Google’s Live from Paris event: Maps, multisearch, Bard, and… Blobs

Google’s Live from Paris event: Maps, multisearch, Bard, and… Blobs

Marisa Bailey February 10, 2023

Key takeaways from Google’s Live at Paris event, Feb 8, 2023

It’s known that technology companies are constantly reimagining and developing ways that we use tech, particularly when it comes to helping us find what we need. Google, which is celebrating 25 years, held its Live event last week which was streamed from Paris which is home to one of its premier AI research centres. 

The event highlighted how they are making information more accessible using advanced technology such as AI, ML, AR and multi-search and are making efforts to continue to “significantly improve the lives of as many people as possible”.

Understanding Information

One of the ways in which Google is making advancements in information is through Google Translate. 33 new languages have been added to Translate’s offline mode in a bid to be more inclusive and accessible. The tech giant will be rolling out a new feature to Translate in the next couple of weeks, such as adding context to translated phrases so that the user can choose the correct one. Google introduced its Zero-Shot Machine Translation, which is an AI technique that learns to translate into another language without seeing translation pairs which will make 24+ more languages available.

Google continue to claim that “your camera is the best keyboard”. The introduction of Lens means that people can make more sense of what they see, such as being able to shop for an item of clothing that they saw on someone else or even help with solving homework problems. Google states that visual search is increasing in popularity, and has utilised AI to also translate and change the text on an image while keeping and rebuilding the original background. This feature is now rolling out on Android devices.

Now users can learn more from what they see online by using Google Assistant to identify what is in text, video and images. For example, the user can learn more about a landmark that they had seen in a video, just by letting Google Assistant scan the media. The user can also search for certain patterns on Lens so that they can find items that match what they are looking for and can even quickly find a particular item of furniture that caught their eye. These multi-search features will be available globally very soon.

One of the most exciting and talked about announcements was the introduction of Bard, an experimental AI conversational device powered by LaMDA which can use AI to generate different angles of answers, giving the user more options and a variety of key information. With Bard, more complex questions can be asked such as “I want to buy a new car for my family. What should I consider?” and the device can respond with answers that touch upon budget, safety and features of car options. Bard can be asked further questions to help the user make the most of their conversation by responding intelligently. The feature is currently in testing.

a google android phone in someones hand showing the home screen

Exploring the Real World

Google Maps will be transformed from 2D into an evolved multi-dimensional view of the world through the use of Immersive View. It uses AI by fusing street views and ariel images to create a more immersive digital model of the world. The user can also see what the location looks like at different times of the day, including viewing how it will look with weather changes. Immersive view has already been rolled out in cities such as London, New York and Tokyo and there are plans to implement it in more locations. To help with busy periods in locations, Google will point out these busy areas to help make decisions about where to go. With Glanceable Directions, users can track journeys right from the route overview and even the lock screen with updated ETA and prompts to make turns.

Search with Live View uses AI paired with AR to visually find things when the user is on the go, such as ATMs and restaurants by just scanning the surroundings with a phone. Indoor Live View will allow users to search inside places such as an airport or train station and will be rolled out in 1000 new locations in the coming months.

Sustainability was also mentioned, where drivers will be suggested the most sustainable route to go on. As well as this, new Maps features will be implemented into EVs that use Google to make sure the driver has enough charge on the go. Google will suggest the best place to charge the EV, based on traffic, battery and energy levels.

Unlocking Creativity

Google is making efforts to develop a suite of Arts & Culture tech, firstly with the introduction of Blobs, who are singing animated characters created in collaboration with artist David Li. The Blobs can sing opera, where bass, tenor, mezzo-soprano and soprano were taken from real opera singer recordings. The experiment allows the user to create their own opera-inspired song.

Another feature is Woolaroo, an AI-powered language preservation machine which helps preserve dying-out languages by prompting the user to select one of the 17 languages featured, where Woolaroo then uses AI to express what is in an image of a surrounding by identifying it in that language.

Efforts to recover more women who have historically contributed to science are being made by Google by using an AI tool that compares archival records across history by connecting nodes in metadata, identifying women in science. It can even identify women with variations in their names is also capable of analysing image records to recover female contributors.

Users can now search for famous paintings and have the ability to zoom into the rich details of them which would generally be a struggle to see by eye. Art lovers can bring these artworks into the home using the AR feature, allowing the user to see how it would look on their wall.

We’re excited for the launch of Bard, and how Google reacts to Bing’s new search, launched in Beta this week. We’ll be sure to keep you up to speed with the latest developments in search on the Bonded Blog.

Watch the full event here:

Pippa Gilroy is a Digital Marketing MSc student, content creator and social media enthusiast with a passion for writing about the latest industry trends.
Instagram: @pippagilroy / TikTok: @gilroypippa / Twitter: @pippagilroy

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