Google rolling out arse­nal of ser­vices, gad­gets

Google Photo will let you share whole li­braries — au­to­mat­i­cally, if you wish

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS - MICHAEL LIEDTKE

Google pro­vided a look at its lat­est dig­i­tal of­fer­ings, with a heavy fo­cus on its ef­forts to ex­tend ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence fea­tures into more of its apps and ser­vices.

Chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer Sun­dar Pichai un­veiled Google Lens, a set of vi­sion-based com­put­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties that can un­der­stand what you are look­ing at. It will first be avail­able as part of Google’s voice-con­trolled dig­i­tal as­sis­tant — which bears the straight­for­ward name “Google As­sis­tant” — and Pho­tos app. In the real world, that means you could, for in­stance, point your phone cam­era at a restau­rant and get re­views for it.

Pin­ter­est has a sim­i­lar tool. Also called Lens, it lets peo­ple point their cam­eras at real-world items and find out where to buy them, or find sim­i­lar things on­line.

An­other tool in Google Pho­tos will prompt you to share pho­tos you take with peo­ple you know. For in­stance, Pho­tos will no­tice when you take a shot of a friend and nudge you to send it to her, so you don’t for­get. Google will also let you share whole photo li­braries with oth­ers. Face­book has its own ver­sion of this fea­ture in its Mo­ments app.

One po­ten­tially un­set­tling new fea­ture in Pho­tos will let you au­to­mat­i­cally share some or all of your pho­tos with other peo­ple. Google claims the fea­ture will be smart enough so that you could au­toshare only spe­cific pho­tos — say, of your kids — to your part­ner or a friend.

The com­pany is also giv­ing the crowd a look at new twists in its An­droid soft­ware for mo­bile de­vices, which pow­ers more than 80 per cent of the world’s smart­phones. The next ver­sion of An­droid aims to gauge and con­trol how much bat­tery life your apps are us­ing. A fea­ture called Google Play Pro­tect, mean­while, will scan all your apps for ma­li­cious soft­ware.

As part of a years-old tra­di­tion, Google will name the next An­droid ver­sion af­ter a dessert or sweet­tast­ing snack be­gin­ning with the let­ter “O.” (The cur­rent ver­sion of An­droid is the N ver­sion, Nougat.) It of­ten takes years for a new ver­sion of the soft­ware to make it to older phones, and never ar­rives at all for some.

Ri­val Ap­ple plans to un­veil changes to the op­er­at­ing sys­tem for its iPhone next month. Many of Google’s prod­ucts are also vy­ing against sim­i­lar of­fer­ings from other tech con­glom­er­ates like Ama­zon and Mi­crosoft.

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