Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced a slew of new features including new privacy settings, AI tools and release of the first beta of Android 12 that will become part of its products over the course of the year.
Kick starting Google I/O 2021 in a virtual format from the Mountain View campus, Pichai also announced additions to Google Workspace that will enable richer collaboration, especially in view of the pandemic that has driven enterprises across the globe to embrace remote working solutions.
Pichai said that Covid-19 has deeply affected every community over the past year, and "places like Brazil, and my home country of India, are now going through their most difficult moments yet".
"COVID-19 has deeply affected every community, it's also inspired coordination between public and private sectors, and across international borders.
"At Google, we launched products and initiatives to help one another through this time - to help students and teachers continue their learning from anywhere, to help small businesses adapt and grow, and to get emergency relief and vaccines to communities in need," he said on late Tuesday night.
Pichai and other Google executives laid out the roadmap for tools and features that will be rolled out through the year across products like Search, Lens, Photos, Maps and Shopping among others.
For enhanced privacy, Google is introducing a new "quick delete" option that will help delete the last 15 minutes of Search history with a single tap from the Google Account Menu. It is also introducing Location History reminders in Maps Timeline.
"Locked Folder" is a new passcode-protection feature in Google Photos where select photos can be saved separately and these photos won't show up as users scroll through their grid or in shared albums. The feature will be introduced to Google Pixel phones first, and more Android devices throughout the year.
Google has also announced new enhancements to its Password Manager, which helps users create, remember, save and auto-fill passwords across the web. This will help easily change compromised passwords with Google Assistant; provide automatic, proactive notification of compromised passwords; and provide a new tool to make it easy to import passwords from files or other password managers.
The tech giant is also releasing the first beta of Android 12, featuring the biggest design change since 2014. The latest version includes features that give more transparency around which apps are accessing user data, and offers more controls so users can make informed choices.
Currently, there are 3 billion active Android devices around the world, we are building for the future of mobile computing.
The company will add Smart Canvas, adding a new experience in Google Workspace. New features include interactive building blocksósmart chips, templates, and checklists ó as well as new page less format in Docs and emoji reactions. It is also bringing Meet, closer to Docs, Sheets and Slides.
Pichai also talked about Project Starline, an early technology project being run by the company that combines advances in hardware and software to enable friends, families and co-workers that makes them feel like they are together, even if they are in different locations.
Google is also previewing several projects, including an AI-powered dermatology assist tool that aims to help people research and identify common skin issues, with a wider goal of reducing the global burden of skin disease.
(With PTI inputs.)