Mar 08, 2021 | Updated: 05:41 PM EST

Google I/O 2017 Highlights: Previews Covered Google Lens, Android O, 360-degree YouTube Videos

May 19, 2017 10:06 AM EDT

Google delivered an exciting few hours in Mountain View, California on Wednesday when it took over the Shoreline Amphitheatre for its annual I/O Developers Conference. In this event, the company announced a bunch of updates to its AI efforts. It also previewed some upcoming features of the next version of Android and announced that 360-degree YouTube videos will be giving you a more immersive experience soon.

Google Lens

Google has been working on visual search and augmented reality for years. At one point, the company even came up with Google Glass, which unfortunately was never commercially released. Now, it looks like the fellows will be settling with replacing an old app called Google Goggles with a new one called Google Lens. This new app is very similar to its predecessor, but Google Assistant will be joining in. In sum, this looks to be a smarter visual engine.

Users can point their phones at a cafe and the app will give the user relevant information or reviews. When a user points the device at a car, Google can look up all relevant information within its database for the user's convenience. What is even more exciting is that developers have even bigger plans with this.

Android O

Android's dominance over the mobile market has not stopped growing, The Verge points out. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced at the Google I/O 2017 that the count of active Android devices has now exceeded 2 billion. This count includes smartphones, tablets, wearables, TVs and other gadgets that run on the open source operating system.

Google has also launched its preview program for Android O. It is still in the early days of development, so installing this update on a primary smartphone is not advised yet. There are also a number of new features including improved notifications, picture in picture and more.

Gizmodo writes that there will also be an improved copy-paste and picture in picture, a feature that was been awkward and quite confusing. However, it has actually been around since 1998. A useful update, however, includes improved security in the apps.

There are also other significant announcements at the Google I/O 2017 including Google Assistant for iOS, hands free calling for Google Home, Kotlin Support and Smart Reply for Gmail. It also includes Android Go, Standalone VR, Visual Position System and a new AI chip -- which could be a game changer. With a lot of projects coming, Google looks set to conquer its next billion users sooner than we think.

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