While Google’s I/O Developer Conference isn’t exclusively dedicated to the digital workspace, there are enough workspace technology announcements to make it worth checking out. dive deeper, which will be the focus of our news wrap-up this week.
Google has made a number of announcements this year that seem like great additions to any organization operating in Google environments, especially for those operating in a hybrid environment. So, without further ado, five workplace-related announcements coming out of Google I/O that range from the practical to the ambitious.
1. Summaries Coming to Workspace ‘Spaces’
One of the nods to the more flexible and asynchronous way people now work is the extension of its auto-generated summaries to Workspace ‘Spaces’, Google’s chat app for discussions and file sharing .
Like many announcements this year, the summaries are especially for those working in hybrid teams who may have missed something while offsite or offline. Google first introduced summaries to Google Docs in February.
At the time, Google explained summaries as a way to automatically distill the content of a longer document into a brief synopsis — a Cliff Notes digital workspace, if you will.
With its entry into Spaces, the feature will select and highlight a chat’s most valuable information and allow users to skip to the most relevant chat history content, theoretically allowing them to catch up. much faster than analyzing a long trade.
Summaries are expected for Business, Enterprise, Education, Essentials and Frontline editions in the coming months. Google also plans to bring transcripts to Google Meet later this year. Transcript summaries are not expected until 2023.
2. Google AI for Workplaces
This is all driven by Google’s ongoing work on machine learning and artificial intelligence. Google’s work with AI has had its fair share of problems, though they’re shared across the industry. Problems with AI language models, for example, have led to gender and racial biases and sometimes inaccurate or specious conclusions. Google is trying to address these issues in part by opening up its AI work to selected researchers for testing through its new AI Test Kitchen.
AI Test Kitchen is an app where a select few can experiment and give feedback on some of Google’s latest AI technologies. The company hasn’t finalized who will be able to access the app, but suggests it will be an invite-only program. According to Google, its goal is to improve Google’s AI development.
Although Google is slowing down its AI language models, it still sees AI as a solution to some of the common problems encountered in hybrid working in general, and video conferencing in particular. Molly McHugh-Johnson listed a number of upcoming Workspace features in an official Google blog, which were first announced during I/O:
- Restoration of portraits: Uses Google AI technology to improve video quality in poor lighting, poor Wi-Fi, old camera and more.
- Portrait light: Uses machine learning to simulate studio quality lighting in the video stream.
- Reverberation: Filters out echoes in spaces with hard surfaces to improve the sound quality of meetings.
- Live share: Synchronizes content shared in a Google Meet call to allow participants to control media.
- Security: Sends many existing security protections in Gmail to Google Slides, Docs, and Sheets.
3. Google Multisearch dives into AR
Another feature that built on the momentum of a previous announcement was “Multisearch Near Me.” Google first introduced multiple search in April.
According to Google, the extension of this feature will allow people to combine an image or screenshot with the text “near me” to receive results for local retailers or restaurants that would have the clothing, household items or other items that may be of interest to you. Multisearch Near Me is expected later this year.
The company also announced an ongoing development for multisearch that gives a nod to AR. Upcoming functionality will allow searching across multiple objects.
The current visual search in Google can recognize objects captured in a single image. In the future, with an advancement called “scene exploration”, you’ll be able to use multisearch to scroll the camera to glean information about multiple objects in a larger view.
4. Google’s new AR glasses?
Reports have been circulating for the past few months that Google is developing AR glasses, but nothing has been confirmed – until the I/O conference. The eyewear prototypes were revealed in a promotional video during Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai’s keynote. Pichai told the audience that this was just a preview of what’s to come.
“Language is so fundamental to connecting with each other. Still, understanding someone who speaks a different language or trying to follow a conversation if you’re deaf or hard of hearing can be a challenge,” Pichai told the audience.
The video demonstrated practical use cases where AR glasses could help people in the workplace as well as at home, a stark contrast to Google’s first foray into glasses, Google Glass, which fueled the privacy concerns while failing to address practical scenarios similar to these. Google Glass has had the dubious honor of inspiring a new insult – the Glasshole.
As inspiring as the video is, however, Google makes no promises that such a product will actually hit the market. The video and announcement at I/O may have tested the waters to gauge people’s reactions. We’ll find out soon enough, though, as Google was an early player in the VR space and it’s unlikely to be bypassed by any of the new or established entrants into the space.
5. Protection of personal data
Finally, as part of its ongoing review of its data policies, Google announced two features aimed at giving users more control over their personal information.
In the coming months, Google said it will be easier for people to request the removal of search results that contain personal information. Jen Fitzpatrick, senior vice president of Google, wrote about two new tools that will give users more control over their data.
- Results relevant to you in the search: With the new tool to accompany the updated removal policies, people can more easily request removal of Google search results containing their contact information, such as phone numbers, home addresses and email addresses. This functionality is expected in the coming months in the Google application.
- My Ad Center: Towards the end of this year, Google will launch more controls for ad privacy settings. This will allow brands to see more or less of, and an easier way to choose to personalize ads for customers. My Ads Center gives you even more control over the ads you see on YouTube, Search, and your Discover feed, plus the ability to block and report ads.
The company made a number of other security upgrades and releases, but in terms of personal data protection, these two stood out.