Updated: Oct 6, 2020
So unless you've been living under a rock for the past few days or so and have gone dark to the internet and social media, you already know that Google have announced a lot of pretty cool things coming to their family. But just what does any of that mean for any of us. Google took to the stage and displayed some show stopping technology with the software to back it up. From the Pixel 2 to Google Home Max. Google is planning to know it out of the park. And with all their talks of "Machine Learning" they are showing why they remains the number 1 innovator in the world.
Google started their show with a little bit of show boating and to be honest it was impressive. Finding out that from 2013, when Chromcast first made it's debut, to now has sold 55 million units was impressive to say the lease. Or that since the inception of Google Assistant over one hundred million answers had been added in the last year alone. Google showed they had no plans on slowing down and showed how through Machine Learning we're moving to a more A.I First world. But just what is "Machine Learning"? Well TechTarget.com defines it as an A.I's ability to build algorithms that can receive input data and use statistical analysis to predict an output value within an acceptable range. Translated simply, Google is creating software that can not only recognize your voice and respond, but that can make tailor made suggestions, interact with, and do for you. At one point they spoke about google maps and how through Machine Learning it's become more accurate and mapping out locations while keeping in mind time of day, traffic, and routes. They even went on to tout features such as parking assist. To help you find areas to park, based on the day, the time, and the usual routine of that location. It was truly some spectacular stuff, and my guess is that if Skynet ever turned out to come into existence it would start at Google. They're not just creating a software with predetermined responses. They're creating a brain that learns who you are and know what you want.
So with all that great software, here's what they're doing with it. Google Home has been a focus of Google's to combat Amazon Alexa since Alexa launched. And to say that Google Home is an Alexa killer would be an understatement. It is leaps and bounds above Alexa and could do more than Amazon could ever hope their product to do and that's just a fact. Also the thing about Google Home is that it just looks nice. It looks like it belongs in your home. Imagine living in a 4 person home, with only one Device that can match your voice to your information with little chance of getting it wrong. This puts Home in a league of it's own. And with the announcement of Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. . .
Google is looking to put up some impressive numbers this holiday season. Google touted hand crafted yarn mesh, 360 degrees of crisp, quality sound, and all of the power of Google assistant for just $49. Google Home Max on the other hand, is what really made me stand at attention. Google Home Max boasts Acoustically transparent fabric, Dual 4.5" high-excursion woofers, custom 0.7" tweeters, an acoustic brace, and all packaged in a rigid polycarbonate housing. What does all that mean? Music is going to sound good...it's going to sound really fucking good! The other thing about Max is that being designed for sound, they're doing something with it that's truly phenomenal! It's called "Smartsound". What that means is that these speakers will adjust sound output based on the environment it's in. And I'm not just talking volume, bass, and treble here. Through Machine Learning Max will adjust sound based on reverb, acoustics, bounce back, background noise, and more. If I'm being completely honest I nerded out during this part of the presentation and stopped taking notes, but suffice it to say that it's doing some truly remarkable stuff. All of this and still the ability to differentiate your "Ok Google" command, from another's. Google Home Max is releasing for $399 and is available for pre-order now.
But Google Home didn't stop there. Google's conference truly felt less like a product reveal and more like a "Look what we can do" expo and that's just fine with me. Google brought out Yoky Matsuoka, the Chief Tech Officer from nest to talk about how Google Home and Nest are working together to make life easier for us. Starting Nest Hello google assistant can tell you who's at the door based off of who you tell it to remember and facial recognition. So say your best bud Roger comes over and rings your Nest Hello door bell, well through Google Home & Google Assistant you'll be notified that Roger is the one at the door. Have I used the word remarkable yet? Because it's nothing short of that. Yoky also talked about Google home and nest adjusting your temperature, turning off your lights, activating security, setting alarms, and more all by simply saying "Goodnight Google". Also, in the mornings, by saying "Good morning Google" you get coffee started, tv's on, and schedules read aloud to you. This is truly the future the Jetsons spoke of so many years ago. Google Home is also partnering with Disney to do a lot of great things for kids. First of all they touted how vastly improved the voice recognition in the advancement of understanding hard to comprehend kids. They cut to a commercial during this part of the presentation, however, that ad showed off Google Assistant's ability to tell jokes, read stories, and play games with your child all from simple commands. And speaking of commands, Google also talked about the ability to send message blasts for large house holds, Through a feature called Broadcast you can simply say: "Okay Google, Broadcast time for dinner." And Google Assistant will broadcast that message through every Google Home device in your home. They're doing some really fun things over at google, and I can't wait to see what they think of next.
