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The Keyword


Play the I/O Crossword, an AI twist on the classic word game

Illustration of the Google developer mascots, including Android, Dino (a dinosaur), Sparky (a flame), and Dash (a bird), stand on the tiles of a crossword puzzle.

We made a ton of exciting announcements at Google I/O this year — we know, it’s a lot to take in! So as a fun way to celebrate the beginning of our I/O Connect event series, we thought, why not revisit some of the coolest tools we showcased at I/O in a fun way? The result: The I/O Crossword! It’s a twist on the classic crossword puzzle that not only tests your knowledge of all things I/O, but also gives you a hands-on look at the power of Flutter, Firebase and the Gemini API.

How to play the I/O Crossword

Here’s how it works: Choose a team from one of four mascots which will determine the color your spaces turn when you solve a word. Then, choose a place on the board to get started. If you get stuck while trying to solve your word, try the “ask for a hint” button. The more words you solve in a row, the higher up on the leaderboard you (and your team) go!

From right to left, three screens from the I/O Crossword game - a player selecting their team, a player selecting the “ask for a hint button”, and a player typing out their question.

How we built the I/O Crossword with the Gemini API

We fed Gemini Advanced both keynotes from Google I/O this year and asked it to create topical, technology-related content for a crossword that would make the game a fun way to learn about I/O announcements. Gemini helped us create the 320 words and clues in the game.

We integrated the AI-generated content into the game, built with our developer tools — Flutter, Dart, Firebase, Project IDX, Google Chrome and Google Cloud — to create the game interface and mechanics.

We also used these tools to include the AI-powered hint feature. The whole point of a crossword is to use the clues to figure the right words — but we all know that feeling when a word is on the tip of your tongue, or the clue just isn't cutting it. Instead of needing to head to Google Search for a little help, we built AI right into the game to give you a nudge - just enough to keep those brain cells firing and that satisfaction flowing when you finally crack the code.

The I/O Crossword is built to inspire you to think of ways you might use the Gemini API to make classic experiences better or to create entirely new experiences altogether. If you’ve got a really great idea, you’ve got until Aug. 12, 2024 to submit a project of your own to the Gemini API Developer Competition.

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