The day when Google shows what it has in store against Apple’s latest lineup is finally here.
Sundar Pichai takes the stage, and begins by taking a few minutes to talk about the Las Vegas shooting and the recent incredibly-destructive hurricanes.
He then talks about how Google has been actively involved in the shift from a mobile-first to an AI-first world. He gives examples of the improvements in Google Street View, Google Maps Parking, and Google Translate, to show how using AI and applying machine learning has helped to improve features faster and easily.
This event is full of how Google is putting AI, hardware, and software together, to create better products that intelligently adapt to users.
Rich Osterloh takes the stage to talk about how Google’s next generation of devices focuses on the intersection of AI, hardware, and software, to give birth to smart devices that get more intelligent the more we use them.
GOOGLE ASSISTANT :
Rishi Chandra is here to talk about what’s new with Google Home.
- Google Home was able to make free calls to any mobile number in the US and Canada. Now, it can do so through your phone number, so that the recipients know it’s you.
- Google Home already had Routines, where the Google Assistant lists the important events of each day. More routines are to be added soon to help with different moments of the day. Routines will also be customizable, so that you can do more with each routine.
- Can’t find your phone inside the house? Google Assistant will now be able to ring your Android phone or call your iPhone directly, instead of having to ask a family member to call your phone.
- Broadcast is a new feature that lets you broadcast a message across all Google Home devices at home.
- Family Link is a new feature where parents can create accounts for pre-teen children and give them access to experiences to have play games, listen to stories, or learn with the Google Assistant.
Voice match, which was announced a couple of months back, is a feature where the Google Assistant will recognise individual voices and retrieve data from individual accounts. Voice match will soon be available in all the countries where Google Home will be available in. Voice match workes with free calling, routines, or finding your misplaced phone, based on your voice. So, you will automatically be able to call your contacts, access your routines, or ring your phone, using your voice as the key.
GOOGLE HOME MINI :
Rishi invites Isabelle Olsson to introduce us to a new addition to the Google Home family.
Isabelle Olsson introduces the new Google Home Mini.
- Google Home Mini has the Google Assistant built it, so you can ask it anything like you would do to the previous generation Google Home.
- It has a button on the top that lets you tap on it, to pause music, adjust volume, or summon the Google Assistant.
- Google Home Mini can also work wirelessly with any Chromecast built-in speaker.
It comes in three colours: Coral, Chalk, and Charcoal. It is priced at $49, and will be available in stores from October 19.
Take a look at the Google Home Mini in action :
GOOGLE ASSISTANT AND SMART HOME PRODUCTS :
Rishi now turns his attention to smart home products.
He invites Yoky Matsuoka to give us a glimpse of how the Google Assistant and Nest work together to help make the home much smarter.
She gives a few examples of the same.
- You can just ask the Google Assistant to stream any camera around the house.
- Using a new feature called Familiar Faces, the doorbell camera will automatically recognize the person at the door, and announce it through Google Home.
- Google Home will be able to perform a series of smart-home-device actions using a simple command, like saying ‘Good Night’ to turn off the lights, activate the security system, and setting the alarm.
GOOGLE HOME MAX :
Rishi now gives us Google Home’s big brother, Google Home Max.
Basically, it is a speaker with the Google Assistant built in.
- Google Home Max can intelligently tunes the speaker to compensate for different room configurations, and increase the volume in noisy environments.
- It supports YouTube Music, Spotify, and other top music streaming services.
- It can also take input from ChromeCast, Bluetooth, or wired cables. It can also sync with other Google Home devices at home.
It will be available into color variants : Chalk and Charcoal, and is priced at $399, which includes a 12-month ad-free YouTube Music subscription.
See it for yourself :
GOOGLE PIXELBOOK :
Here comes the first laptop from Google. The Google Pixelbook.
It can be used as a laptop, or as a tablet with the keyboard folded back.
- It comes with Intel Core i5/i7 processors, with upto 16GB RAM, and upto 512GB storage.
- It has a 10-hour battery life, charged with USB-C, which can give the Pixelbook 2 hours of charge in 15 minutes.
- Pixelbook runs Chrome OS and supports Google Play, giving you access to all Android apps.
- The Pixelbook has Instant Tethering, which can connect the Pixelbook to the internet automatically through your Pixel phones’ internet connection.
- Google Assistant is built-in which can be activated through voice, or through a dedicated button on the keyboard.
Here’s Google’s official video for the Google Pixelbook :
GOOGLE PIXELBOOK PEN :
The Google Pixelbook Pen works seamlessly with the Pixelbook. Circling any content on the screen immediately prompts the Google Assistant to take action.
Google’s new pen is the fastest smart pen available, with a delay of just 10 milliseconds, compared to the Apple Pencil’s and the Microsoft Surface Pen’s 20 and 21 millisecond delay respectively.
