Google offers a more modest vision for the future

SAN FRANCISCO – There was a time when Google offered us an amazing vision for the future, with unmanned vehicles, augmented reality glasses, unlimited storage of emails and photos, and prophetic texts to complete sentences.

A more modest Google was unveiled on Wednesday when the company launched its annual Developers Conference. Google 2022 is more pragmatic and sensible – a bit more like its business-oriented competitors at Microsoft than a fantasy playground for tech lovers.

And that seems to be the case in terms of design. The bold vision still exists – but it is far from over. The professional executives who now run Google are increasingly focused on making money from the years spent researching and developing those years.

The company’s biggest bet on artificial intelligence, at least so far, does not mean reviving science fiction. This means more subtle changes to existing products.

“AI is improving our products, making them more useful, more accessible, and delivering innovative new features to everyone,” Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Wednesday.

In a brief presentation of Wow Moments, Google emphasized that its products were “helpful.” In fact, Google executives have used the words “help”, “help” or “help” more than 50 times in two hours of keynote speeches, including a marketing campaign for its new hardware products with the following line: “When it comes to help”. “We can not help it.”

It has introduced a cheaper version of its Pixel smartphone, a smartwatch with a round screen and a new tablet next year. (“The most useful tablet in the world.”)

The biggest applause came with a new feature in Google Docs, in which the company’s artificial intelligence algorithms automatically summarize a long document into a single paragraph.

At the same time, it was immediately unclear how Google’s next-generation computing jobs would lead, such as language models that better understand natural speech, or that could split a task into logically small steps. Advertised.

Of course, some new ideas are helpful. In one of the demonstrations of how Google continues to improve search technology, the company showed a feature called “multsearch” where users can take a photo of a shelf full of chocolates and then search for the best-featured dark chocolate bar without the nut. Photo.

In another example, Google showed you how you can find a picture of a particular dish, such as Korean fried noodles, and then search for nearby restaurants that serve that dish.

Most of these capabilities are driven by the in-depth technological work that Google has been doing over the years using so-called machine learning, image recognition and natural language comprehension. It’s more a sign of evolution than a revolution for Google and other big tech giants.

Many companies can build digital services more easily and quickly than ever before because of shared technologies such as cloud computing and storage, but building basic infrastructure – such as artificial intelligence language models – is so expensive and time consuming that only the richest companies can afford it. Invest in them.

As is often the case at Google events, the company has spent little time explaining how it makes money. Google has raised the issue of advertising – which still accounts for 80 percent of the company’s revenue – an hour after other announcements, highlighting a new feature called My Ad Center. It will allow users to request fewer ads from certain brands or highlight the topics they want to see more ads on.

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