 6a, at the moment it's $499.

Pixel Fold: A high-end foldable smartphone, but not for everyone

Like some other players in the mobile phone market, Google now has a foldable smartphone model in its catalog. The first-born Google has a more compact format than the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4, an external 5.9-inch Oled screen, an internal screen, also Oled, which, when unfolded, has a 7.6-inch surface, SoC Tensor G2, and solid cameras. But the price... At $1,799 (сlose to the price of the Galaxy Z Fold 4), you'll think twice before placing an order.

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Google I/O 2023: Google Home app

Finally, we get to the Home app for Android and iOS, which has been in preview since last fall and is now available after improvements based on user testing. The application is designed to control various Smart Home devices distributed across rooms from your mobile gadget (several houses/addresses can be added to the application). For example, control Wi-Fi and multimedia devices, show you the images from the Nest camera, adjust the lighting or change the temperature in a certain room. The good news is that the app can be used on smartwatches with Wear OS and supports Matter standard of Smart Home devices, which means it is compatible with gadgets from Apple, Samsung, Amazon and other manufacturers (in the iOS app, Matter support will be added in the coming weeks and will require version 16.5).

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Google I/O: how to watch the conference online

The main Google I/O report is still available online. To follow the event, you have two possible options. Check out the official page that streams highlights from the conference or its YouTube channel to watch the full conference.

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