The countdown toit’s almost over. The company’s annual developer conference takes place today and could prove critical for the search giant, especially with strong AI competition from Microsoft and ChatGPT.
As Google prepares for Wednesday’s event, the company is still playing catch-up with OpenAI’s ChatGPT. OpenAI beat Google to market with an AI-based chatbot late last year, and Google has been trying to counter with something as dramatic. Bard, Google’s answer to ChatGPT, turned out to be mediocre in comparison. Investors had a lot of questions about AI during Google’s recent earnings call. And Bing’s revamped AI search, which is based on ChatGPT, is giving Google some competition in the Internet search business, with Bing posting nearly 16% growth.
While Google is likely to spend significant time focusing on its own AI developments, it also looks like the company will devote time to new products, including its first foldable phone and updates to the Pixel Tablet.
Here’s everything you should expect from Google I/O 2023.
When is Google I/O 2023?
This year’s Google I/O will take place on May 10, with the keynote starting at 10:00am PT (1:00pm ET, 6:00am BST, 3:00am AEST). For those interested in watching the live broadcast, you can register on the Google I/O website or tune in on YouTube. If you’d rather read about the event, CNET is covering all the Google I/O events live. You can follow our Google I/O live blog here and join our.
Is Google I/O private?
This year’s I/O will also be the first since 2019 with a press presence. CNET will be on the ground reporting on the latest developments. However, it will not be open to the public.
Expect a lot of AI
Last year’s Google I/O put a strong focus on the company’s AI developments. CEO Sundar Pichai talked about his models that can summarize meetings and large amounts of text while also being able to understand jokes. However, none of these products have been made available to the public. And after a former Google employee started saying that the company’s AI chatbot had become sentient, Google was understandably hesitant to give members of the public or the press a chance to talk to that AI chatbot.
But then came ChatGPT late last year. OpenAI managed to do what Google couldn’t: release an AI chatbot to the public for free. Not that it was beyond Google’s capacity to do so. Rather, Google thinks it would be irresponsible to do so. This comes after Google fired its AI ethics chiefs in late 2020 and early 2021, eventually reforming its AI teams after months of turmoil. It’s also worth noting that AI chatbots could threaten Google’s core business model of ad-driven search.
But these AI products have some issues to contend with. Chatbots like Bard or ChatGPT work by pulling from massive human-written datasets that are available online. The problem is that people have certain biases, and chatbots can sometimes lean into those biases. And since chatbots are more autocorrection of steroids, the goal is not to get the facts right, but to get the next generated word right. This can sometimes lead to “hallucinations”, situations where the chatbot confidently presents inaccurate answers. Earlier this year, Microsoft limited Bing chat to five responses to keep it from getting too weird after Bing’s AI chatbot told New York Times reporter Kevin Rouse that she loved him and he should leave his wife.
Given that Google botched the Bard launch, which sent the stock crashing, and that Samsung may want to switch to Bing on its phones (probably because of Bing’s integration with ChatGPT), Pichai and Co. must use their stage presence to impress.
The New York Times reported that Google is actively working on an AI-based search engine codenamed Magi. While we haven’t been able to independently verify this, it’s hard to say whether Google will reveal or even hint at Magi. May need more gestation time before full public disclosure is given.
Either way, expect a slew of new AI products announced and all the ways Google thinks its AI engines outperform the competition.
It’s time to unfold the Pixel Fold
After years of rumors, Android fans will finally see a real Google-made foldable Pixel at this year’s I/O.
When it comes to hardware, Google rarely bothers to reveal its latest products early. On the unofficial Star Wars holiday, May the Fourth, Google tweeted a short video online with the hashtag #PixelFold. The Made by Google Twitter account tweeted “May the Fold Be With You,” a pun on the classic Star Wars line “May the Force be with you.”
The video shows a sleek and relatively thin foldable device floating in the air. When unfolded, it has a more squat design, a departure from the long and narrow aesthetic of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. It appears to be closer to the Oppo Find N. This means that when closed, it will be a more traditional smartphone 18:9 aspect ratio, instead of the long monoblock shape of the closed Z Fold 4. And when it’s open, it’ll be more square than rectangular. The bezels on the internal display do look bigger than Samsung’s foldable.
Rumors reported by Front Page Tech say that the Pixel Fold will only be available in Obsidian (black) or Chalk (white). I will too it will reportedly be closer to the $1,800 range and is released on June 27.
One rumor that we hope isn’t true is that the Pixel Fold will use a much older camera system, like the one found in 2020’s Pixel 5, according to 9to5Google. Given that the current Pixel 7 Pro has an excellent, almost DSLR-level camera, a $1,000+ phone in 2023 using a camera from three years ago would be a definite disappointment.
Pixel 7A and Pixel Tablet
Google usually takes time at I/O to introduce a cheaper version of last year’s premium Pixel device. Rumors point to a Pixel 7A reveal at I/O. It will reportedly be $50 more expensive than last year’s Pixel 6A at $499. Considering that the standard Pixel 7 can be bought for $599, the A-series could bring it too close to the price if the rumor turns out to be true.
At this point, you might be better off waiting for a Pixel 7 sale or price cut, or buying a used one in very good condition.
Either way, expect incremental upgrades around the Pixel 7A board. Like other A-series devices, it will likely feature the same Tensor chip found on its flagship counterparts, while bringing improvements to the camera, screen and build.
Google is also likely to shed more details on the Pixel Tablet, which briefly appeared in a now-removed Amazon Japan listing on Sunday. The company has already said it will arrive this year, and with its docking station — which will be sold separately, potentially for $129 for another recent Amazon listing — it can also act as a smart display. Since Google has ended software support for third-party smart displays, some may find it necessary to upgrade.
Android 14 and Pixel 8 Teaser
While the Android 14 beta is currently available for Pixel devices, expect Google to give more details about the next version of its mobile operating system. Google said it will bring greater compatibility with foldable devices and tablets in Android 14, according to a February blog post. That’s good news, as the Android experience on larger screens feels like an afterthought.
Also, Google is already talking about satellite connectivity. Also expect the standard incremental improvements in speed, battery life and ease of use.
It is likely that Google will not leave the presentation without giving fans a small look at its next flagship smartphone, the Pixel 8, as it has done in previous years. Given that Pixel devices tend to leak online months before their release, it seems like Google thought it better to tease it in advance rather than dealing with a mole pre-release leak.
For more, check out our list of Google products we’re expecting this year and how the Pixel Fold could save foldable phones.