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Google I/O 2017 Full Recap

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Tom Edwards, Chief Digital Officer, Agency @ Epsilon and recent Ad Age Marketing Technology Trailblazer, recently attended Google I/O 2017. From Google's vision of ubiquitous computing, multi-modal, computing, Google Assistant (Actions, Auto, Computer Vision, Wear, Android O, Progressive Web Apps, Structured Data & Search to Immersive Computing tied to Daydream, Social VR, WebVR, Visual Positioning Services, Tango and WebAR, this is a comprehensive recap of the event.

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Google I/O 2017 Full Recap

  1. 1. Epsilon Agency May 19th, 2017 1 GOOGLE I/O 2017 RECAP
  2. 2. GOOGLE I/O 2017 I had the opportunity to attend Google I/O 2017 and it was an incredibly rewarding experience. For the past twelve months I have been thinking about the future evolution of marketing through intelligent systems and immersive computing. Google I/O validated a number of my hypotheses by shifting their approach to product development to be AI first vs. mobile first. They also demonstrated the foundation for a hyper connected future by introducing computer vision powered object recognition that seamlessly integrates into Google Assistant. 
 For the first time I am combining the elements of Connection & Cognition from our trend framework as almost all products and services discussed is actually an integration of the two such as Google Assistant, Home, Wear, and Auto • Connection & Cognition - Trends that demonstrate how to connect with consumers through intelligent systems. • Immersion - Trends that highlight advancements in all facets of immersive computing. The final section reviews Google’s approach to Immersive computing and covers all facets of virtual reality and how Google is focused on enhancing experiences through sharing, co-viewing and enhancing discovery. This section also highlights how computer vision and visual positioning services will power augmented reality solutions. Now all i need is for Google to evolve it’s experimental Fuchsia Operating system which is being designed to redefine how we interface with apps by creating an abstraction of services so intelligent systems will be able to stitch together predictive and reactive services. Maybe it will be featured at Google I/O 2018? One can hope. 
 Tom Edwards Chief Digital Officer, Agency 2
  4. 4. 4 Ubiquitous Computing
  5. 5. Mobile First to AI First 5 Connection For the past few years, Google and other industry heavy weights have proclaimed to be mobile first organizations. At Google I/O 2017, Google pronounced their intent to move from mobile first to AI first. Most of the product announcements and a majority of what I cover in this recap are impacted by artificial intelligence. From machine learning, deep learning, smart reply, suggestions, computer vision and much more. 
 Structurally, Google has aligned groups around artificial intelligence research, tools and applied AI. Tools include the incredibly powerful open- sourced machine learning (ML) platform TensorFlow which is flexible, portable and production ready. The one AI fueled experience that will serve as a foundational element across various products is Google Assistant. Assistant will reside across multiple formats and will be a key connection point between AI fueled experiences and brands through “actions”. Implications: ML/AI are rapidly transforming business, products and services. A primary fuel for ML/AI is data. Understanding how to create actionable data centric AI experiences is critical to drive growth. Google is focused on evolving their 7 primary platforms that serve over 1 billion users to apply artificial intelligence to all products.
  6. 6. 6 Multi-Modal Computing
  7. 7. Conversational UX 7 Connection The shift towards an AI first organization is to recognize that text and visual experiences (mobile & desktop) alone are not enough to evolve the future of interaction. 
 Conversational experiences have been a primary topic of discussion over the past year. Google is taking the approach of enabling conversional experiences across Google home and Google assistant through tools like api.ai, which create a web based set of tools to seamlessly create complex conversational experiences for Google Assistant and all it’s form factors. Implications: At Epsilon, we have been experimenting with conversational experiences across various formats for the past 12 months. This includes new use cases of aligning voice + visual. We understand how to build conversational action through storytelling and understand the nuances of mapping intents and creating highly engaging experiences. This includes the creation of Google Assistant actions and enhancing CX experiences through TensorFlow (ML) integration. Evolving strategy to include conversational experiences and multi-modal interaction models are critical to move towards an AI first approach.
  8. 8. 8 Google Assistant Accelerates Ubiquity
  9. 9. Pervasive Assistant 9 Connection Google Assistant was arguably the star of the Google I/O 2017. It serves as a foundational element to Google’s multi-modal approach to computing and how consumers interact across devices and situations. Google Assistant is powered by Google’s natural language processing, knowledge graph and machine learning products and resides on Google Home, iPhone, Android, Wear, TV & Auto. Google is committed to integration of assistant into new and emerging platforms. This includes the newly announced integration with computer vision driven Google Lens which connects object recognition with Google Assistant. This could serve as a foundation for service driven AR. Implications: Google is fully committed to shifting from a mobile first company to an AI first organization. Google assistant will serve as an intelligence engine that will flex across products and consumer journey’s to meet consumers with the right action at the right time. The role of actions (think skills for Alexa) will be key for brand marketers to consider to ensure they are ready for the quick evolution towards a rapidly expanding Google Assistant enabled ecosystem. Google is looking to align Google Assistant across consumer touchpoints. From in home, TV, smartphones, wearables, automobiles and soon connecting physical and digital through computer vision aligned with Google Assistant services.
