Everything Google announced at its 2017 I/O conference

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During a non-stop, two-hour keynote address at its annual I/O developers conference, Google unveiled a barrage of new products and updates. Here's a rundown of the most important things discussed: Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the keynote by unveiling a new computer-vision system coming soon to Google Assistant. Apparently, as Pichai explained, you'll be able to point your phone's camera at something, and the phone will understand what it's seeing. Pichai gave examples of the system recognizing a flower, a series of restaurants on a street in New York (and automatically pulling in their ratings and information from Google), and the network name and password for a wifi router from the back of the router itself--the phone then automatically connecting to the network. Theoretically, in the future, you'll be searching the world not through text or your voice, but by pointing your camera at things.


How A South End Artist's Face Recognition App Is Fighting Disease

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What happens when a tech artist and her gene-scientist husband try to wow the crowd at a "Nerd Nite" event in Kendall Square? They pitch an idea for an app to help fight disease by crowd-sourcing millions of 3-D digital maps of human faces. Facetopo was the brainchild of Boston documentarian and artist Alberta Chu and her husband Murray Robinson, whose brother was diagnosed with a rare disease that, like Down's syndrome, can be detected in the face. In a Q&A with Patch, Chu says some day participants could "maybe trade pictures, or eventually, find a twin." "Every user who wants to participate creates a private account and is able to download the app on either IOS or Android where we provide instructions so that you can create a 3-D face map.


Aquanta and its smart water-heater controller are back with new promises to slash your energy bill

PCWorld

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heating water accounts for fully 18 percent of the typical household's annual energy consumption, second only to the amount of energy consumed to heat and cool their residence. And because the typical tank water heater keeps 40 to 50 gallons of water piping hot 24 hours a day, seven days a week--whether or not anyone is home to use it--20 to 50 percent of the energy is completely wasted. Following an aborted crowd-funding campaign in late 2014, Aquanta (formerly Sunnovations) is now taking pre-orders on its Aquanta "learning" water-heater controller, which it expects to ship in July. In a note to its would-be backers when it cancelled its Kickstarter campaign, the team said while its campaign was unsuccessful, the exposure it garnered lead to "a sizable number of large and exciting strategic and distribution partners to contact us." Fast forward 18 months and Aquanta CEO Matthew Carlson tells me his company has "had test units in the field for more than a year."


Google takes on rivals with Pixel phone, new hardware

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Google took on rivals Apple, Samsung and Amazon in a new push into hardware Tuesday, launching premium-priced Pixel smartphones and a slew of other devices showcasing artificial intelligence prowess. The unveiling of Google's in-house designed phone came as part of an expanded hardware move by the US company, which also revealed details about its new "home assistant" virtual reality headset and Wi-Fi router system. The San Francisco event marked a shift in strategy for Google, which is undertaking a major drive to make Google Assistant artificial intelligence a futuristic force spanning all kinds of internet-linked devices. "We are evolving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said. "Our goal is to build a personal Google for each and every user."


Google takes on rivals with Pixel phone, new hardware

#artificialintelligence

San Francisco (AFP) - Google took on rivals Apple, Samsung and Amazon in a new push into hardware, launching premium-priced Pixel smartphones and a slew of other devices showcasing artificial intelligence prowess. The unveiling of Google's in-house designed phone came as part of an expanded hardware move by the US company, which also revealed details about its new "home assistant" virtual reality headset and Wi-Fi router system. The San Francisco event marked a shift in strategy for Google, which is undertaking a major drive to make Google Assistant artificial intelligence a futuristic force spanning all kinds of internet-linked devices. "We are evolving from a mobile-first world to an AI-first world," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said. "Our goal is to build a personal Google for each and every user."