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What #MadeByGoogle really means

Steven Max Patterson | Oct. 6, 2016
Google isn’t becoming a consumer electronics company despite its announcement of five new hardware products

Google CEO Sundar Pichai said Google’s intention is to shift from being a mobile-first company to become an AI-first company. AI-first means humans interact with machines conversationally, not just with phones. There is no reason why a conversational agent has to run on one type of device, such as a Pixel phone or the Home device. Google Assistant could be built into a refrigerator, a vacuum or a car with the SDK.

The Home device is a stable, responsive platform. It is better suited as a personal assistant than a smartphone because it is plugged in, so it is always ready. And its dedicated hardware makes it responsive to interpreting users’ voices.

During the Home demonstration, it appeared as though the conversation was taking place locally. However, it communicated with machine learning systems in Google’s cloud to understand and respond.

Like Google search uses machine learning to optimize the interpretation of user searches and rank results learned from search history, Google Assistant running on Home, Android and elsewhere will learn to respond by better understanding what the user has asked and better predict the response that best serves the user.

If Google Assistant can be optimized to better understand and predict, Google can use the same technique to predict which ads will appeal to a consumer and perhaps create new ways to monetize its free services. Home also will learn in a different context than search: in users’ homes. And if it makes itself an indispensable personal assistant, it will know everything about everyone living in these homes, improving its ability to predict which ads are most appealing to users.

Google Pixel and Pixel XL: These two beautifully engineered phones with a 5-in. and 5.5-in. screen, respectively, have been optimized to serve two purposes. First, the Pixel is Google’s new entry into the flagship phone race. It has a smooth, beautifully designed, glass-and-metal housing that looks and feels like the best flagship phones. Like all flagships, it has an amazing camera that achieved a top score of 89 from camera researcher DxOMark. And its specs, reported by GSM Arena, reflect excellent engineering and curation of top-tier components into a polished device.

It is also the first Daydream-ready, VR smartphone designed to be inserted in the Daydream View headset (pictured below). The Pixel design has been optimized when worn with the Daydream View headset with a very low latency gyroscope and inertial measurement unit (IMU) to track the user’s head movement and a very fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 SoC designed for VR that can render VR video on the screen that match the user’s changing head orientation.

google daydream view headset


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