Earlier this year, we were wowed by Google’s presentation of Google Stadia at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. The new gaming service will offer instant access to AAA titles across a multitude of devices. Phones, tablets, Chromecasts and laptops will all be able to stream console-quality games via Stadia in 4K resolutions up to 60 frames-per-second. Google is being bullish about the new service, saying "the future of gaming is not a box". When Stadia launches, it could be a game-changer.
Google also recently showed off some of its latest innovations at its annual Google IO event. While many headlines focussed on the two new, cheaper Pixel handsets, the Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL, it’s in software where we think Google really shone. It’s making some big developments to its Android operating system and its Google Assistant this year. Android Q’s Live Caption feature can automatically add real-time subtitles to any video. It works with movies, audio and even video chat apps such as Skype and Google Duo. This is an amazing innovation that could benefit deaf and hard of hearing people (there are 466 million in the world) or anyone who wants to watch a video quietly on their commute.
Google is also working on improving Google Duplex, an AI assistant it first demoed last year making phone calls to book appointments on behalf of its users. Now, it’s bringing Duplex to the web, so that you will be able to say “OK, Google, book me a hire car for my next holiday” and Duplex will scan your email to find your holiday dates and then fill in all the necessary fields on the car hire company’s website on your behalf.
Google Lens has been given some new tricks as well. It will be able to show you popular dishes, and user reviews, when you take a picture of a restaurant menu, and it will be able to read out text on signs, even if it’s the sign is in a foreign language. That’ll getting around on holidays abroad easier, as will Google’s new Augmented reality walking directions which superimposes directional arrows over your phone’s camera image when you are in maps. That was only recently announced but it’s already rolling out to some Pixel handsets.
Finally, Google has addressed the privacy concerns that have been in the press for many companies over the last few months. Its new Google Nest Hub Max has a mic/camera on/off switch on the back as well as a green light on the front of the device to let you know when the camera is on. Google is also bringing Chrome’s Incognito mode to more of its apps, such as Google Maps, while you can also now choose how long Google should save your activity data for before it is automatically deleted. Security and privacy is also the central focus of Android Q, according to Google’s Stephanie Cuthbertson who said: “Android Q includes almost 50 features focused on security and privacy, all providing more protection, transparency, and control.”
Congratulations, Google, you are the winner of Most Innovative Company in the T3 Awards 2019!
Check out more of this year's award winners on our main T3 Awards 2019 page.