Another year has passed and on 10 May we once again gathered in our office at Islands Brygge to take a look at what Google has in store for us – just as we did with KotlinConf just a few weeks ago. We were all looking forward to the announcements, and what new exciting things we’re going to be able to get our hands on this time around, when we sat down to follow the live keynote and afterwards dive deep into all of the pre-recorded sessions that are available on demand.
The (Product) Keynote
With the recent hype around AI coming from ChatGPT and other solutions from OpenAI, Microsoft and others, we were fully expecting answers from Google, who announced their decision to become an AI-first company back in 2017. Unsurprisingly, that is exactly what the keynote was mainly focused on. Sundar Pichai started us off with some nitty-gritty details with the new and improved PaLM 2 model as well as more specialised versions of it, tailored to different fields.
What was interesting, however, was to see it in action and the improvements they are making to their own products, which have been around for a very long time, by integrating AI that help their users get more out of it.The use of Bard together with Workspace products from Docs to Slides seems quite promising, and what do you know, maybe next time you are reading one of these posts it will be Bard-ed up just a touch. Also, once we get a chance to work with the new PaLM API for developers, it will be very interesting to see how it can help push the products out there to a new level.
As AI’s becoming more and more popular over the past years, it’s very important to pay attention to the ethical challenges that this brings. Google presented us with their dedication to this, sharing their goal of building Responsible AI and introduction of adversarial testing, and it’s important for those companies developing and evolving AI to set and adhere to very high moral standards. However, how successful and consistent they will be at maintaining the integrity is not just up to Google or other big companies but to all of us as the community as well. As we all know “With great power comes great responsibility” – thank you, Uncle Ben.
Last but not least, dessert. At the end of the keynote we heard the official announcement of Pixel Tablet and Foldable devices. These products entering the line-up of Google’s own fleet of devices shows us that they’re willing to bring better experience to large screens. We look forward to seeing what we as developers and designers here at Shape will be able to do with our own products, and what tools Google will be bringing to us to achieve that. Some of which we can actually see a glimpse of already in the developer keynote. And speaking off…
The Developer Keynote
Once more Google dived deep into how AI can help, but this time from a developer’s perspective with a pretty exciting Android Studio Bot. The idea’s no longer new and unbelievable as it would have been a few years back, with ChatGPT and Github’s Co-pilot already proving it as a working concept, but it’s good to see Google making an effort to include this in the tools we’re already using on a daily basis. The only sour note in this is that it will only be available in the US for the time being, so us folks here in Denmark will have to wait until we can get our hands on it to see it in action.
Going back to the large screens, the newly announced device streaming feature for Android Studio would be a great help in tackling those tricky foldable/flippable transitions or just having access to check how your app looks on a tablet when you are out in a cafe sipping coffee and don’t have a large screen device at hand. Of course, one can only wonder how fast, responsive, and network heavy such a tool would be, but as it’s hidden behind a waitlist, I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
This was but a slice of things being announced at this year’s Google I/O. There are many more interesting things to see from new guidance on APIs on predictive back gestures to updates to Google Play Console and the new Android Design Hub that we are excited to explore and ponder throughout the rest of the year.
To learn all the details about new tools, APIs and possibilities of Android development, head over to the Android and Play at Google I/O 2023 YouTube playlist and pick and choose which side of Android you want to learn about next. See you there!