  10. 10. 10 Actions Are The New Skills
  11. 11. Assistant SDK 11 Connection The Google Assistant drives value for consumers by linking either text or voice based conversational experiences to solve everyday needs.
 Brand marketers can capitalize on the rapidly scaling Google Assistant ecosystem through the Google Assistant SDK in the form of “actions”. Actions are comparable to Amazon Alexa skills, but with a few differences. Actions do not require an installation like a skill, Google automatically maps to action. 
 Actions support deep linking invocations, which means if a user knows where they need to go they can jump directly to it. Finally, actions are immediately accessible to 200 million devices that have access to voice assistant, including the newly launched iPhone assistant. Implications: Google Assistant now supports transactions via actions, meaning it’s possible to link a transaction event directly through Google Assistant opening up purchase beyond amazon.com. Also the number of actions is currently in the hundreds vs. tens of thousands skills in market. Rapidly growing ecosystem, scale across 200 million devices, transaction support, discovery of actions and contextual relevance across devices are a few reasons to consider Google Assistant Actions.
  12. 12. 12 Assistant + Auto
  13. 13. Assistant + Auto 13 Connection Google understands that developing a successful multi-modal approach to distributing Google Assistant is built on contextual user experiences and the automobile unlocks key connection points for consumers that are beyond the confines of the home. Google’s goal with assistant in auto is to create an intelligent co-pilot in the car. By integrating seamlessly between messaging, media apps, calendar events, and navigation, assistant can provide an enhanced in car experience. Implications: The key point for brand marketers to consider are the role that assistant actions can play to create new services and usage in vehicle as they become available. Another point to consider is developing action experiences that integrate with other 3rd parties to create “proxy” solutions. 
 An example is invoking Google assistant + 3rd party reservation service to account for current location in vehicle, parking availability and traffic to book a reservation based on actual situational factors. 
 Android Auto is an extension of Android OS that is templated and allows for a seamless experience across messaging and media apps.
  14. 14. 14 Assistant + Computer Vision
  15. 15. Seeing The Future 15 Connection My opinion is that the announcement of Google Lens, which aligns machine learning powered computer vision with Google assistant was a significant move towards the evolution towards an immersive proxy web. The Proxy web is a theory that is predicated on systems taking over core day-to-day human functions and requires both predictive elements as well as situational awareness. Google Lens + Assistant provides the ability to overlay computer vision, which will serve as the basis for contextual augmented reality through augmented reality that also links to various services, from purchasing, to content, to predictive reservations based on traffic and other environmental factors. Voice has led the way in 2017. 2018 will be the year of computer vision powered experiences. Implications: This was the first time I have seen a full use cases for the Proxy web by one of the major publishers that connects proxy + immersive. 
 Brand marketers need to consider that a time is rapidly approaching where mobile will give way to ambient marketing experiences across all modes of interaction. Integration of object recognition, location and Google assistant create new connections between services and serves as a foundational element towards a hyper connected future.
  16. 16. 16 Assistant + Android Wear
  17. 17. Android Wear 17 Connection Wearables were a part of the Google I/O 2017 programming. Google jumped into smart watches in 2014, but the category has been slowing over the past year. 
 In February of this year, Google launched Android Wear 2.0. 2.0 Introduced new 3rd party brands (12 to 24) and now there are over 46 Android Wear watches. Android Wear 2.0 features a redesign from the ground up. New design, native applications, messenger integration and most importantly Google Assistant integration. Implications: Android Wear’s ability to support enhanced social messaging such as stickers shows the potential associated with independent experiences from a mobile device. More important though is the integration of Google assistant and specifically actions directly into the Android Wear. This is yet another engagement point for Google Assistant. Brand marketers need to consider the role that “actions” will play across device types including Android Wear. Google Assistant is now integrated with Android Wear. This includes the ability to activate Google Assistant Actions.
  18. 18. 18 Android O
  19. 19. Android O 19 Connection During Google I/O the Android O beta preview was announced and is ready for download. The Android operating system now has 2 billion devices and will continue to evolve to support Google’s approach to multi-modal computing.
 Android O serves as a key entry point for consumer engagement and Google is working to streamline the experience. From announcing picture in picture to allow users to video call and take notes, to app shortcuts and widgets to smart text powered by machine learning. 
