Google I/O 2019 Roundup: Pixel 3a, Nest Hub Max, Android Q Dark Mode, and More

Google’s developer conference, I/O, kicked off today. The company didn’t have as much to announce as it did last year, but there were certainly some noteworthy moments. That includes a pair of new smartphones, a shuffle of its smart home efforts, and more.

On Tuesday, Google hosted its keynote speech for I/O. As usual, the company had quite a bit to go over. We aren’t going to round up every single thing that Google announced, but mostly the major talking points. So let’s get things started:

New AR Features in Google Search

Google announced that it’s building augmented reality into parts of Google Search. This feature will launch later this year. It will give users the ability to see things like a Great White shark in AR for up-close-and-personal investigations. Or the human anatomy. These 3D models, which can then be used in an AR situation to put the rendered model into your own space, will be built right into Search:

Google Duplex on the Web

“Google is extending Duplex to tasks on the web. Focusing on narrow use cases to start, like rental car reservations and buying movie tickets. Google Duplex will help reduce the steps to doing both. Google showed a calendar reminder for an upcoming trip. Say something like, “Book a National car rental” and opens the website automatically. It will then automatically loading up your information, including the dates of the trip in the app.

Google Assistant will navigate the app, even select the car you like. Users can control “the flow”, though, like adding things like a car seat or other options. Google Assistant will then give you the option to finalize the reservation.”

Duplex on the Web launches later this year.

Next-Generation Google Assistant

“Google is making voice-assisted tasks notably faster with the next-generation Google Assistant. The company is achieving this by shrinking the AI voice model down from 100s of GBs to around 500MB thereby allowing the data to be stored locally on a device instead of the cloud.

Google says Assistant will be able to process voice commands up to 10x faster compared to the current iteration.

If the live demo given by Google at I/O 19 was anything to go by, there will be almost zero latency and voice commands would be instantly recognized and executed. Plus, with Continued conversation, users would be able to tell commands back-to-back without having to say “Hey Google” every single time. The voice command will be executed depending on the content being displayed on the screen.”

New Features in Android Q

“Android Q will also bring Smart suggestions using on-device learning. It will automatically read your messages, emails, etc and suggest relevant actions. For example, if someone sends you an address over a message, Android Q will automatically suggest you to open it in Google Maps thereby saving you the hassle of manually copy/pasting it.

There are plenty of other new features in Android Q which Google had announced back in March. This includes a system-wide Dark mode, improved navigation gestures, sharing shortcuts, and more.”

A New Focus on the Smart Home Under the Nest Brand

“Google is bridging the Nest and Google Hardware teams in this “helpful home” effort. That means all of Google’s smart devices are falling under this category now, including the Google Home smart speaker and the new smart displays out there. Google is publishing a privacy plan for its smart devices, too, making it more obvious how it’s storing and using data.

Google Home Hub is now known as Nest Hub. And now there is a 10-inch display product called “Nest Hub Max”. This will let you control smart devices like adjusting your thermostat, and lights, and more. It will communicate with Thread-supported devices that rely on a low-power connection, like door locks. There is also a built-in camera. You can turn it on while away from home, see event history, enable home away assist, and get a notification if it catches movement from someone it doesn’t “recognize”.

Nest Hub Max launches later this year for just $229. Today, Google is also lowering the price to $129 for the original Nest Hub. It’s expanding to 12 new markets and supporting nine new languages.”

Same Pixel Camera, Cheaper Pixel 3a Price Tag

“The Pixel 3a (pictured at the top of this article) and 3a XL sacrifice the glass rear panel in favor of a unibody plastic. The displays are also smaller — the Pixel 3a comes with a 5.6-inch FHD+ OLED display while the 3a XL comes with a 6-inch FHD+ OLED display, and they both feature Always-On Display.

Apart from the difference in display size, the Pixel 3a series have the same specs. This includes 4GB RAM, 64GB storage, Active Edge, Wi-Fi ac, rear fingerprint sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, headphone jack, stereo speakers, and 18W fast charging. The Pixel 3a comes with a 3000mAh battery, while the Pixel 3a XL comes with a 3700mAh battery — yes, the Pixel 3a XL has a bigger battery than the Pixel 3 XL. Both phones lack wireless charging due to their plastic build.

The highlight of the Pixel 3a series is that they offer the same rear camera as the more expensive Pixel 3 series. This means we are looking at a 12.2MP shooter with OIS, f/1.8 aperture, and 1.44um large pixels. This is the same sensor that Google uses on the Pixel 3 series.”

So, not a ton of new things, but certainly worthwhile additions to the Google brand moving forward. Anything in this list you’re particularly excited about?