May 19, 2021

Google I/O 2021: Android 12, Quantum AI campus, Flutter 2.2, Vertex AI, and more

Google I/O 2021: Android 12, Quantum AI campus, Flutter 2.2, Vertex AI, and more

Google I/O 2021: Android 12, Quantum AI campus, Flutter 2.2, Vertex AI, and more

Google is making a number of improvements and updates across its cloud, security, AI and Android platforms at its virtual Google I/O conference this week. 

Top announcements included:

The beta version of Android 12

Android 12 features a more personal experience, fluid motions and animations, redesigned system spaces, and new privacy features.

“Android 12 builds on everything you love about Android, and focuses on building a deeply personal phone that adapts to you, developing an operating system that is secure by default and private by design, and making all your devices work better together, Sameer Samat, vice president of product management for Android and Google Play, wrote in a post

RELATED CONTENT: Google digs into modern Android development at I/O

The Quantum AI campus

As part of its mission to develop an error-corrected quantum computer by 2029, the company unveiled a new Quantum AI campus in Santa Barbara California. The campus will be used for its quantum data center, hardware research labs and processor chip fabrication facilities. 

“With an error-corrected quantum computer, we’ll be able to simulate how molecules behave and interact, so we can test and invent new chemical processes and new materials before investing in costly real-life prototypes. These new computing capabilities will help to accelerate the discovery of better batteries, energy-efficient fertilizers, and targeted medicines, as well as improved optimization, new AI architectures, and more,” Erik Lucero, lead engineer at Google Quantum AI, wrote in a post.

The company also revealed plans to build 1,000,000 physical qubits that will work inside a room-sizer error-corrected quantum computer. 

Flutter 2.2 announced

The latest release of the company’s open-source app development toolkit is now available. According to the team, Flutter 2.2 features new updates that help developers monetize apps, connect to cloud services and APIs, and tooling and language features to increase app performance. 

In this release, sound null safety is now the default for new projects and adds projection against null reference expectations. As far as performance improvements, the release features background caching, support for deferred components, and tooling to precompile shaders in iOS. 

Full details are available here.

Google tackles machine learning accessibility with Vertex AI

Vertex AI is a new managed machine learning platform that was announced yesterday at I/O. The solution is designed to make machine learning more accessible and useful for developers and businesses. According to the company, it requires 80% fewer lines of code to train a model, making it useful for data scientists and machine learning engineers of all level.to build and manage ML projects. 

“We had two guiding lights while building Vertex AI: get data scientists and engineers out of the orchestration weeds, and create a industry-wide shift that would make everyone get serious about moving AI out of pilot purgatory and into full-scale production,” said Andrew Moore, vice president and general manager of Cloud AI and Industry Solutions at Google Cloud. “We are very proud of what we came up with in this platform, as it enables serious deployments for a new generation of AI that will empower data scientists and engineers to do fulfilling and creative work.”

New Google Assistant tools announced

The new product updates are designed to help developers create more engaging content and take advantage of smart displays. Announcements included: 

  • App Actions for bringing Google Assistant to Android apps
  • Improved support for Assistant built-in intents and a new framework API for common tasks
  • Improved user discoverability with Shortcuts
  • A preview of Widgets, which will help users get answers and updates right from Assistant
  • Interactive Canvas for touch and voice-controlled games and storytelling
  • Improved user experience on smart displays
  • Better transactions for voice experiences

Full details are available here

Firebase updates

The company revealed that there are now more than 3 million apps actively using the company’s mobile platform Firebase. Some announcements from the conference included:

  • The Storage Emulator is now part of the Emulator Suite for back-end coverage
  • Firebase App Distribution now supports Android App Bundles
  • Better app security with App Check
  • New modularized Web SDKs
  • More extensions added
  • Enhanced search, filtering and games reporting in Crashlytics 
  • Real-time performance monitoring data
  • Remote config updates for visualizing app configuration 

Full details are available here.