 One of the key points for brands that have native apps available for Android is the introduction of notification dots that will appear on app. 
 Implications: Google is taking methodical steps towards their future state/experimental operating system Fuchsia, which will make native apps more of a middle layer service vs. an end destination. Android O will serve as a bridge by integrating machine learning and foundational immersive computing elements for VR & AR.The Android O Operating System was made available as a beta during Google I/O 2017. It’s enhanced through AI & built to support VR experiences.
  20. 20. 20 Progressive Web Apps
  21. 21. A Faster Web 21 Connection The web is the biggest platform in the world, bigger than every OS and platform. There are over 5B devices connected to the web. Google is focused on creating deeply engaging experiences as soon as a user lands on a mobile web site and give them a native like experience from the web. 
 This platform is called progressive web apps (PWAs). This allows mobile web experiences to integrate features normally reserved for native applications such as instant loading, push notifications, placement on a home screen, smooth animations and highly responsive. Implications: Google has a vested interest in ensuring the mobile web remains relevant. With PWA’s brands can create immersive web experiences for online and offline viewing that work across multiple platforms (iOS & Android)
 Google is also committed to driving discovery of PWAs through additional additional spots while delivering improved cross-functionality switching between PWA’s & apps. 
The internet has evolved, and how we think about the mobile web needs to evolve as well. Mass adoption of HTML5 has fueled the evolution of Progressive Web Apps.
  22. 22. 22 Structured Data & Search
  23. 23. Search + Structured Data 23 Connection Google search will continue to evolve. Those who follow SEO trends closely have seen major shifts over the past few years with the rise in the percent of search results that are AI informed and now thinking about SEO as it pertains to the launch of the Chrome browser in Virtual Reality. 
 Google is increasing the role and weighting that structured data plays when it comes to enhancing search experiences via rich card experiences. The role of structured data feeding into Google search is becoming increasingly important for brands that deal in entertainment, food and beverage, events and more as a key point of differentiation within Google search. 
 Implications: As Google evolves search across conversational experiences, voice based experiences and more, the role of structured data fueling search experience will be key. Structured data markup will continue to evolve, and those organizations that embrace the role of structured data and rich cards will be prepared for the evolution towards computer vision enhanced search. Facebook understands that in order to evolve beyond echo chambers and expand new points of connection that creating new tools to expand networks is key.
  24. 24. IMMERSION
  25. 25. 25 Immersive Computing
  26. 26. Immersive Computing At Google I/O 2017, Google outlined their view of immersive computing. Their view is virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are different labels on an immersive computing spectrum. They are looking to provide tools that enhance the real world such as the AR tool Tango. They are also providing hardware and software solutions, such as Daydream, for computer-generated virtual reality. In addition to the tools, Google understands the need for portability of experiences and demonstrated experimental browser based AR experiences while also demonstrating how to drive additional discovery and shareability of experiences within a virtual environment. Implications: With the unveiling of Google Lens computer vision driven engine, visual positioning services, enhancements to assistant and tools that create immersive experiences, Google is positioning for the next evolution of consumer experiences. 
 They demonstrated a future forward vision for immersive computing that includes laying a foundation towards mass adoption through devices that we currently use everyday as well as designing flexibility for the hardware that’s yet to be invented. 26 Google views Immersive Computing as a spectrum that represents the real-world and computer generated ones with AR & VR residing on various points.
  27. 27. 27 Daydream Virtual Reality
  28. 28. VR Hardware & Software Google outlined a virtual reality strategy that revolved around both hardware and software enhancements. 
 From a hardware perspective, Google announced it’s first stand alone VR headset to be released later this fall in partnership with Lenovo & HTC. Software enhancements include new VR support for the upcoming Android O operating system that will bring notifications and settings integrated into Daydream to keep consumers in VR. Another part of their strategy is focus on driving discovery within VR through WebVR experiences as well as new tools to empower creators, increase sharing and allow for co-viewing. Implications: Brand marketers need to consider the conversion of content experiences from 2D to 360. Both Facebook & Google are focused on increasing accessibility and the ability to share virtual experiences. The introduction of VR web browsers as well as integration of core features such as notifications and an engine that automatically converts core Google services into VR is a key territory to monitor. 28 Google’s approach to virtual reality is to make immersive experiences accessible for everyone.
