Google I/O 2018: Cues for the enterprise tech specialist

CIOs and CTOs take note: to win, you must get your technology to sound better, simplify your CX, and think out of the box with AI.
9 May 2018

An attendee competes in a game of rock, paper, scissors against a Handbot robot during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/ Stephen Lam

Technology leaders like Google set the tone for the market with new product launches – even if they’re consumer technology products.

At the Google I/O 2018 event at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California yesterday, announcements about the Google Assistant, Android P, Maps and many other cool developments indicated impressive changes for business users in the year(s) to come.

Technology should sound better

An interesting announcement was the upgrade to the Google Assistant. The company has been focused on developing a more natural sounding voice.

At the event, the company said the updated voice will have all the hallmarks of a real human speaking to us – complete with pitch, pace, and pauses. In fact, the Google Assistant will get six new voices – three male and three female.


Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks on stage during the annual Google I/O developers conference in Mountain View, California, May 8, 2018. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Mind-blown moment? The company’s technology is now so advanced that it can extrapolate the voice from a short recording session to mimic the voice “characteristics” of anyone in the world. Including John Legend’s voice.

On a serious note, this is a new benchmark for makers of voice-assistants and “talk-back” enabled solutions. If a company like Google is spending time and resources on refining a product that’s already doing well in the market, it’s proof that other smaller players should too.

By the way, Google is also helping parents teach kids manners by encouraging them to say “Please”. The Assistant, in return, will respond with positive reinforcements.

Integration and CX simplification mean more today

Another Google Assistant feature unveiled was Continued Conversation. It allows you to keep the conversation going and avoid having to say Ok, Google or Hey Google before every command. In fact, you can now even compound your commands using Multiple Actions to just talk to Google Assistant and let it know what you need.

“Turn on the aircon and the TV, switch to ESPN, and order my favorite pizza from Dominos” is what you can ask Google to do now for you – but don’t forget the “Please”.

However, the exciting bit is that you’ll be able to use Google Duplex to get Google Assistant to place a call to your hairdresser or favorite restaurant and get you an appointment or a table – without you speaking a word.

The AI-powered device can answer the questions for you – like when you’d like to visit, how many people will be joining you, or what you’d like to eat. It’s genius, or at least, truly intelligent – and received tremendous applause yesterday.

On the phone, A new Android Slices feature brings fragments of key apps into your search results. This way, if you look for a movie ticket, some lunch, or a ride home on an Android device running the new Android P operating system, you’ll see deeplinks to “getting what you want” via the apps you prefer.

While all those are really cool, these updates carry an important message for technology developers: providing a good experience is important but simplifying that experience is what’s going to win the race to wow customers. If you’re building a solution, make sure you can integrate it with other partners in an ecosystem that benefits you.

In the enterprise world, such partnerships aren’t new – Google Assistant, for example, has tied up with Salesforce to allow users to interact with the program via voice commands through the “Follow-Up” app. If Salesforce refused to integrate, they’d lose an opportunity to delight customers and simplify their experience.

Think out-of-the-box with AI

Every day, companies prove that there’s hardly a problem AI can’t solve. Google is using AI to make its mobile operating system (OS) Android smarter and its mobile hardware better.

The latest edition of the OS the Android P, boasts of adaptive battery usage using machine learning to help mobile devices save power. It does this by understanding which apps you use frequently when you need them and how bright you like your screen.

Google Photos is getting smart and can spot your friends in pictures you take and help you share it with them. It can also help you color photos that are black and white. And that’s not all when it comes to imaging.

With Google Lens, you can snap a piece of content from the newspaper, have Google recognize and type those out for you, and then edit them yourself before you save them in your notes.

AI is also helping Google Lens become proactive. Point your phone at a music artist’s poster, for example, and poof! Your phone will fire up Youtube and play the song or lead you to a playlist featuring the album or artist on the poster. Show it a menu, and you can see pictures of the food you’re about to order (and possibly their ingredients).

All of these features delight customers quite literally. They make customers jump with joy and really integrate with their daily life because they seem to have been created with the customer in mind.

And that’s what new-age AI developers and project managers should do – push the boundaries of AI to ease the pain-points for customers. Give them solutions they always wish they had. Break the barriers of technology as you know it to build products and solutions that make life better.