Google opens up digital assistant to iPhone

The Assistant will also pull up options related to a movie theatre amongst other places through its viewfinder mode.

The Google Assistant debuted a year ago on the company's own hardware, and Google has gradually extended the tool to devices from other manufacturers running on its Android operating system.

Google is expected to give the crowd a look at new twists in its Android software for mobile devices.

Mobile phone apps took center stage at Google's annual developer conference on Wednesday as the search giant announced new features for its digital assistant and its popular photo app while devoting little time to the Android mobile operating system. And there will be a version of the Play Store that highlights apps specifically designed for the next billion users coming online, while still offering the entire app catalog.

Users will soon be able to make hands free phone calls using the device, and support for services like SoundCloud, Deezer, Spotify (free) and HBO Now streaming service, the report said.

What Pichai has in mind is to let people engage computers conversationally to a much larger extent than seen before, have software anticipate our needs and let smartphone cameras recognize what they see and provide information about various objects immediately. They let you fully immerse yourself in gaming, video, and other forms of entertainment. Although nicer than the cardboard headsets, the Daydream headset require a compatible phone to work with and now the number of such headphones is very limited. Google says the first breed of standalone headsets with its underlying VR technology will hit the market later this year from Lenovo Group and HTC.

Google's Daydream VR is an excellent smartphone VR system, but so far it's been limited strictly to Google's own Pixel and Pixel XL handsets.

Samsung is trying some of that with its new Bixby Vision feature on the Galaxy S8 phones. It will instead roll out first through Google Photos, allowing users to retroactively trawl through their past albums and display new data. Every photo you've taken, or will take, becomes something that Google can use to figure out where you were, who you were with, what brands you were wearing, what restaurant you were at, and so on.

You'll also be able to order physical books of your favorite albums, starting at $9.99. Android O isn't a groundbreaking release, but it does have some key additions.

We don't know all of the apps that work with Picture-in-Picture, but the two most helpful examples Google showed off were YouTube and Google Maps. There are devices which didn't even run Android Nougat and waiting for the update. With Android Go, users can have affordable devices with a stripped version of Android running scaled down apps from a scaled down version of the PlayStore. It's also prime for those in environments with slow data connections.

"TensorFlow Lite will leverage a new neural network API to tap into silicon-specific accelerators, and over time we expect to see [digital signal processing chips] specifically designed for neural network inference and training", said Dave Burke, Google's vice president of engineering for Android.

  • Arturo Norris