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Google I/O Conference 2024: Gemini Integrations, Project Astra and Android AI

Last Updated 24 hours ago
James Morales
Last Updated 24 hours ago

Key Takeaways

  • On Tuesday, May 14, Google hosted it’s annual I/O developer conference.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) was a central focus of I/O 2024.
  • Google’s AI announcements at the event include new Gemini integrations, Android features and an upcoming AI assistant being developed as Project Astra.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) featured prominently in the 2024 edition of Google’s I/O developer conference. 

CEO Sundar Pichai used his keynote address to announce a host of planned Gemini features and integrations, a new AI assistant being developed under the banner of “Project Astra” and a suite of AI-powered upcoming Android features.

Gemini Being Integrated Across Google Products

One of the key takeaways from Pichai’s speech was the emphasis on making AI more “accessible and helpful” by integrating Gemini across Google’s product suite.

Discussing plans to embed the model into the company’s flagship search engine, he said the goal of AI-powered search will be to “understand your intent and deliver insights, not just links.”

Pichai’s comments come as Alphabet is exploring different options to adapt to the changing way people search for information online in the age of AI. 

Anticipated new search features include supercharging Google Lens with Gemini’s video understanding capabilities. A demonstration video for the new technology showed a woman identifying how to fix a broken record player simply by pointing her smartphone camera at it. AI then automatically pulled resources from the web to come up with a solution.

Another big announcement at I/O was Gemini’s integration across Google Workspace, which was launched to coincide with the event. Workspace users can now leverage Gemini within Docs, Gmail, and Slides, enabling a more seamless chatbot experience.

Gemini’s integration with Search and Workspace signals Google’s vision for a future in which AI is embedded across its range of products and services. As Pichai stated: “This is just the beginning.” 

Offering a glimpse into this future, Google unveiled what promises to be one of the most advanced Gemini implementations yet: Project Astra

Project Astra

Officially announced at I/O 2024, Project Astra is billed as a “next-generation” AI agent that packages Gemini’s multimodal capabilities into a Siri-style smartphone assistant.

With chatbot rival OpenAI launching its own speech-optimized model, GPT-4o, this week, a Project Astra demonstration showcased enhanced voice interactions, with the AI responding to voice inputs in real time.

During his address, Google DeepMind chief scientist Demis Hassabis highlighted the multimodal capabilities users can expect from the new platform: “Imagine an AI assistant that can not only understand your words but also your surroundings and actions.”

While the demo video Hassabis played focused on mobiles and smart glasses, a separate I/O session titled “Project Astra: The Future of Ambient Computing,” explored potential Internet of Things applications for the technology

The message of Project Astra is clear. Google clearly views Gemini as central to its mobile strategy going forward. However, the company hasn’t yet committed to a release date.

Nevertheless, the Android operating system’s AI makeover has already begun. 

More AI For Android 

Upcoming Android AI updates announced at I/O 2024 include improvements to “Circle to Search,” which will be expanded to understand symbolic formulas, diagrams, graphs and more.

First launched earlier this year on the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Pixel 8, more smartphones will ship with the feature going forward, although Google didn’t confirm which ones.

Android developers are also being equipped with tools to help them integrate AI into their apps.

Many of this year’s I/O workshops focused on AI developer tools, including the Gemini API, Flutter, Firebase ML and Vertex AI – an “agent builder” that helps developers deploy their own chatbots from a library of 150+ foundation models.

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