Google put the spotlight on its artificial intelligence smarts at its annual developers' conference, announcing new consumer features aimed at simplifying our lives.
Many of the updates have a practical focus, designed to ease tasks such as composing emails, making lists and navigating streets.
One of the biggest crowd-pleasers for the thousands of software developers who gathered at the outdoor conference was an augmented reality feature on Google Maps that helps people get walking directions. Users will be able to follow arrows— or possibly a cartoon-like creature—that appear on a camera view showing the actual street in front of them.
The AI assistant may soon be talking with ordinary people at their business premises for tasks such as restaurant reservations, although the feature is still in development.
The search giant aims to make its assistant and other services so useful that people cannot live without them – and hopefully search for results that will drive its advertising business. However, it also wants to play up the social benefits of AI and how it is being used to improve health care, preserve the environment and make scientific discoveries.