Dark Mode, Focus Mode, Smart Reply: Google Android Q packs in surprise features

Google CEO Sundar Pichai packed in some huge announcements during the annual I/O developer conference that kicked off on Tuesday in Mountain View, California.

Google is now launching an affordable version of its Pixel smartphones in the form of Pixel 3A and 3AXL, making their devices available to the wider market of budget phones. The tech giant is also making its voice-enabled Google Assistant a whole lot smarter, adding an array of features to what it.

Also, the Search functionality is getting a revamp with the entry of the Full Coverage feature. In case it doesn’t ring a bell, this was initially a part of Google News.

All of this and more was announced by Google CEO Sundar Pichai during the Google I/O developer conference. The company's annual event kicked off on Tuesday in Mountain View, California in the presence of around 7,000 developers and programmers, who were gathered to hear some of the much-anticipated developments. And Pichai, who presented the keynote on Day 1, delivered.

Starting off with the announcement on Google Search, Pichai touched upon several other key launches, in the hardware and software sections. He also brought to light the developments in augmented reality (AR) to “provide visual answers to visual questions”. Besides this, Google is expanding its Duplex technology beyond voice to let Assistant get more things done on the web.

The CEO said,

“To start, we’re focusing on two specific tasks: booking rental cars and movie tickets.” 

However, one of the biggest announcements was about the much-talked-about arrival of Android Q.

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Android Q packs in some surprises

For the longest time, users have demanded a dark mode on their Android, and looks like Google is finally delivering. It’s latest Android Q – which the company is yet to name after a dessert – packs in a host of features including the dark theme, 5G support and something called the ‘Focus Mode’.

Following in the footsteps of Google’s Digital Wellbeing tools, this feature is basically aimed at helping people reduce their phone addiction by allowing them to tune out certain apps during a certain period of time.

In addition, Google is also bringing its Smart Reply functionality to Android, the ability to add live captions to videos, and an incognito mode to Maps to reduce chances of giving out your whereabouts. All of this while maintaining the emphasis on privacy and data security of users.

“We’re also making several security improvements on Android Q, and we’re building the protection of a security key right into the phone for two-step verification,” Pichai shared in the Google blog post.      

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