Google is working on a countless number of projects, and I/O is, as always, an exciting time to see what’s happening at the tech giant. This year’s Google I/O keynote was much like their previous keynotes - lots of projects with a wide variety of impact.
While critics could complain that there was no big release during this keynote, not even Android P, I think the scattered approach to bring ML to literally everything Google makes is a big enough deal in itself. Google has been crunching data at godspeed with its custom Tensor Processing Units (TPUs). Today, they launched the v3 of their physical TPUs, which have some fancy liquid cooling for significant gains in performance. Google’s approach of adding AI to almost all applications, including Google Photos and Maps, is surely going to pay off - with millions of people already depending on it, it will save time and money.
All that said, my favourite part of this event is the new Google Assistant appointment booking feature.
When you ask Google Assistant to set an appointment with a business that doesn’t support online reservations, the Assistant will call the business and speak to a person in a real conversation. It sounds sci-fi, but the Assistant can actually converse beautifully. Take a look:
(The video below starts playing at 1:55:40 seconds)
The assistant handles this conversation just like a human. But what’s more impressive is the way it handles non-ideal situations:
(starts playing at 1:57:56)
Now, Pichai did confirm that this does not always work. Nonetheless, the potential is huge. Using TensorFlow to train a speech synthesizer - something that Google’s DeepMind has spent years on, WaveNet - with millions of phone calls is already a great start.
Google I/O had a few more interesting bits I would like to share. The company is also bringing AR to maps, to make directions better and having a “visual positioning system” VPS. They are also bringing huge improvements to Google Lens. See this really cool demo here:
(starts playing at 2:45:26)
And finally, on Android P, they are pushing hard on Digital Wellbeing - managing screen time and app usage, while handling annoying notifications better.
(starts playing at 2:31:05)
All in all, Google’s keynote this year was a fantastic peek into what’s coming in our lives. As a computer science student, it inspires me to deep-dive into machine learning and make something cool with frameworks like TensorFlow.
The Tesla Model 3 is more than just an electric car - it is a pivotal point in the history of cars. An affordable electric car that has some of the most advanced technologies, including Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’, was in the works for multiple years now, and tomorrow will be the day Tesla can officially show off their car.
Last week, Tesla completed production of its first Model 3. Tomorrow, it will be delivered to the first customers - employees of SpaceX and Tesla, who will be testing the car for bugs before shipping it to the public.
The Model 3 is essentially the final step in Elon Musk’s Master Plan in making the electric car for everyone a reality. However, this will be far from the last car we will see from Tesla. In the coming months, Tesla could reveal an electric pick-up as well as a full sized electric truck. With Musk’s ever-growing popularity and majorly positive reviews about Tesla, the company will hope to become a big player in the automobile market in the near future.
That said, you can watch tomorrow’s event live on Tesla’s website.
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It has been over a month since the iOS 11 Developer Beta was released. In the last five weeks, I have explored iOS 11 to its depths, and it is unquestionably a great update. iOS 11 is not a design overhaul; rather, it is a design evolution - perfection, of sorts. It takes the best of iOS 10 and packages it with even more features and a stronger control over functionality.
I know I criticized iOS 10 for not being a significant update, and I still stand by it. iOS 10 was half-baked - the pagination of the control centre caused more havoc than expected, the Music app had a standout new design that didn’t match with the rest of the OS, the Health app didn’t show steps until you tapped into the ‘Activity' section, and the animations were old and boring.
iOS 11 corrects many (if not almost all) of iOS 10’s mistakes, making it an update worthy of a positive review.
The All New Control Center
iOS 11 features a new control center with blocks for various settings. The basic settings toggles are in one block and the music controls are in another. The brightness and volume have larger vertical sliders for better access. Almost all the control center blocks can be 3D Touch[ed] or long pressed for additional options and functionality. But other than basic aesthetic changes, the new Control Center has a few features worth mentioning:
- You can (finally) toggle on and off cellular data and personal hotspot in the Control Centre
- You can customize the Control Centre to some extent to add additional toggles
- There is a 'record screen' toggle that finally makes screen recording on iOS a reality
- The Apple TV toggle has a full remote accessible through 3D Touch
Those are just a few, but there are plenty more great enhancements (and some small tweaks) that make the new Control Centre more useful.
Refined Animations + Improved Design
iOS 11 for iPad
Okay, I’ll admit it. I love the iPad even more after this update. In fact, iOS 11 on the iPad may be a good enough reason to get yourself a new iPad if you don’t have one or want to upgrade. I tried iOS 11 Developer Preview on the new 9.7” iPad, and the multitasking features with drag-and-drop blew me away. Plus, the Files app on the iPad (and the iPhone, for that matter) are a great improvement from the iCloud Drive app from iOS 10.
Here’s a video by The Verge that covers some of the features:
There is just so much iOS 11 brings to the table - from sending money on Apple Pay through iMessage to scanning QR codes using the camera app - that there is no reason to hold off from upgrading to it when it comes out this fall. iOS 11 makes iPad a beast. It makes Siri better. It makes simple tasks like annotating screenshots more direct. It’s hard not to like iOS 11.
Should you upgrade to the Public Beta? I’d say yes - and no. If you are doing it on an iPad that isn't given too much attention, you should do it, because it is worth it. On the iPhone though, be ready to experiences some camera crashes, battery drain and overall slowdown. Or maybe you can wait for a future beta release before hopping on the train!
You can try out iOS 11 here for free, officially, via Apple’s Public Beta program: https://beta.apple.com/sp/betaprogram/
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