Belfast Telegraph

What Google did next ... five great apps coming to your computer

The Digital Life: Tech giant has unveiled host of cool new features

By Katie Wright

Google I/O, the tech giant's annual developer conference, may be aimed at the people who beaver away behind the scenes designing and coding all the apps and tools that we've come to rely on, but the event also offers plenty for us regular joes to get excited about, too.

At I/O 2017, which has just concluded in California, Google unveiled some cool new features that are set to make our lives even easier and, in some cases, more fun.

Here are the five we're itching to get our hands on:

1 WRITE OF REPLY ON GMAIL

An AI-powered tool in Gmail will "read" your emails and suggest replies - such as "Yes, let's do Saturday" when a friend asks if you want to meet up on the weekend - and presents them as one-tap buttons for you to choose from. Called Smart Reply, the feature will be available in the Android and iPhone Gmail apps.

2 AI WILL TIDY UP YOUR SNAPS

Artificial Intelligence will also help to make your photos more, well, photogenic. Using the Google Photo app, unwanted objects in the frame will be automatically identified and seamlessly removed. The impressive example Google used showed a photo taken from behind a chain link fence of a boy playing baseball. The edited photo made it look like the fence was never there.

3 AN EYE FOR DETAIL

If you think quick response (QR) codes are clever (or even if you think they're annoying and never use them), you're bound to be impressed by Google Lens. The forthcoming app uses image recognition to automatically detect objects and suggest additional information. Point it at a flower, for instance, and Lens will tell you what variety it is. Hover over a router and the app will instantly connect you to the wi-fi network, so you don't have to type in the password.

4 HEY SIRI, YOU'RE NOT ALONE

Siri, you've got some serious competition. Google Assistant, which was previously only available on Android phones, comes to iPhone as a stand-alone application - and the voice-activated app is available to download now.

5 VIRTUAL REALITY HEADSETS ON THE WAY

It's been rumoured for more than a year that Google was working on self-contained virtual reality (VR) headsets, and now the firm has confirmed two models are in the works that won't need to have a smartphone inserted in them. Set for release by the end of this year, the VR devices are being developed with HTC VIVE and Lenovo, but that's all Google will reveal to the public at this moment in time.

Belfast Telegraph