Google I/O 2023: Unleashing the power of AI - Major upgrades for Gmail, Maps & Photos
In this series of articles on Google I/O 2023, we cover how Google is unleashing the power of artificial intelligence. In this article, we talk about how Google is transforming Gmail, Maps & Photos
Unleashing the power of AI and collaborative intelligence
Google I/O has been the most significant event for AI in 2023. Not only does it define the direction that the company intends to take with deploying AI across its products, but it also sets a precedent for other companies in the industry to follow.
Google I/O this year was a purely AI focussed event with a wide array of developments across the AI spectrum. In order to cover this event in depth, we shall be launching a series of articles this week discussing the key takeaways from this event that are both game changing and path-defining for the industry.
Among the products that received new AI features are Gmail, Maps and Photos, three of the most widely used applications by Google users. In this article, we shall discuss the upgrades being made to these apps and its significance and impact on the future of AI.
Gmail - Help Me Write
Gmail, the popular email service that has over 1.8 billion users, has been using AI to help users write faster and better with features like Smart Reply and Smart Compose. Now, Gmail is taking it to the next level with a new feature called "Help me write", which uses a powerful generative model to create full email drafts based on a simple prompt.
For example, if a user receives an email that their flight was canceled and they want to ask for a full refund, they can type in "Help me write an email that asks for a full refund" and hit create. Gmail will then generate a complete email draft that includes the flight details from the previous email and a polite request for a refund. The user can then review and edit the draft before sending it.
"Help me write" can also adjust the tone and length of the email based on the user's preference. For instance, if the user wants a more elaborate email that might increase the chances of getting a refund, they can specify that in the prompt.
"Help me write" will start rolling out as part of Google Workspace updates later this year.
Maps - Immersive views for routes
Maps, the navigation app that provides 20 billion kilometers of directions every day, has been using AI to create immersive and realistic representations of places with Street View and Immersive View. Now, Maps is expanding that same technology to help users see their whole trip in advance with Immersive View for routes.
With Immersive View for routes, users can get a bird's eye view of their entire route, whether they are walking, cycling or driving. They can zoom in and out, rotate and tilt the view, and explore landmarks and scenery along the way. This can help users plan their trips better, avoid surprises and discover new places.
Immersive View for routes will begin to roll out in summer and will be available in 15 cities by the end of this year.
Photos - Magic Editor
Photos, the photo management app that has over 1 billion users, has been using AI to help users organise, edit and share their photos with features like search, tagging and suggestions. Now, Photos is introducing a new feature called Magic Editor, which uses AI to help users transform their photos with advanced editing tools.
With Magic Editor, users can adjust subjects, remove objects, change backgrounds and more with just a few taps. For example, if a user wants to make their photo look more professional, they can use Magic Editor to remove unwanted elements like wires or trash cans, adjust the lighting and contrast, and apply a filter. Magic Editor can also suggest edits based on the content and context of the photo.
Magic Editor will be available in Photos later this year.
Analysis & Conclusion
The upgrades unveiled at Google I/O 2023 showcase the immense potential of AI and collaborative intelligence, leaving a lasting impact on the field and shaping how people approach work and productivity. These advancements hold the promise of enhancing efficiency, creativity, and convenience, but they also raise certain concerns.
The introduction of "Help me write" in Gmail demonstrates the power of generative models in assisting users with email composition. This feature has the potential to revolutionise the way people communicate, streamlining the process and saving time. However, concerns may arise regarding the authenticity and personalisation of such automated drafts, as well as potential over-reliance on AI-generated content.
Immersive View for routes in Google Maps provides users with an unprecedented level of visual exploration, enabling them to plan their trips more effectively and discover new places. This immersive experience can enhance navigation and create a sense of anticipation. However, privacy concerns may arise due to the extensive data collection required for generating these immersive views.
The Magic Editor in Google Photos offers users powerful editing tools that can transform their photos with ease. This AI-driven feature simplifies the editing process and empowers users to achieve professional-quality results. However, ethical considerations may emerge regarding the potential for manipulation, as well as the impact on the authenticity and trustworthiness of visual content.
The upgrades showcased at Google I/O 2023 demonstrate the remarkable progress made in AI and collaborative intelligence. They open new possibilities for increased productivity, improved decision-making, and enriched user experiences. However, it is crucial to navigate these advancements with caution, addressing concerns related to privacy, authenticity, and ethical implications. As AI continues to evolve, it is vital to strike a balance between leveraging its benefits and ensuring responsible and conscious integration into our daily lives.
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