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The 7 biggest announcements from Google I/O 2019

Published May 7th, 2019 3:02PM EDT
Google IO 2019 Recap
Image: Google

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The Google I/O 2019 keynote is officially a wrap and the tech world is still buzzing following all of the big announcements Google made during its opening presentation. The event itself is obviously geared toward developers, since it is a developer conference after all. But the keynote presentation is always packed full of big announcements that are just as important to consumers as they are to developers, if not more so. Such was the case during the Google I/O 2019 keynote that just concluded, and we’ve got plenty to recap from the big show.

In this post, we’ve rounded up all the most important things Google announced at I/O 2019. Whether you missed the event and want a roundup of all the major news or you watched live and just want a recap of all the big announcements, this is your one-stop shop for all the news you need.


Google Search is obviously among the company’s most important products, and Google made a number of announcements related to Search. The first feature mentioned was the addition of podcast support, giving users the ability to find podcasts in search and even save episodes to listen to later.

Even cooler than that is camera integration and augmented reality capabilities in mobile searches. Users can now search for things and then actually interact with the results right before their eyes.

Google Lens, the new visual search tool Google introduced recently, is also getting a slew of new features. The coolest example was definitely the ability to point your phone’s camera at a menu in a restaurant and have Google Lens highlight the most popular dishes using AR.

Another example was pointing the phone’s camera at a recipe in a magazine and seeing a video of the steps played out right on your screen.

Also cool was a new feature in Google Go, Google’s search app for entry-level phones. It lets the user point the camera at a sign and have the text translated and read aloud in their native language.

Duplex on the Web

Google Duplex is the AI feature that basically acts as a virtual personal assistant. The service rolled out last year with the capability to make actual phone calls to restaurants and have reservations made on your behalf.

Duplex has now moved onto your phone. Using integration with Google Assistant on your phone, Duplex can, for example, navigation through a website and book a car for you. It knows the dates of your trip and your car preferences from Gmail and history, so it can do all the work for you.

Duplex on the Web isn’t something that’s available just yet. Google is working on it now and will share additional details later in the year.

Next-generation Google Assistant

Google’s next-gen Assistant is all about speed. Long story short, the next-gen Google Assistant processes requests at incredible speeds, letting users speak command after command in rapid succession with no problem at all. The “continued conversation” feature also lets users speak more naturally, rather than having to say a wake command like “Hey Google” ahead of each request.

Google’s next-generation Assistant will be available at first only on new Pixel phones later this year.

Beyond the incredible speed increase, there’s also a new Assistant feature called “personal references.” This personalizes the Assistant so that you can say things like “What’s the weather like at mom’s house?” and Google will know you’re talking about the city in which your mother lives, rather than a non-profit that happens to be called Mom’s House.

Also cool is new Assistant integration with Google Maps and Waze. You’ll now be able to access all sorts of relevant features while navigating, and it’ll be available later this year on any phones with Google Assistant.

Lastly, just FYI, alarms and timers on Google smart displays and Google Home devices by just saying “stop,” rather than having to say “Hey Google” and then wait for the device to await your command.

Live Caption

An awesome new Live Caption feature adds subtitles to any audio or video source. It runs completely on the device, so no data needs to be sent or received in order to make it work.

Live caption will be introduced in Android Q, but Google is also working on adding the feature to more than just videos and audio files — Live Caption will also support live phone conversations, and it will be called “Live Relay.”

Android Q

Google announced at its I/O 2019 conference that there are now 2.5 billion active Android devices around the world. 2.5 billion!

Android 10 is the next big Android release set to hit devices later this year. The first Android Q beta has already been released of course, but Google announced several new features coming to an updated version of the Android Q beta.

Support for smartphones with foldable displays is obviously a big aspect of Android Q, as is native 5G support built right into Android Q. The all new Live Caption feature discussed above is built right into Android Q, and it uses speech recognition right on the device.

Another cool Android feature is called Smart Reply, and it will now work across all messaging apps on Android devices. Smart Reply predicts not just words, but phrases and even full replies.

Oh, and as expected, Android Q will also get Dark Theme support!

Privacy and security is a huge focus for Android Q since Google is always on a mission to prove that your data is safe. Android Q will have tons of new privacy settings in the Settings app, and it’ll also be far more proactive in notifying users when apps want to access sensitive information such as location data. Another big update is new support for individually updatable Android OS Framework modules pertaining to security. They are updated over the air in the background, and updates are applied without the user needing to reboot.

Android Q and Android P will both get a new feature called Focus Mode, which enables Do Not Disturb and also disables any specific apps you don’t want to distract you. Enhanced parental controls have been introduced as well.

Android Q beta 3 is available today on 23 different devices, including all modern Pixel devices. Learn more about Google’s Android Q announcements right here.

Nest Home Max

Google has combined its Nest and smart home teams, and all smart home devices will now fall under the Nest brand. The first new device that will be introduced under the updated umbrella brand is the Nest Home Max.

It’s basically a really big Google Home Hub with a 10-inch display, and it has all of the features from the Home Hub as well as a few new ones. For example, when you’re away from home you can use the Hub Max’s camera as a home security camera and stream live video. Another cool feature is a new Face Match feature that recognizes each user, if configured, and personalizes the experience. Also cool is the new gesture support, which uses on-device machine learning to recognize hand gestures so you don’t even need to speak to control it.

The Nest Hub Max will be released this summer for $229. Also, the original Home Hub, now called the Nest Hub, gets a price cut beginning immediately to $129. Learn more right here.

Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL

It’s certainly no surprise since every last detail has already leaked, but Google finally made the new Pixel 3a and Pixel 3a XL smartphones official.

Image source: Evan Blass

Pricing starts at $399, and the phones will be released today in black, white, and a slight purple color called “Purple-ish.” They’ll be available unlocked, as well as from Verizon and T-Mobile. Check out everything you need to know about Google’s new affordable Pixel phones right here.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.