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Google’s Most Recent Android Updates Boost Messages, Maps, and Images with AI



Google's Most Recent Android Updates Boost Messages, Maps, and Images with AI

While the Mobile World Congress gets underway in Barcelona, Google is releasing a few new features for Android. Upgrades to Android Auto, an AI boost for Messages, and the ability to view tickets and boarding cards directly from your Wear OS wristwatch are among the updates.

This week, Google Messages for Android will provide the AI model Gemini directly from a test version. Without ever leaving the Messages app, you may arrange events, have the model draft messages help you come up with ideas, and get aid with other chores.

An AI update is also coming for Android Auto. To prevent distractions while driving, the interface will automatically utilize artificial intelligence to condense lengthy texts or group discussions. It can also recommend replies, which you can simply tap to send, along with other actions like initiating a call or sharing an estimated time of arrival.

Global rollout of Google’s AI-generated image description feature is also underway. The picture caption tool, which is integrated into the Lookout app, uses artificial intelligence (AI) to provide audio descriptions of photos online or in messaging for those who are blind or visually impaired. When Google first unveiled the function in September, it was limited to English users in the US, UK, and Canada. Lookout image captions are now accessible on Android smartphones worldwide, however they are now limited to English.

Here’s an additional accessibility upgrade for Maps’ Lens feature. As you move your phone about your environment, Lens employs augmented reality and, you guessed it, artificial intelligence to find nearby eateries, train stations, ATMs, and other locations. Google’s TalkBack screen reader can now speak location-specific details aloud, such as company hours, reviews, and directions. Those who are blind or have low vision may find this useful.

Additionally, Google is updating Docs to allow handwritten annotations from an Android tablet or phone. Now, if you would rather edit documents the old-fashioned manner, you may highlight specific portions or take notes in different pen colors using your finger or stylus.

Because you can tap where you want to beam a song when using YouTube Music on an Android device, switching between different devices is made quite easy. With just a button push, you can now effortlessly choose between playing music on your phone, headphones, smart display, or TV thanks to Spotify’s expansion of this feature.

In the mix is a health upgrade as well. With Android’s Health Connect feature, which gathers data from wearables and applications like AllTrails, Oura Ring, and MyFitnessPal, you can now view a summary of your health information in the updated Fitbit app. You may view data from any connected apps alongside your Fitbit data on your Android phone by opening the Fitbit app and selecting the You tab. Information from compatible apps, such as steps taken, calories burnt, and distance traveled, will be displayed on the Today tab.

Lastly, a couple improvements to Wear OS: Now, you can use your smartwatch to access Google Wallet passes, such as boarding passes, tickets, and gym memberships. Thanks to Google Maps integration on Wear OS, you can also receive instructions for public transportation on your wrist. This implies that you can view guided navigation as well as bus, rail, and ferry departure timetables.

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Biden, Kishida Secure Support from Amazon and Nvidia for $50 Million Joint AI Research Program



As the two countries seek to enhance cooperation around the rapidly advancing technology, President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida have enlisted Inc. and Nvidia Corp. to fund a new joint artificial intelligence research program.

A senior US official briefed reporters prior to Wednesday’s official visit at the White House, stating that the $50 million project will be a collaborative effort between Tsukuba University outside of Tokyo and the University of Washington in Seattle. A separate collaborative AI research program between Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Tokyo’s Keio University is also being planned by the two nations.

The push for greater research into artificial intelligence comes as the Biden administration is weighing a series of new regulations designed to minimize the risks of AI technology, which has developed as a key focus for tech companies. The White House announced late last month that federal agencies have until the end of the year to determine how they will assess, test, and monitor the impact of government use of AI technology.

In addition to the university-led projects, Microsoft Corp. announced on Tuesday that it would invest $2.9 billion to expand its cloud computing and artificial intelligence infrastructure in Japan. Brad Smith, the president of Microsoft, met with Kishida on Tuesday. The company released a statement announcing its intention to establish a new AI and robotics lab in Japan.

Kishida, the second-largest economy in Asia, urged American business executives to invest more in Japan’s developing technologies on Tuesday.

“Your investments will enable Japan’s economic growth — which will also be capital for more investments from Japan to the US,” Kishida said at a roundtable with business leaders in Washington.

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OnePlus and OPPO Collaborate with Google to Introduce Gemini Models for Enhanced Smartphone AI



As anticipated, original equipment manufacturers, or OEMs, are heavily integrating AI into their products. Google is working with OnePlus, OPPO, and other companies to integrate Gemini models into their smartphones. They intend to introduce the Gemini models on smartphones later this year, becoming the first OEMs to do so. Gemini models will go on sale later in 2024, as announced at the Google Cloud Next 24 event. Gemini models are designed to provide users with an enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) experience on their gadgets.

Customers in China can now create AI content on-the-go with devices like the OnePlus 12 and OPPO Find X7 thanks to OnePlus and OPPO’s Generative AI models.

The AI Eraser tool was recently made available to all OnePlus customers worldwide. This AI-powered tool lets users remove unwanted objects from their photos. For OnePlus and OPPO, AI Eraser is only the beginning.

In the future, the businesses hope to add more AI-powered features like creating original social media content and summarizing news stories and audio.

AndesGPT LLM from OnePlus and OPPO powers AI Eraser. Even though the Samsung Galaxy S24 and Google Pixel 8 series already have this feature, it is still encouraging to see OnePlus and OPPO taking the initiative to include AI capabilities in their products.

OnePlus and OPPO devices will be able to provide customers with a more comprehensive and sophisticated AI experience with the release of the Gemini models. It is important to remember that OnePlus and OPPO already power the Trinity Engine, which makes using phones incredibly smooth, and use AI and computational mathematics to enhance mobile photography.

By 2024, more original equipment manufacturers should have AI capabilities on their products. This is probably going to help Google because OEMs will use Gemini as the foundation upon which to build their features.

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Meta Explores AI-Enabled Search Bar on Instagram



In an attempt to expand the user base for its generative AI-powered products, Meta is moving forward. The business is experimenting with inserting Meta AI into the Instagram search bar for both chat with AI and content discovery, in addition to testing the chatbot Meta AI with users in nations like India on WhatsApp.

When you type a query into the search bar, Meta AI initiates a direct message (DM) exchange in which you can ask questions or respond to pre-programmed prompts. Aravind Srinivas, CEO of Perplexity AI, pointed out that the prompt screen’s design is similar to the startup’s search screen.

Plus, it might make it easier for you to find fresh Instagram content. As demonstrated in a user-posted video on Threads, you can search for Reels related to a particular topic by tapping on a prompt such as “Beautiful Maui sunset Reels.”

Additionally, TechCrunch spoke with a few users who had the ability to instruct Meta AI to look for recommendations for Reels.

By using generative AI to surface new content from networks like Instagram, Meta hopes to go beyond text generation.

With TechCrunch, Meta verified the results of its Instagram AI experiment. But the company didn’t say whether or not it uses generative AI technology for search.

A Meta representative told TechCrunch, “We’re testing a range of our generative AI-powered experiences publicly in a limited capacity. They are under development in varying phases.”

There are a ton of posts available discussing Instagram search quality. It is therefore not surprising that Meta would want to enhance search through the use of generative AI.

Furthermore, Instagram should be easier to find than TikTok, according to Meta. In order to display results from Reddit and TikTok, Google unveiled a new perspectives feature last year. Instagram is developing a feature called “Visibility off Instagram” that could allow posts to appear in search engine results, according to reverse engineer Alessandro Paluzzi, who made this discovery earlier this week on X.

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