  29. 29. 29 Social VR
  30. 30. Sharing & Co-Viewing At Facebook’s F8 conference a month prior, Facebook officially launched Spaces for Oculus. From virtual selfies to watching 360 video, it’s very clear to see that Facebook is focused on creating a new for of social interaction via a virtual environment. Not to be outdone, Google revealed their strategy for creating social connections and sharing experiences via VR. Google showcased the ability to “cast” your experience to a nearby screen so others can see what you are viewing. Google also enabled easy sharing and capture of content via VR and finally showcased co-viewing via YouTube and other VR experiences to allow groups to connect and share in the content together. Implications: One of the draw backs to VR adoption has been tied to how isolating an experience can be with limited abilities to share “what’s happening”. Both Google and Facebook realize that adoption is closely tied to accessibility and the ability to share experiences. Brands that can capitalize seamlessly on providing engaging and shareable experiences that also empower consumers to own and create within virtual environments will have a definite advantage.
 30 Consumer empowerment and accessibility to share experiences is critical to fuel adoption of emerging technology. Google is taking the first steps to connect consumers virtually.
  31. 31. 31 WebVR
  32. 32. DISCOVERY IN VR One of the primary missions of Google is to connect users with information. This means enabling discovery of information across all of their products. 
 When it comes to virtual reality, Google has retooled the Chrome browser for VR to create a frictionless, immersive experience that can real all forms of VR headsets. From a technology perspective, Google is focused on portability of content. This includes importing elements originally designed for 2D consumption like notifications into a virtual environment seamlessly. Implications: One of the key issues with virtual reality to date is the chaining of experiences from one to the next. By taking an existing behavior that consumers are comfortable with, such as web browsing, Google can ease the shock of moving from one type of computing to another. 
 Marketers need to consider how their experiences are received across traditional and new forms of computing and ensuring that discovery and a seamless experience is at the center of their strategy. 32 Google is reimagining web browsing within a virtual environment. Integrating and expanding 2D elements into VR as well as making navigation and content discovery easier.
  33. 33. 33 Visual Positioning Services
  34. 34. Visual Positioning Service Over the years, Google has been a pioneer of mapping the outside world. From Google Maps to street views of your neighborhood. 
 Now Google is focused on how GPS gets you to the door of your destination, but now through their visual positioning service, they are looking to map the interior of spaces. This service is revolutionary as it will serve as a foundational element to truly converting the real world into a digital palate. Implications: In order for augmented reality to truly scale it has be be accessible, easy to use but most importantly accurate. 
 Visual Positioning Services allow products like Tango to create landmarks for AR positioning of experiences. 
 This is key for brands, especially those that have physical spaces as VPS will allow the mapping and subsequent interaction points that can activate down to centimeters of accuracy. 
 34 Visual Positioning Services will play a key role in driving scale of augmented reality solutions. By mapping down to centimeters and having the ability to anchor AR solutions in a physical space in real-time is key to consumer adoption and brand enablement.
  35. 35. 35 Tango
  36. 36. Richer, Deeper AR Tango is Google’s Augmented Reality engine that brings motion sensing and environment scanning and capture to mobile devices. 
 Tango combined with Visual Positioning Services provide a framework to create augmented reality solutions at scale. The demo showed the conversion of a 10,000 sq. ft museum into a rain forest. 
 Tango is available on a select number of mobile devices and that library will continue to evolve over the next few years and you will see higher portability of experiences in the future, including WebAR. Implications: Tango is a powerful platform that will play an even bigger role in the near future. With depth sensing, wide angle tracking and relocalization, Tango enabled devices can deliver immersive experiences that map an entire space. 
 Enhancing the real world through augmented reality is a key element of Google’s future state strategy. By aligning computer vision, tango and assistant technology, Google has the foundation to build passive and active AR solutions at scale that are mapped to contextual actions of a consumer. 
 36 Google demo’d Into the Wild. A collaboration with the WWF. Using Tango + VPS, they created a virtual/AR rain forest out of a 10,000 sq ft. museum space.
  37. 37. 37 WebAR
  38. 38. AR via Browser Facebook is viewing the camera as the first augmented reality platform. Google is taking a slightly different approach. The camera is an important part of the ecosystem, but Google is interested in enabling behaviors beyond sharing and creating effects such as supporting commerce. One of the more surprising announcements during the event was the reveal of WebAR. Essentially Google has enabled augmented reality through an experimental version of Google Chrome for Android. This experience is delivered without an application and is a combination of Javascript and Web GL. Implications: Accessibility and ease of user will be key to the adoption of consumer centric augmented reality. By integrating native AR into the browser, without the need for an application is a big step towards a seamless approach to immersive computing. This, combined with computer vision integration via Google Lens can set the stage for conversion of the real world into a hyper connected digital one. 38 Google showcased an experimental version of the Google Chrome browser that supports real-time AR rendering directly through a mobile browser experience without an app.
  39. 39. GET GROWING
  40. 40. Questions or inquiries can be sent to: Tom.Edwards@epsilon.com @BlackFin360