See how it works, here :
Finally, here comes what we have all been waiting for.
GOOGEL PIXEL 2 AND PIXEL 2 XL:
Mario Queiroz introduces the 5-inch Google Pixel 2 and the 6-inch XL variant.
Here are some specifications:
- Google has removed the 3.5mm audio jack, but has included an adapter.
Both phones support quick charging, that gives a 7-hour battery life from a 15-minute charge.
- There is an always-on display that shows important information on the screen all the time.
- Active Edge takes you directly to the Google Assistant, by just squeezing the sides of the device, which Google says will work even through phone cases.
- The Pixel 2 comes in Kinda Blue, Just Black, and Clearly White colors, whereas the Pixel 2 XL comes in Just Black and Black-and-White colors.
- Both come with Android Oreo
- Both get a camera score of 98 from DXOMARK, beating both the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 and iPhone 8 Plus by 4 points, thus making the latest Pixel phones the best camera phones on the market.
- Portrait Mode is now available on both phones and through both the front and rear cameras.
- The camera also brings Motion photos which is just Apple’s Live Photos under a different name.
- Pixel 2 users will get free unlimited Google Photos storage for all original-quality photos, Motion Photos, and videos.
If these features make you want to move from iPhone to Pixel, worry not! The Pixel phones come with an adapter that let you connect your iPhone and transfer photos, apps, and iMessages, in less than 10 minutes.
Google takes an incredible dig at Apple by saying “Feel free to choose either device, because you’ll get the same great experience on both devices. We don’t set aside better features for the larger device”, which gets a huge applause from the audience.
The Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL start at $649 and $849 respectively. Take a look at the phones for yourself, at the official site.
If you’re quick enough, you will get a free Google Home Mini when you purchase one of these new phones. That basically knocks $49 off the price of the phone.
Here’s a quick look at the phones :
GOOGLE LENS :
Pixel phones get a preview of Google Lens. Google had already given us a glimpse of Google Lens in Google I/O 2017.
Google Lens, which will appear in Google Photos first, and later in Google Assistant, is a lens icon that scans photos for email IDs, phone numbers, and addresses. Lens works seamlessly with Google Assistant, where you can scan an image and ask the Google Assistant questions based on the object you scanned.
AUGMENTED REALITY :
The camera in Pixel phones are optimized for AR, and allows tracking even in low-light conditions.
AR games and apps are nothing new. Google introduces AR stickers, built into the camera and exclusive to Pixel phones.
There are a number of in-built AR emojis that you can use. Emojis which can interact with each other are available from third-party developers such as Stranger Things, SNL, YouTube, NBA, and Star Wars.
DAYDREAM VIEW :
Google’s VR headset, Daydream View, gets an upgrade.
The new Daydream View comes with a wider view, softer fabric, and new colors.
Besides 250 VR-ready apps and games, you can also enjoy premium VR content such as new original series and IMAX movies through YouTube VR and Google Play Movies respectively.
Daydream View will be available for $99. You can check it out here.
GOOGLE PIXEL BUDS :
The new Pixel Buds are wireless earphones, with touch controls on the right earbug.
The Pixel Buds get access to the Google Assistant on pairing with the latest Pixel phones.
The best thing about the Pixel Buds is the realtime translation (Kinda like the Babel fish. Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy fans, where you at?). For example, you can hear a French version of what someone says to you in English, and you can reply in French to the Pixel Buds, which in turn reads aloud the same translated into English. Pixel Buds supports such realtime translation of 40 languages.
You get a 5-hour battery life on one charge. They come in a charging case that can give your Pixel Buds about 24 hours of listening time.
Pixel Buds are available in Clearly White, Kinda Blue, and Just Black colors, and will be priced at $159.
GOOGLE CLIPS :
Last but not least, Google gives us a preview of Google Clips.
It is a clip-on camera that uses AI to snap photos, when it detects people and senses that a scene is photograph-worthy.
It is priced at $250, and doesn’t have a shipping date yet. Watch Google Clips in action, here.
The event just ended with a roundup of everything announced.
Here’s a quick recap of all the members of this year’s #madeByGoogle family :
MY TAKE ON THE EVENT :
For me, this event was really a breath of fresh air, especially after Apple’s iPhone X event. Everything at yesterday’s event, from the product announcements to each casual joke, was just amazing. I had a smile on my face the whole time (partially because my name was in two of the product videos :D ).
Google’s digs at Apple about storage limitations and about having better features on only the larger model phone were perfectly on point. Compared to the smiling poop emoji we got from Apple’s event, Google’s event was very satisfying and just worth the time spent to watch it and to write about it.
Did you watch the event? What did you like? What did you not like?
And, thanks for reading!