Google I/O 2016 The journey to AI-first

During the annual developer conference Google I/O, there were a lot of announcements made. Here is a little recap of the news till now on some renewed existing products and a few interesting new products.

Renewed existing products
Author Andrew Smith once said: “People fear what they don’t understand”. When Amazon launched Echo in 2014 the reactions were skeptical and people found the idea of a device that is always listing on command in your home, creepy [1]. Over time Echo became popular. Excitingly, one of the announcements in Google I/O 2016 was Google Home, which has a lot of similarities with Echo. It is a speaker you can instruct to listen and to control your house or, as many describe it, as ‘the always-present version of Siri’ or another virtual assistant software [1]. Google Home can be seen as a digital conversational partner with which you can interact in a hands-free way and one that can assist you with obtaining any intelligence you desire [1].

The virtual assistant software has also been adapted into Google’s newest messaging platform introduced as Allo, which is more than just another chat program. Allo makes it possible to send automatic replies or provide extra information when required by using a pattern of text and picture recognition in the context [1].

Google’s DUO is a video chat which goes a step further by providing an extra feature ‘Knock Knock’, which allows the recipient to see a preview of the face-to-face chat call before accepting the call [1].

New products
The days of using an app easier and quicker have arrived. Introducing: Instant Apps, which allows you to use the app (or a part of the app) instantly without any installation and without worrying about enough storage on your phone [1].

And then there is the innovation presented as DayDream, that takes you closer to all your VR (virtual reality) dreams on a mobile device [1]. DayDream is a development platform for mobile VR in order to create VR experiences (YouTube – Google I/O Highlights).



Google I/O Highlight (2 minutes)

Interestingly, most of the features emphasize the essence of AI (Artificial Intelligence). The importance of AI increases as it provides features to understand the context in order to assist the user more effectively. This gives the virtual assistant software a whole new meaning. Virtual assistant is not merely considered as an application or a product, it has become a kernel of every application and product. With the growth of AI inside of virtual assistant the impossibilities are becoming more and more possible. According to Google’s CEO Sundar Pichai “20 percent of queries on its mobile app and on Android devices are voice searches” [2]. Presently, by using Google products, we, as the users, are feeding AI with data, which allows AI to expand its potential beyond words. As Pichai points out, he is on a journey from “mobile-first to AI-first”, but meanwhile, “there are areas where we will be ahead, and there will be areas where someone points a way and we do it” [3].




Google I/O Keynote (almost 2 hours)


Sources:
[1] google io 2016 what you need to know from allo to daydream
[2] google reveals 20 percent queries voice queries
[3] googles ceo sums up his ai vision

TNW Europe (part 5), Building a World Class Design Team

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


UnknownAndy Budd talked about the importance of design and the challenges to achieve good design.
Good design is difficult to achieve and even harder to replicate. It gives you an advantage against your competitors. Company founders generally think that they understand the value of the design, but in the reality the user experience is poor. There are 2 factors for this mismatch.

  1. People believe that style and design is the same thing.
  2. Start-up’s doesn’t understand the value of design. Before they reach market fit- the time or the budget is already speeded.

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These are Andy Budd’s nine tips on how to build a world-class design team:

  1. Commit to a vision designers can get behind
  2. Hire great design leaders
  3. Demonstrate this vision through exemplar projects
  4. Put customer needs at the heart of the process
  5. Weave design into the fabric of the business
  6. Create a culture of collaboration
  7. Invest in quality
  8. Grow your team from the inside
  9. Operationalize design

Curious? or you want to see in-debt explanation of Andy Budd’s nine tips?
You can watch now the whole presentation on YouTube

P.S. Speaking about good design, you should definitely check the very beautiful storytelling platform for exploring The Wellcome Trust’s eclectic collection of medical and historical artefacts made by Clearleft.

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Digital Stories: Wellcome collection

Also very interesting: A step-by-step | The design process of this storytelling platform.

