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Google I/O 2024 Set to Showcase AI Innovations Once More

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Google’s developer conference starts with a 01 PM ET keynote on May 14th.

Google is preparing to hold its annual Google I/O developer conference next week, and naturally, it will be all about AI. The company has no secret about that. Since last year’s I/O, it has debuted Gemini, its new, more powerful model meant to compete with OpenAI’s ChatGPT, and it has been testing new features for Search, Google Maps, and Android. Expect to hear a lot about that stuff this year.

When Google I/O will happen and where you can watch

Google I/O kicks off on Tuesday, May 14th, at 10 AM PT / 1 PM ET with a keynote talk. You can catch that on Google’s site or its YouTube channel via the livestream link embedded at the top of this page. (There’s also a version with an American Sign Language interpreter.) Set a good amount of time aside for that; I/O tends to last a couple of hours.

AI at I/O

Google has been clear: I/O this year will be all about AI. Gemini—not without some controversy — has been out in the world for a few months now, as has the company’s smaller Gemma model. A lot of the keynote will probably cover how Google is fusing Search and generative AI. The company has been testing new search features like AI conversation practice for English language learners and image generation for shopping and virtual try-ons.

Google will probably also focus on ways it plans to turn your smartphone into more of an AI gadget. That means more generative AI features for Google’s apps. It’s been working on AI features that help with dining, shopping, or finding EV chargers in Google Maps. Google is also testing a feature that uses AI to call a business and wait on hold for you until there’s a human being available to talk to.

The Pixel as an AI gadget

I/O could also see the debut of a new, more personal version of its digital assistant, rumored to be called “Pixie.” The Gemini-powered assistant is expected to integrate multimodal features like the ability to take pictures of objects to learn how to use them or get directions to a place to buy them.

That could be bad news for devices like the Rabbit R1 and the Human AI Pin, which each recently launched and struggled to justify their existence. At the moment, the only advantage they may have is that using a smartphone as an AI wearable is hard (though not impossible).

Also Read: Explained: TinyLlama – The Promising Generation of Powerful Smaller Language Models

Will there be hardware at I/O?

It seems unlikely that Google will focus much on new hardware this year, given that the Pixel 8A is already available for preorder and you can now buy a relaunched, cheaper Pixel Tablet, unchanged except for the fact that the magnetic speaker dock is now a separate purchase. The company could still tease new products like the Pixel 9—which, in typical Google fashion, is already leaking all over the place—and the Pixel Tablet 2.

The search giant could also discuss its follow-up to the Pixel Fold, which is rumored to get a mouthful of a rebrand to the Pixel 9 Pro Fold.

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