What to expect at Google I/O 2023

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File photo of a person handling a Google Pixel smartphone
| Photo Credit: REUTERS

The Google I/O 2023 developer conference scheduled on May 10 could witness the search giant announcing some important tech developments and unveiling a few devices.

Before we get into what to expect, let’s do a recap of what Google announced during last year’s Google I/O conference.

2022 Gadget Recap

Google’s top officials spoke about the previously released Google Pixel 6A and the Pixel 6 Pro smartphones. The company also revealed details about the Google Pixel 7 and the Google Pixel 7 Pro that launched in the fall of 2022, explaining that the phones ran on the next generation Google Tensor SoC.

At I/O 2022, Google introduced the Pixel Buds Pro as the first Pixel Buds with active noise cancellation (ANC). It further announced the Google Pixel Watch as the first watch built inside and out by Google. The Pixel Watch was released in the fall of 2022.

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2022 Tech Recap

After briefing listeners about the Android 13 interface and the digital Google Wallet, the tech giant announced that 24 new languages were being added to Google Translate. It also shared updates in augmented reality (AR) technology that could enhance translation and transcription services.

The Alphabet-owned company showcased how the Google Maps experience improved for users in Africa.

It also introduced LaMDA 2, which was deemed Google’s “most advanced conversational model” at the time. CEO Sundar Pichai then introduced the AI Test Kitchen to help users generate ideas and tasks by leveraging AI. He also briefed watchers about the PaLM model, which was trained on 540 billion parameters.

More user-centric announcements included automated summarisation starting with Google Docs, localised multi-search, search features based on more inclusive skin tone spectrums, two-step verification by default, improved Google Assistance, and an easier process for requesting the removal of personal data from Google Search.

2023 Gadget Expectations

Pixel owners and Android watchers are looking forward to Google’s gadget lineup this year as the tech giant is slated to release its first foldable smartphone: the Google Pixel Fold.

While some possible specifications have been leaked, Google has only released a short video clip of the Pixel Fold. Future buyers are awaiting a potential release date and more technical details at this year’s conference.

Attendees will also be looking forward to details about the Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro smartphones.

Separately, gadget watchers are anticipating updates on the Pixel Tablet to see whether the leaked specifications and prices match reality.

Budget buyers may look out for details about the Google Pixel 7a, the more accessible variant of Google’s flagship smartphone models.

2023 Tech Expectations

Google I/O attendees will be anticipating more information about the Android 14 OS and how it will upgrade the Android 13 user experience.

Generative AI will be a major theme, with users expecting updates on Google’s AI-powered chatbot Bard. Google also planned to bring AI features such as voices and chat to the search experience as part of a project code-named ‘Magi’. More information on this is expected during the conference.

There will also be questions on advances in PaLM, LaMDA, and the AI Test Kitchen.

Indian Users’ Gripe

Google’s presence in India has been a matter of concern and a target of criticism, as gadgets such as the Google Pixel 6 and the Google Pixel 6 Pro were not formally launched in the country, and only came to online retailers after months of delay.

While even premium device maker Apple is looking to grow its presence in the Indian market and has opened two retail centres in the country, Indian users who bought Google gadgets do not have convenient options for aftersales services and support near them. Furthermore, a Google spokesperson said in the fall of 2022 that there were no plans to launch the Pixel Watch and Pixel Tablet in India any time soon.

Google also offers a virtual private network (VPN) service through Google One for its Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro smartphone users, but this feature is not available for India residents.

For Indian watchers, this year’s Google I/O conference should offer more information as to whether the Big Tech giant will connect with them or sideline them yet again.

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