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Google’s Gemini on Android: A Glimpse into Mobile Computing’s Past and Future

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In Short:

Nearly a decade ago, Google introduced Now on Tap, a feature in Android Marshmallow that provided contextual information by tapping and holding the home button. At the I/O conference, new features in Android feel like a return to the excitement of Now on Tap. Circle to Search allows interactive searching by circling items on the screen. Gemini, an AI assistant, is evolving and offering step-by-step solutions to math and physics problems using Google’s LearnLM models.


Google Unveils New Features for Android OS at I/O Developer Conference

Almost ten years ago, Google introduced a feature called Now on Tap in Android Marshmallow. It allowed users to tap and hold the home button to access contextual information related to what was on the screen. Whether discussing a movie with a friend or browsing a restaurant on Yelp, Now on Tap provided immediate assistance without leaving the current app.

Evolution to Google Assistant

Although Now on Tap has evolved into Google Assistant over the years, the essence of contextual assistance remains different. Today, at Google’s I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, the latest features in the Android operating system bring back the essence of Now on Tap, leveraging advancements in large language models over the past decade.

According to Dave Burke, vice president of engineering on Android, the technological advancements have enabled the development of more sophisticated assistants that can understand visual information and predict user actions more effectively.

Circle to Search Feature

One of the new features introduced is Circle to Search, offering a more interactive way of searching on mobile devices. Users can circle items on the screen to initiate a search, providing a visually engaging and modern search experience. The feature, which has received positive feedback, has now expanded to solve physics and math problems step by step within the syllabus app.

Powered by Google’s LearnLM models tailored for education, Circle to Search will soon be able to handle more complex tasks like diagrams and graphs for enhanced learning experiences.

Gemini AI Assistant

Gemini, Google’s AI assistant, is gaining traction as an alternative to Google Assistant on most Android phones. Users have the option to switch to Gemini for a more contextual and advanced experience. However, this does not signal the end of Google Assistant, as Gemini serves as an opt-in choice for consumers looking for a more personalized assistant.

While there are no official announcements about the future of Google Assistant, Gemini continues to evolve and receive positive feedback from users exploring its capabilities.

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