The Cluttered, A.I Riddled Mess That Was Google I/O 2024

Google IO 2024

One-hundred-twenty-one. That’s the number of times “A.I” was mentioned at this week’s Google I/O–Google’s annual developer’s conference that showcases the newest offerings and updates from the tech giant. It’s a number that, though a tad egregious, shouldn’t come as a surprise as every big tech company around the globe is competing to outdo one another in the race to harness this new technology, regardless of the risks and human costs associated with the tech. Whether it’s startups like Humane Inc. and Rabbit creating A.I-only smart devices with the hopes to challenge the smartphone market, or OpenAI’s ChatGPT on the verge of taking millions of jobs globally, it’s clear that A.I is here to stay–for better or (likely) for worse. That being said, as a tech enthusiast I have a morbid curiosity to see how these companies are implementing the technology within their respective ecosystems; the way Sundar Pichai and Co. went about introducing their new applications at yesterday’s event, however, had my head spinning

The event effectively showcased how Google are going to be implementing A.I in each of their current software offerings in one way or another; powered by their updated language model: Gemini 1.5. From including it in the sidebar of the entirety of Google’s Workspace suite from Docs to Gmail; allowing you to do contextual things like summarize an email thread and write documents while using relevant attachments from your drive; to using that same contextual awareness to do things like taking copies of your receipts and automatically sorting them into a spreadsheet, or asking Photos to sort your child’s swimming progress into a progress summary via the pictures you’ve taken over the years. This contextual awareness is a neat feature and was a throughline for these A.I updates, including Google’s new A.I assistant called Project Astra.

The Astra demo showcased a person using the camera on their phone, pointing at different things around their office and asking the assistant – run by Gemini 1.5 – different questions, from analyzing lines of code on their computer screen to using it to help find their glasses. Speaking of which, right after the person in the demo found their glasses, it was shown to be something akin to Google Glass–Google’s failed attempt at an AR wearable from more than a decade ago. The person wore the glasses and continued to ask the Astra assistant another question via the camera on the wearable. Whether this product exists we don’t know, but Google wouldn’t sneak in something like that for the sake of it.

Google IO 2024
Image: Google

Moving forward, the event would go on to show more software products that are going to be utilizing Gemini 1.5. Including a video generator called Veo, which touts being able to generate a variety of high-quality, cinematic videos with only a simple prompt similar to what OpenAI’s Sora introduced a couple of months ago. Gemini 1.5 will also be integrated with Google’s search engine, giving it a revamp wherein, once again, its contextual awareness of what you’re looking for (i.e. a romantic Mexican restaurant for a specific day) to subscribers more robust and accurate results. That’s the kicker, by the way. Where Gemini 1.0 will be available for free, Gemini 1.5 Pro and all of its associated software integration will only be available to those willing to shell out $20 a month for the subscription–because adding another subscription service is exactly what we all need.

From Veo to Astra to Gems, Google’s I/O was a cavalcade of A.I gibberish that was frankly a tad overwhelming and difficult to keep up with. Sure, some of the features surrounding Gemini 1.5, Workspace in particular, were interesting, but all the contextual awareness features make me wonder how much more access Google will need to your information for the A.I to function–though at this point I guess privacy isn’t something I should even consider when it comes to Google. All of this, combined with OpenAI’s recent showing of ChatGPT-4o, and other tech giants like Apple reportedly moving forward with huge A.I implementations in their next OS updates, make me anxious to think how much this ever-growing technology is going to penetrate our daily lives–and at what cost?

No Comments yet!

Your Email address will not be published.