As Google’s annual I/O developer conference wraps up for another year, there was one theme that stood out above all others.

 

Would you be shocked if we told you it was AI?

Probably not – it’s a topic that has dominated the comms & SEO space, and in their I/O keynote, Google have burst into the spotlight to show off their plans for ramping up their own AI ambitions.

So, what were the biggest take-aways from this year’s conference?

We’ve got the full scoop right here…

 

A new evolution in search

Google are still poll-position when it comes to search, despite AI-powered search platforms like ChatGPT muscling in, and the latest AI updates for its core product cement its position as top dog (at least for the moment).

Some of the biggest updates to search include:

  • Google is testing introducing a “Web” specific search, like you see with the other options available, such as “videos”, “Images”, “Shopping” etc. This will block all ads, and other “types” of results in the search results, focusing only on organic listings. Taking it back to the original blue links look!
  • Google Play updates, with a new discovery feature for apps, new ways to attract users and other developer-facing tools.
  • AI-organised search, with better presented & readable search results, and better results from longer queries.
  • Ask Photos – an AI super-powered feature in Google Photos, allowing users to search across their collection of snaps using natural language queries rather than specific people, places or things (like users currently have to do).
  • AI Overviews – summarised answers that collect info from multiple sources, displayed at the top of the results page, meaning you won’t even need to leave Google to get the answers you need (this one is proving a little controversial).
  • Circle to Search, designed as a way to more naturally engage with Google. Android users can get instant answers from gestures like circling, highlighting, scribbling or tapping.
  • Multi-Step Reasoning feature for layered information discovery.
  • Google Lens has also been updated to provide answers and troubleshooting tips on whatever the user points at.

But it wasn’t just search that saw a suite of new benefits.

Gemini gets a boost

Google’s answer to ChatGPT, Gemini, has had a few updates if its own. Google announced that the newest edition of their large language model, Gemini 1.5 Pro, will be rolled out globally for developers from June.

Gemini at work

Google’s AI model will have the capability to integrate handy AI tools into its Workplace suite, adding a Gemini toggle in apps like Gmail, Docs, and Slides to assist with tasks such as crafting emails and summarising documents.

For example, within Gmail, Gemini will have the ability to provide a summary of all recent emails from a certain sender, or based on a certain topic, providing an efficient breakdown of any key communications that may have been missed.

That’s the kind of efficiency we like to see (let’s not talk about Office’s horrific search features…the less said about those, the better…)!

Google also introduced Learn LM, with AI features for educational support, and a Gemini-powered AI Teammate embedded in apps like Docs will help coordinate work, while the new Gems feature automates routine digital tasks.

Gemini Nano, has been enhanced to Gemini Nano with Multimodality. According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, this upgrade enables the model to process inputs from a range of sources like text, photos, audio, and live video. The programme can then summarise content or answer queries. A demonstration showed at the conference showed Nano scanning book titles using a camera and store them in a database for later recognition.

 

Project Astra

Google has introduced Project Astra, a clever little visual chatbot, kind of like an advanced Google Lens. Using a phone’s camera or smart glasses, Astra can interpret and answer questions about the user’s surroundings, from places out in the world to code on a screen.

A close up image of a hand holding a smartphone displaying Google

Creative tools

Ready to get creative?

Google has launched VideoFX, a generative video model developed from DeepMind’s Veo, capable of creating 1080p videos from text prompts. The programme has a ton of flexibility and the demos that Google showed through the conference are both VERY impressive, and a little unnerving.

It’s also given ImageFX an all-round upgrade. The high-res image generator will now have fewer issues when it comes to unwanted digital artefacts in image generation – something the programme has suffered with in the past. It’s ability to analyse prompts and generate text has also had a boost.

Google is shifting towards improving video experience, with the introduction of the “Perspectives” filter which will show short and long-form content, containing multimedia which is user generated. As we’ve seen the rise of searches occurring on other platforms like TikTok, we know video is becoming more of a focus for the search engine.

Google also revealed its musical side with the reveal of DJ Mode in MusicFX. DJ Mode allows users to generate song loops and samples based on nothing but prompts!

 

Safety & security

We’re always keen to see developments when it comes to safety, both online and offline., and Google are clearly listening to their users concerns. Android users will now have access to new scam detection features, assessing phone calls in real-time and flagging language that sounds like that scammers tend to use. If it detects any funny business, it will interrupt the call and provide an onscreen prompt suggesting you hang up!

Google is also expanding its SynthID watermarking tool. SynthID helps users to flag content made by AI, preventing misinformation, deepfakes or phishing scams.

There were over 100 new features announced at Google I/O this year – not a number to be sniffed at!

You can find a full list of (almost) everything announced at Google I/O here.

We’re really excited to see how these new AI features work in action, and how the updates in search will impact the SEO space.

If you’re keen to see how the latest innovations in search can benefit your business, get in touch today and let us work our magic on your brand.

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