Clear left Design Stories

Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 4), Future UI as Professional Superpower

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


763a135d-eafa-41a1-9392-fe99b493e41bJohn Underkoffler, founder and CEO of Oblong Industries talked about the new UI (User Interface) as professional power-the future of workspace technology. He is actually the guy who designed the futuristic and advanced UI for the film Minority Report 14years ago (!)

For the last 30 years, the UI (user interface) has changed a little. We live in computational world that becomes more and more complex.
UI is all you have; UI is the computer, because without UI you can’t control the CPU or GPU of your computer.
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John Underkoffler shared with us his “Eight easy pieces”, his vision for the future of UI.

  1. Let’s explode the displays- what will happen if every set of pixels wasn’t bound by the physical rectangle?
  2. G –speak – Minority Report alike system without the visual effects
  3. Distributed (everything) – extend the UI of the edge of one screen to the next one if they are close enough. Expect border free UI’s
  4. Bidirectional glyphs – get more expressive with the UI elements. We need to know where we are, what the machine thinks we are doing and where we might go.
  5. Cinema as input/output device – cinematic heresy or the future of editing? A metaphor for how powerful UI should make you in the context of all your digital data.
  6. Cognition at architectural scale – see more through the right scale. Build computers small or big, as we need!
  7. Time to reinterpret – Minority report reinterpreted. With a proper UI a team of collaborators can achieve much more, work faster and better.
  8. Make UI an exoskeleton, an extension of the human will.

Oblong built a system called Mezzanine that uses all eight principles mentioned above. Mezzanine changes how people work together by making the workspace more collaborative, easily sharable and scalable.

Oblong-Mezzanine-Video-Conferencing-Solution

“We want to build systems based on principles of humanity that can enhance your attention, amplify human meaning and get out what people are best at which is making new things and building the world the way it ought to be.”

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW, Oblong

TNW Europe (part 3), Building with creative confidence

TNWConf2016

The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


 

facebooknewJulie Zhuo from Facebook talked about how to build new products and services with creative confidence. That can be a real challenge even for big company like Facebook.

There is no book with instruction how to build the perfect product but they’ve learned a lot from their successes and failures.

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Facebook developed a simple framework consisting of 3 questions, which they use for reviewing new products.

The first question is:

  1. What people problem are we trying to solve?
    To answer this we need a people problem statement but coming up with a good one is not that easy. The good people problem statement must be:
  • Human, simple, straight forward;
  • Solutions free; – to avoid bias
  • It’s shouldn’t be about us (Facebook) winning.
  • Gets at the why;
  • Functional, emotional, social.
  1. How do we know this is a real problem?
    What evidence do we have? Is it worthwhile to solve?
  1. How do we know if we solved the problem?
    Define measurable goals and metrics.

Julie shares interesting inside fact: There are posters on the walls in Facebook HQ that says, “Nothing at Facebook is somebody else’s problem”

“It reminds us that if something doesn’t work well, we can’t wait. We must take action to develop solution to fix that problem.” said Julie Zhuo.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 2), Google’s secret sauce

TNWConf2016
The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


google-new-logoGoogle’s director of product Aparna Chennapragada talked about how to build the mobile products of the future. Is there a recipe or special formula to do that? Google have a sauce, a secret sauce and it looks like this:

Secret sauce = AI+UI+I

Daily we use a lot of different products like Google Search, Google Translate, Goggle Now, YouTube (…. and many more). All of them have something in common. They are all powered by information (in many cases AI and machine learning in various forms). But why is this fact more relevant now than ever?
The answer is simple ”one word …Mobile” said Aparna.

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Mobile is the game changer. With 3 billion plus phones we produce daily a massive input of useful data that can help improve these products. Mobile changes the game on the output side as well. Nowadays we always carry our phones and that gives us access to products and services in situations and context that we never had before (like in the car for example). If you combine these two things together almost every other real-world problem has a chance to turn into software or more importantly AI problem.

Google’s formula solves this problem.

