Google releases Pixel 3a and 3a XL smartphones, upgrades Google Assistant, and improves Google Lens.

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The top story today is from the Google IO 2019 event. Trending on Google, the Google Pixel 3 series smartphones are now joined by two new budget-oriented members. The Google Pixel 3a and the Pixel 3a XL inherits the phenomenal camera of their predecessors while slightly improving the battery life and come at a much more affordable price point. Granted, they only feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 670 chipset, but that’s still ample to tackle everyday productivity and entertainment. And yes, the headphone jack makes a return on these devices, which is a seemingly long-forgotten relic for today’s high-end smartphones.

On the same vein, expect big upgrades to future versions of Google Assistant and voice recognition. Google has also announced that it will be baking machine learning models and voice recognition data Directly into the devices themselves. This enables the phones to process voice commands and perform complex transcriptions even without an active data connection. It helps with privacy, too, as all the data are processed on the device, and only sends the parsed data to the cloud AI model.

Google also has big plans for Google Lens, its image recognition app. Through an update late this month, Google Lens will gain better content awareness and perform even more complex tasks. On stage, a demo showed how Google Lens was able to highlight the most popular items on a menu and expand the items to provide more context. Additionally, it was able to calculate tips and split the total by just a quick scan of the bill.

That’s all the tech news that’s trending right now. Hashtag Trending is a part of the ITWC Podcast network. Remember to add us to your Alexa Flash Briefing or your Google Home daily briefing.

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