Google and Samsung Collaborate to Reveal 'Wear'

From AI bots to collected photographic memories, Google I/O 2021 had a bit of everything.
Fabienne Lang

Google showcased a number of exciting new additions and updates to its ecosystem at this year's virtual Google I/O event. From improved conversation tech to realistic holograms of loved ones, Google's teams have been busy this past year. 

One of the main points of interest is Google and Samsung's collaboration on the renamed "Wear" platform that'll improve Android Watches. So if you were keen on getting yourself a new smartwatch for your Android phone, hold off just a little longer for this new, and improved option.

Android 12 gets even more personalized

As Google puts it "Android 12 builds on everything you love about Android." From what was already a well-personalized system, you can now count on Android 12 to make your phone even more adaptable to your tastes and needs. Its animations and motions are more fluid and "alive," the system spaces have been redesigned, and you have more features to keep your phone secure.

There are also more color, shape, and size options for your widgets and backdrops so that you can make your phone look pretty much exactly as you want it to. By simply choosing your wallpaper, Android 12's system jumps into action to select and apply the matching colors throughout the entire OS. 

LaMDA makes bot conversations more fluid

Short for Language Model for Dialogue Applications, LaMDA significantly improves on AI bot conversations by engaging in free-flowing chats across a number of different topics — just like us humans do. Google hopes its new tech will open more doors to communicating with technology, ultimately leading to more options for useful applications. 

Google Maps sees 5 new updates

There's no doubt about it, where would we be without Google Maps? Lost on a back road with a paper map glued to our nose, that's where. Even if Google Maps already works pretty well, its five new updates will only improve the user's experience. 

Moving forward, Google Maps will minimize hard-braking, so that you no longer experience brake-slamming moments on your way to somewhere.

For those going on foot, the new update includes Live View, so that you have a solid idea of exactly where you're at every step of the way, and 50 new cities will now be able to access the detailed street maps version that launched last year.

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Google Maps will also inform its users of busy areas, something handy as the world's populations try to keep a distance from one another these days. 

The map will become more tailored to you. For instance, if you leave your home at 8 am and open up Google Maps, you'll see more options for coffee shops along your route than, say, nightclubs. 

Google and Samsung Collaborate to Reveal 'Wear'
New, personalized options in Google Maps. Source: Google

Photos and memories personalized

To improve the photo experience and bring back lovely memories, Google's Memories section has seen an AI update. Kick-starting later this summer, Memories will be able to pick out specific, related points in your photos to draw them together.

For instance, if you wore a red backpack for a number of trips and hikes over the past few years, Memories will pick out all the pictures of you and your trusted backpack and showcase them in a slideshow for your enjoyment. 

Another feature Google's improved on is its Cinematic photos, which launched in December 2020. Using machine learning, the system turns regular photos into cinematic experiences. They become "real," so to speak.

Google and Samsung Collaborate to Reveal 'Wear'
Google Photos and Memories. Source: Google

Sit face to face with a hologram of your bestie

This update was most likely inspired by the past year as most people couldn't meet with loved ones, instead turned to virtual catch-ups. Project Starline essentially lets its users look through a "window" and talk naturally with someone else who is life-size and 3D. You can essentially speak with a life-sized hologram of whoever you want to. That's taking virtual chats to a whole new level. 

Samsung and Google work together on Android watches 

Google and Samsung are joining forces on a new unified OS system that uses both Samsung's Tizen and Google's Wear OS to create Wear. The platform will offer a faster experience, a longer battery life, as well as more options to choose from. 

All of these updates will be rolling out at different times in the coming months, but Google certainly has been working on some impressive tech.

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