Google's Plans
Google announced last 17 May that it was bringing its digital assistant to Apple iPhones as part of its effort to win the battle with tech rivals on artificial intelligence.

At its annual developers conference at an outdoor concert-venue near its main campus here, Google unveiled its vision for computing centered around artificial intelligence.

"We are now witnessing a new shift in computing: the move from a mobile-first to an AI-first world," Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said during an opening presentation.

"It is forcing us to reimagine our products for a world that allows a more natural, seamless way of interacting with technology."

Those interactions, for Google, include using artificial intelligence to let people engage computers conversationally, have software anticipate needs, and let smartphone cameras "recognize" what they see.

"In an AI-first world, we are rethinking all of our products and applying machine learning to solve problems," Pichai said.

Google Assistant, the center of its AI efforts, is in a fierce battle with rivals such as Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft Cortana and Apple's Siri to be the top choice for use in smartphones as well as connected homes, cars and a range of other devices.

"Siri's got company, and all these other guys are pretty serious about it," said Gartner analyst Brian Blau.

Artificial intelligence is being woven into Google's free Gmail service, used by more than a billion people, for features such as suggesting responses to messages.

For example, opening an email containing an invitation to dinner might trigger a prompt to reply "I'm in."

Google machine vision capabilities are being used to enable services such as recognizing who is in pictures and what they are doing as well as translate languages in signs viewed through smartphone cameras, demonstrations showed.

Advanced "Lens" features are being added first to the Google Photo application, which is available free.

Aiming a smartphone camera at a flower will prompt it to be identified; while aiming it at a complex password and hotspot name on a router will let it automatically log into the wireless connection.

Google also unveiled a second-generation computer chip it designed specifically to improve cloud computing capabilities in data centers.

"We want Google Cloud to be the best cloud for machine learning," Pichai said.

He described the internet giant's core search service and its Google Assistant as the company's most important AI products.