Google offers a more modest vision for the future

SAN FRANCISCO — There was a time when Google offered fantastic visions of the future, including driverless cars, augmented reality glasses, unlimited storage of emails and photos, and predictive text for sentence completion.

On Wednesday, Google showed off a more modest product as it kicked off the company’s annual developer conference. The Google of 2022 is more pragmatic and sensible — a bit more like Microsoft’s business-focused rival than a tech-lovers’ fantasy.

On the surface, this is by design. The bold vision is still there – but there’s still a long way to go. The professional executives who now run Google are increasingly focused on squeezing money out of those years of R&D spending.

The company’s biggest bet in artificial intelligence doesn’t mean science fiction, at least for now. This means making more subtle changes to existing products.


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