- Google execs had a clear message at the company’s annual I/O developer conference: “Helpful, helpful, helpful. Google wants to be more helpful.”
- The catch – as we should know by now – is that a product can only be as helpful as the information shared with it.
- Google is proud to have these privacy options available to users – not cutting off those entirely who have less faith in the company.
- But coming out of I/O, it’s clear that the tech giant wants to convert even the sceptics.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Listening to Google execs on-stage at its annual developer’s conference this week, there was a very clear and deliberate message: “Helpful, helpful, helpful. Google wants to be more helpful.”
The mantra was set into motion by Google CEO Sundar Pichai during his opening remarks on Tuesday. Google has evolved from “a company that helps you find answers to a company that helps you get things done” he declared.
And it makes sense. After years of collecting and organising unearthly amounts of data, coupled with its more recent focus on artificial intelligence (AI), Google is now in a prime position to deliver products centered around action and making our lives easier.
The catch – as we should know by now – is that a product can only be as helpful as the information that you share with it.
Take the next-generation Google Assistant that wooed conference-goers with its speed of navigating apps and completing tasks. Beyond shrinking the size of its learning models, Assistance’s new superpower comes from users not having to use the common trigger words – like “Hey, Google” and instead lets them simply say what they want to do, like “open calendar” or “text Mum.”
Foregoing trigger words is made possible by a feature called “Constant Conversations,” which keeps the microphone enabled for up to eight seconds after an initial command is given. That means Google Assistant can move at faster speeds, if you’re ok with it listening for just a little longer.
And then there’s Face Match, a new facial recognition feature that pulls up personalised information – like someone’s daily tasks or estimated commute time – on the company’s new smart display, the Nest Hub Max. To surface that useful information, though, requires Google to establish and store a facial model for each user.
For Assistant, a Google spokesperson told Business Insider that “we conduct a very limited fraction of audio transcription to improve speech recognition systems, and apply a wide range of techniques to protect user privacy.” And for Face Match, the company touts that facial profiles are created and stored locally on the device, mitigating privacy concerns of sending such information to company servers.
Still, if privacy is a concern for users, they will likely forego these features, and in return, the products won’t be as helpful.
Google is proud to have these privacy options available to users – not cutting off those entirely who have less faith in the company.
But coming out of I/O, it’s clear that the tech giant wants to convert even the sceptics. First, by creating its most compelling product lineup ever. And over time, by gaining their trust.
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