New AI-enabled features coming to Android phones

Scam detection alerts, Circle to Search updates, and multimodal Gemini-Nano capabilities are among the features that will be available to Android users later this year.

Google held its annual developer conference on Tuesday, where it announced a several AI-related updates. During the 110-minute keynote, the company mentioned "AI" 121 times.

In addition to a new AI model optimized for speed and efficiency called Gemini Flash, Google announced an updated version of the Gemini 1.5 Pro model, which will be able to make sense of a massive amount of data, a new Google Astra model, which was described as a universal agent helpful in everyday life, and more news.

Some of the updates that were introduced are aimed at Android phone users and will be available later this year.

One notable feature is an alert for scams. Fraudsters make billions every year via phone calls, especially from elderly people. The company aims to prevent that by sending real-time alerts if conversational patterns associated with scams are detected.

For example, a person will receive an alert if a bank representative asks to transfer funds, request a PIN code or other information that is typically not requested by a bank. According to the company, this feature will use Gemini-Nano model, and will work on-device, meaning that the conversation will be private to person.

Later this year, Gemini Nano will be available on-device for other features. This means that an Android phone will be able to understand context, such as sights, sounds, and spoken language. Gemini Nano's multimodal capabilities will be used in TalkBack and are aimed at people experiencing blindness or low vision.

New updates are also coming to Google's Circle to Search, a feature that enables users to search pictures, text, and other information with a gesture without closing an app.

Google says that it’s expanding the feature to better suit students' needs. The update enables a person to circle a prompt and get step-by-step instructions to solve math or other problems directly from an Excel sheet or other document. All this can be done without leaving their digital info sheet or syllabus.

Later this year, Google is planning to introduce ways to solve more complex problems, including symbolic formulas, diagrams and graphs.

A few updates will also be introduced to Google's default Gemini Assistant. Users will be able to bring up Gemini's overlay on top of the app and drag and drop generated images into Gmail, while Gemini Advanced users will have the option to "Ask this PDF" to quickly get answers.

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