Kid in a Candy Store: My Trip to Google I/O 2017 - Day 3

TELUS Employee
TELUS Employee

I can’t believe it’s over.  I waited with bated breath for this year’s conference to begin and no sooner did it kick off, am I now sitting here by my lonesome contemplating life after I/O. Maybe I’m being a bit dramatic but boy, I’m going to miss it.


The final day brought about some of the most complex discussions of the conference. And it was today that I began to think about Google’s endeavours as being much bigger than just putting out a consumer product.




Machine Learning


Day three started with some meaty discussions on machine learning, AI, big data and neural networks. The idea is that by enabling and analysing how machines learn, we can give rise to new discoveries in how we, ourselves, can learn. Teach the machine so that it can then better teach us.


The machine learning panel also examined humanity’s most complex, yet most existential question(s): why do we age? What makes us alive? Why do we die?


It may sound silly and obvious, but aging is the biggest risk factor for death. Rates for nearly all causes of natural death increase as we get older. Alphabet’s brightest minds - with the help of machine deep learning - are trying to understand why we age so that risk factors can be mitigated thereby extending life.


Many teams at Alphabet are dedicated to building technology for the betterment of humanity - not just for a select few - by looking at ways to help us live longer, healthier, and more fulfilling lives.


More Google Assistant, More Actions


After listening to the machine learning panel, I was off to see Google Actions in . . . action. With this addition to Google Assistant, it really feels like we’re on the precipice of a Jetsons-like future.


Imagine a Google Assistant that doesn’t only answer questions; it’ll complete transactions like ordering takeout or book a reservation or top up your cellphone plan’s data bucket if you’re running low. It’ll also help remove the friction of signing up, logging in and entering payment details online. Machine learning, artificial intelligence and a robot butler? Yes, please!


Android O


Nope - still no news on the naming scheme but a little bit of news nevertheless.


Android O will see a much needed update to the notification system by allowing message types. Messages from your friends and family will be automatically prioritized to the highest importance over notifications about a sale at your favourite retailer.


Another update we’ll see will be in the form of notification badges so that you’ll finally know about that unchecked notification through a red dot in the corner of your app - very iPhone-esque.


Final Thoughts


As I reflect on my week at Google I/O, the biggest takeaway for me is how Google is fully invested in machine learning and AI. They see it as the driving force behind the evolution of industry and economies and are developing new technologies to enable the massive leaps in processing and computer power and implementing it in consumer products like Google Home, Assistant, TV and Auto.


While the consumer products are cool, they’re meant more as a platform enabler meant to bridge customers with the power of machine learning from within their homes. It’s really cool stuff and I can’t wait to see all the initiatives underway and being dreamed up at Google make their way into our lives.


With a mild sunburn and a few blisters, I bid adieu to Mountain View and all the super talented industry workers heading home to work on their next project. Thank you to all the Googlers for being such gracious hosts to over 8000 technophiles over the past three days. I hope to be back next year and hopefully give you a more personal tour.


Marc Bell, Product Acquisitions, out.


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