Is Google Getting Boring?

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Trust me, I never thought it might come to this. In case you’d asked me a week ago what I had been expecting from Google’s I/O programmer conference, “drilling” is not the word that would’ve came to mind. Yet, looking only at that year’s announcements, I am struck by how entirely anticipated and, well, safe it all is. Sure, Google Lens was far and away the best thing Google previewed here, and a standalone VR headset is very enticing in the event you are a VR enthusiast (so far quite a modest, self-selecting group).

But none of that’s particularly advanced or exciting. Google Lens is only a rehashed model of Google Goggles (albeit slightly more useful), and we have been hearing rumors about Google’s standalone VR headset for well over per year. Right. That was not always the case. When Sergey Brin enlisted a group of skydivers to introduce the world, it wasn’t that long ago. Or when Google’s Advanced Technology and Projects (ATAP) division, the skunkworks behind moonshot ideas like modular smartphones, gesture-sensing radar, and garments with embedded sensors, was a reliable source of shock and awe for I/O attendees.

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