Live Caption was one of the highlight feature of Android 10 when Google unveiled it at Google I/O 2019. Its ability to generate accurate real-time captions regardless of audio source continues to blow us away — and it works offline, too. Google's Pixel phones were the first to get it, then it followed by expansion to other Android smartphones. Google announced yesterday that Live Caption is available to everyone using Chrome, and with some digging in the Chromium Gerrit, it looks like Chromebooks won't have to wait much longer to get it.
Machine learning may border on magic, and provide many of the biggest technical benefits we've enjoyed in the last decade, but it has plenty of "weak spots." One of Google's biggest concerns is that models are often trained using example data that's too easy to interpret, making them unprepared for the greater ambiguity of the real world. Case in point: Telling a donut from a bagel.
It's no secret that India is one of the most linguistically diverse nations in the world. With 22 official languages and a hundred more that aren't, it can be quite challenging for a company to break the language barrier. But Google has been making efforts to localize its products and services for a billion Indians and it's now sharing all that it's accomplished so far at its L10n India event.
Google Photos won't be a completely free service anymore starting June 2021, so Google will have to invest in even more unique features to help the service stand out from the competition. Photos' existing features are already impressive, but now the company has announced a few more things that make its service special, including a stunning machine-learning based cinematic photo filter that will turn stills into short animations.
This year has been drab but that doesn't mean we can't end it on a good note. In fact, Google's new machine learning experiment, called Blob Opera, aims to do just that. With the help of some adorable little blobs — reminiscent of Google's much-loved old emoji — you can create festive songs before sharing them with friends and family.
Google produces some of the best still photography with its Pixel phones, but its method is more than just magic. Instead, it's the result of hard technical labor and lots of machine learning models. When Google introduced a refined portrait mode on the Pixel 3, it utilized a wacky 5-phone case to train its ML models — but the rig the company created to enable its new Portrait Light mode might be even wilder.
Back in May, YouTube introduced video chapters, a way of breaking down videos into separate, easy-jump-to segments. It's similar to the way a film is broken down into scenes on a DVD, allowing you to skip straight to the part you want. Sadly, there aren't many creators using chapters yet, mainly because it takes time to set them during the editing process. To help remedy this, YouTube has decided to use machine learning to assign chapters automatically, and testing is now underway.
Creating creatures and characters for games takes up hours upon hours for designers, which is particularly a problem when you need thousands of individual models. That's where Google's Research and Stadia teams come in. Together, they've created an ML-based tool that could one day help designers make monsters for their games — and you can use that tool right now on the web.
Google Photos is not shy about asking for your help to improve its algorithms. More than a year ago, the app started asking users simple "yes/no/not sure" questions to refine its facial recognition chops and better group the same face under the same profile. More recently, the app added a similar survey for things, so when you open the sunset (for example) category under Photos' Search > Things, you get a little box on top where you can confirm whether certain pics have a sunset in them or not. The app is now pushing things further by requesting your assistance in labeling your images from scratch, not just confirming whether or not its assumption is accurate.
Back at its Launch Night In event, Google announced a redesigned Google Photos editor that makes machine-learning editing options more prominent. It was initially uncovered in a leak back in August, courtesy of app sleuth Jane Manchun Wong. The company promised that the revamp would roll out to Photos users gradually, and it appears that a lot of people have already received the server-side update by now. Check your Photos app to see if you also got in.