AI (Artificial Intelligence)+UI (User Interface)+I (Personalization)

The formula in depth:

 AI (Artificial intelligence)

There are 3 observations about AI

  1. Use AI for tasks that are easy for the machines but difficult for people.
    Google Translate is a good example for that
  2. Wow vs. WTH (what the hell!!!) ratio – If AI sends you to the wrong airport gate and you mist your flight (WTH) the product will need a lot Wow’s to make up for that WTH moment.
  3. Training shapes the learning – AI is as good as the training data. When overtime the data improves, the AI improves too.

UI (Interface)

  1. UI needs to be proportionate to the confidence in AI – Strong AI needs less UI and vice-versa
  2. Magic vs. Prediction trade-off– people tend to choose for predictable but slower approach instead of faster “magical” solution.
  3. User feedback is very important for improvements of the system but hard to get nowadays. For example: Google Now question “Will it rain this weekend?” gives no feedback to the system.

I (Personalisation) 

  1. Make the benefits clear and immediate- people will not use products that only promise benefits in a long run
  2. Allow users to teach – ask you users to help (when possible!)
  3. Who are your users – it is important to know who your users are. What will work for specific users in US will not automatically work in India.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube
Photo credit:TNW

TNW Europe (part 1), Trend-driven innovation

TNWConf2016

 

 

 

 

 


The 11th annual TNW Conference Europe took place on May 26 & 27 in Amsterdam. Described, as “The most intimate technology festival on the planet” by CNBC, over the years TNW Conference has become one of the leading technology events in the world. It’s organized by Dutch based online media company The Next Web and brings promising startups, investors, technology gurus, innovators and entrepreneurs together. It’s a great place to share their thoughts about the future of technology, marketing, talk about design or for networking, to get inspired or to boost your imagination.


tw-logoOne of the first speakers was David Mattin from Trendwatching.com and he gave an interesting presentation about trend-driven innovation and how to turn overwhelm into opportunity.

Nowadays we are overwhelmed, with the fast pace of upcoming new innovations, new services and products, it’s difficult to keep-up because they are arriving on daily or even hourly basis. These innovations and new services create new customer expectations and they are the drive behind the expectation economy. Good example for that is a newcomer like Uber who change the customer expectation in the taxi business (cabs arrive within 10 minutes).

As innovators, the important question that we must ask ourselves is:
“What will our customers want next?”

But how to do that?

  1. Asking people what they want is limited. They don’t know what they need until you show it tot them.
  2. Find out by watching them is too expensive and time consuming
  3. By analyzing consumer data – good for validation and enhancing but not for breakthrough innovation.

The real answer is:
“Stop looking at customers and start looking at successful businesses and the expectations they create”, said Mattin.

“It’s about the new expectations that this innovations create and when this expectation spread across borders, market, demographics then we are seeing a trend in action. Watching that happening is what Trend watching actually is.
“Trends emerge as innovators address people’s basic human needs and wants in novel ways”

A few examples that can lead us to a new trend:

  1. Stockholmståg – Algorithm anticipates train delays hours before they occur and the emerging trend is Beneficial intelligence – consumers will embrace digital services that make truly smart decisions for them.
  2. REI outdoor retailer – On Black Friday, a day of shopping frenzy in the US, REI outdoor retailer pays employees to take a day off to spend… outdoors (with heavy social media coverage #OptOutside) and encourages its customers to do the same.
    The emerging trend is Insider Trading – the right internal culture becomes an external asset.
  3. Renrenxiang – restaurant replaces staff with messaging app. The emerging trend is Informal info – effective information is informal information.

What if some of these innovations fail? Asked Mattin next.
It’s not about success or failure; it ‘s again about customer expectations.

For example: There are 3 new mobile phones, which have a great new features – the first is very secure, the second is highly recyclable and the third interchangeable. Only by seeing them, these phones will create new customer expectations, and companies like Apple and Samsung know that and are already innovating to meet those expectations.

The big wave of innovations and services can be really overwhelming, so if you look at those innovations though the lens of new customer expectations, the more innovation you see the more empowered you are to discover your own trends and soon that becomes habit, new way of seeing the world. The next step is to apply those trends, and if you can do that then you are really a trend-driven innovator concludes Mattin.

The whole presentation is now also available on YouTube.