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Google I/O 2022 was crazy.
I can’t remember the last time Google I/O was this jam-packed. I mean, we’ve had big years in the past, but this year’s show felt especially crazy.
It was a homecoming, first of all, for Google. I/O hasn’t been held in-person in two years, so for them to be able to host it at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, CA with an actual crowd was a big deal. The company proceeded to take advantage of the setting to announce an absolute flurry of software and hardware news.
Being an independent publisher, I always cover these events by myself, so trying to keep up with the seemingly mile-a-minute speeds these tech executives speak at is a challenge, to say the least. However, I was able to highlight a solid chunk of everything Google announced during the massive show in a roundup piece on the site now.
For Wiretapped, I figured I’d list my favorite announcements from the keynote. There were many to pick from, but these were the ones that stood out to me the most.
My top 7 Google I/O 2022 announcements
The Pixel Watch, obviously: We’ve all been waiting for Google to finally ship its own smartwatch, and they’ll finally do that this fall. The first Pixel Watch has a very round design that’s sleek and minimal, with proprietary bands and a single color to boot. It’ll run Wear OS and integrate with Fitbit services, as well as offer LTE on a special model for those who want to leave their phone at home. No word yet on pricing, but I’m not sure it’ll matter much since there’s so much hype around it already.
New Pixel Buds Pro: I’m a bit of a sucker for new earbuds, and these new Pixel Buds Pro seem promising. With ANC, up to 11 hours of battery life, improved sound quality, a more comfortable design, and fast charging, I can see these buds quickly becoming a favorite among consumers and reviewers alike. They won’t go on sale until July and they’ll cost $199 (a.k.a. a reasonable chunk of change), but I’m looking forward to reviewing them nonetheless.
The Pixel 6a (literally a cheaper Pixel 6): The similarities between this year’s Pixel A-series phone and its flagship adjacent couldn’t be any more striking. The 6a boasts a virtually identical design to the Pixel 6 with a slightly smaller 6.1-inch 60Hz screen, a 12.2MP main camera instead of 48MP, and a more compact stature. It runs on the same Tensor processor as its more expensive siblings, and it costs $449. It seems like Google could have one of the most intriguing budget phones of the year on its hands, so I’m definitely excited to check it out.
A middle finger to the leakers: Over the past few years, Google has teased its own products well before they were announced to get ahead of inevitable leaks, so the company took that practice to the next level with teases for both the Pixel 7 (coming this fall) and Pixel Tablet (coming in 2023). I’ll have more thoughts in a blog post going up later today, but here’s my opinion in a word: sick.
New AI- and machine-powered features: Google showed off a ton of new tricks its artificial intelligence and machine learning chops are capable of, and they were all really cool. Some standouts to me were the auto-generated TL;DRs for documents and Meet transcriptions in Google Workspace, Scene Exploration in Search (a.k.a. the ability to spot products in the real world and compare them using online reviews), and a new Immersive view for Maps that lets you peak inside buildings and other businesses. Google’s always good for a wow factor at I/O, and the company didn’t disappoint this year.
Android 13…for tablets: Google really wants Android tablets to make a comeback, and it’s putting a lot of stock into Android 13 to make that happen. The updated version of Android will focus on optimizing the entire system’s UI to better suit larger screens, as well as push apps to optimize their interfaces for tablets. I’m assuming this is a reason why the Pixel Tablet was teased, in order to give developers an incentive to start working on tablet-oriented versions of their apps. So far, Facebook, TikTok, Canva, and Zoom have committed to working on their apps to work better on tablets, and Google is promising to update over 20 of its own apps. I have no idea if Google will see the results it wants from this campaign, but I’m very interested to see if it does.
Google Wallet’s return: Google is bringing back its Wallet application from back in the day, and it’s promising essentially the same experience Apple has been promising with its Wallet application on iOS. You’ll be able to shove everything you want into this app including your credit and debit cards, event tickets, transit cards, student ID, and even your driver’s license (y’know, assuming you live in a state that accepts digital IDs). The app will roll out over the coming weeks, and it seems like a huge upgrade compared to Google’s over-bloated Pay app.
I have a few pieces on the site now covering some of the biggest pieces of news from the event, and I’m sure I’ll be unraveling everything as the week progresses. Stay tuned for more on I/O once I get a chance to catch up.
In short, this show was a whirlwind. But it’s a great indication that the idea of a tech event meant to be shown in front of a live audience is far from dead, and that’s very inspiring.
An update on Wiretapped
Hi, again. I wanted to take a quick moment to update you all on Wiretapped. I realize it’s been a number of weeks since an issue came out, and that’s all on me. My schedule’s been out of whack and I haven’t had the time to write the newsletters I’ve wanted to write, but I wanted to find a way to commit to producing more of them while making them even more enjoyable for you.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be playing around with the types of content I include in Wiretapped. I’d like to bring in reader Q&As, updates on the tech I carry every day, and exclusive insights into what I’m reviewing or my thoughts on current tech trends. To do that, I’ll be putting Wiretapped behind a paywall in the summer. I’m not sure when it will launch yet, but I’ll be sure to let you all know when it does.
For those who don’t want to subscribe to yet another thing, don’t worry: I’ll always have a version of Wiretapped that’s free to read. You just won’t get the same amount of content as paid members.
I hope you’ll all be down for a fun ride. I think I can unlock a lot of creativity in this newsletter, and it can grow into a fun community of common folks interested in the latest technology. I’m looking forward to experimenting with layouts, different structures, and different tech categories I don’t typically cover (particularly more in the business and political worlds).
Anyways, I’ll leave you to it. Thanks for reading, and I’ll see you next time.