Future tech: Google CEO Sundar Pichai on making AI more helpful for everyone

by Wayfarer Editors

At Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, the company’s CEO, Sundar Pichai spoke about Google’s commitment to building and deploying AI responsibly so that everyone can benefit equally.

Seven years into our journey as an AI-first company, we’re at an exciting inflection point. We have an opportunity to make AI even more helpful for people, for businesses, for communities, for everyone.

We’ve been applying AI to make our products radically more helpful for a while. With generative AI, we’re taking the next step. With a bold and responsible approach, we’re reimagining all our core products, including Search.


There are some great examples of how generative AI is helping to evolve our products, starting with Gmail. In 2017, we launched Smart Reply, short responses you could select with just one click. Next came Smart Compose, which offered writing suggestions as you type. Smart Compose led to more advanced writing features powered by AI.

They’ve been used in Workspace over 180 billion times in the past year alone. And now, with a much more powerful generative model, we’re taking the next step in Gmail with “Help me write.”

Let’s say you got an email that your flight was canceled. The airline has sent a voucher, but what you really want is a full refund. You could reply, and use “Help me write.”

Just type in the prompt of what you want — an email that asks for a full refund — hit create, and a full draft appears. It conveniently pulls in flight details from the previous email. It looks pretty close to what you want to send, but maybe you want to refine it further.

In this case, a more elaborate email might increase the chances of getting the refund. “Help me write” will start rolling out as part of our Workspace updates. And just like with Smart Compose, you’ll see it get better over time.


Since the early days of Street View, AI has stitched together billions of panoramic images, so people can explore the world from their device. At last year’s I/O we introduced Immersive View, which uses AI to create a high-fidelity representation of a place, so you can experience it before you visit.

Now, we’re expanding that same technology to do what Maps does best: help you get where you want to go. Google Maps provides 20 billion kilometers of directions, every day — that’s a lot of trips. Now imagine if you could see your whole trip in advance. With Immersive View for routes you can, whether you’re walking, cycling or driving.

Say you’re in New York City and you want to go on a bike ride. Maps has given you a couple of options close to where you are. The one on the waterfront looks scenic, but you want to get a feel for it first, so you click on Immersive View for routes. It’s an entirely new way to look at your journey. You can zoom in to get an incredible bird’s eye view of the ride.

There’s more information available too. You can check air quality, traffic and weather, and see how they might change.

Immersive View for routes will begin to roll out over the summer, and launch in 15 cities by the end of the year, including London, New York, Tokyo and San Francisco.


Another product made better by AI is Google Photos. We introduced it at I/O in 2015, and it was one of our first AI-native products. Breakthroughs in machine learning made it possible to search your photos for things like people, sunsets or waterfalls.

Of course, we want you to do more than just search photos — we also want to help you make them better. In fact, every month, 1.7 billion images are edited in Google Photos. AI advancements give us more powerful ways to do this. For example, Magic Eraser, launched first on Pixel, uses AI-powered computational photography to remove unwanted distractions. And later this year, using a combination of semantic understanding and generative AI, you can do much more with a new experience called Magic Editor.

Here’s an example: This is a great photo, but as a parent, you probably want your kid at the center of it all. And it looks like the balloons got cut off in this one, so you can go ahead and reposition the birthday boy. Magic Editor automatically recreates parts of the bench and balloons that were not captured in the original shot. As a finishing touch, you can punch up the sky. This also changes the lighting in the rest of the photo so the edit feels consistent. It’s truly magical. We’re excited to roll out Magic Editor in Google Photos later this year.


From Gmail and Photos to Maps, these are just a few examples of how AI can help you in moments that matter. And there’s so much more we can do to deliver the full potential of AI across the products you know and love.

Today, we have 15 products that each serve more than half a billion people and businesses. And six of those products serve over 2 billion users each. This gives us so many opportunities to deliver on our mission — to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

It’s a timeless mission that feels more relevant with each passing year. And looking ahead, making AI helpful for everyone is the most profound way we’ll advance our mission.