Lets move on to what was the biggest surprise. At least to me. Matt Vokum took to the stage to talk laptops and boy was this item the break away star of the show. Meet the Pixelbook. The baddest S.O.B to ever grace your laps. We're talking 10 mm thin, 1 kg light, proclaimed 10 hours of battery with 2 hours of charge from a 15 minute plug-in. This thing is sexy and it's not just what's on the outside, because the inner beauty of this beast carries 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, and a seventh-gen Intel Core i5, with a front facing camera that shoots in 720p and a backlit keyboard. This thing is screaming take me! And that's just it's cheapest iteration. This thing also comes with a sold separately, wacom designed pen. This pen comes with 10 ms of latency and 2000+ levels of pressure sensitivity. What all this means is that drawing on this thing should feel just like ink to paper. The combination of pen and laptop also does something else cool. It allows to to circle text or images and get extra details about what you're interested in. In one example they circled a picture of an artist and Google Assistant was able to pull up his bio, websites, social media, etc. This feels like such a useful feature for students doing a little studying and at its $999 starting price point, it's looking to be right up there with some of the best laptops ever created.
Now we come to the reason that most of us even tuned into or showed up to the #MadeByGoogle press conference in the first place. The introduction of the Pixel 2 & the Pixel 2 XL. It looks radically simular to it's past iteration. However, we all know that with Pixel it's not about how it looks. It's about what it's capable of and hot damn can this baby do a lot. First and foremost it's added, this year water resistance, and stereo front facing speakers. They run a snapdragon 835 and keeping it 4GB of ram. Now let's talk screen, The Pixel 2 gets a 1080p amoled display, while the Pixel 2 XL gets a 6" quad HD 18x9 P oled display. They both have slighter bigger batteries than last gen, but these also boast "super fast charging". Claiming 7 hours of charge in just 15 minutes. Speeds that would make The Flash jealous. A lot of the features are pretty simular, however, with the oled display Pixel 2 is taking advantage of an always on display. The other thing that comes with that option is a wicked ass feature Google is calling "Now Playing" that if turned on will take advantage of your phones always listening capability and actively tell you the name of whatever song that may be playing in the background. Displaying the information on your lock screen with even more info as well as youtube videos and purchase links just a double tap away. Now if I could direct your attention to the back of the device we can talk
about that camera! 12 MP HDR+ camera. F.1 aperture, optical image stabilization. And it's just awesome, and it's just one. No dual camera here. However, Google says one eye is just as good as two because they are claiming they can do with software what other phones do with two cameras. Things such as portrait mode, through Machine Learning, can be done with your single lens camera. Distinguishing whats important and what needs to be blurred. If you can't understand how heavily Google is both banking and investing in Machine Learning, then you're just not reading this article right. Taking photos isn't all this camera can do either. With the Pixel 2 launch Google introduced something called Google Lens. This feature allows you to take a picture of something and Google Assistant will bring up all relevant information about that item. If it's a painting it will tell you the artist, if its a business card it will allow you to save it to your contacts and auto fill all relevant fields. This is something they experimented with very long ago in the past and that I'm happy to see back. A lot of these feature are going to be Pixel 2 exclusive and why shouldn't they be. Google has created their phones to be optimized for their software and vice versa . These phones may not be anything to look at, but they're definitely something that's gonna make a world of difference when it comes to this A.I first world. OH! And did I mention you can easily launch Google Assistant by just giving your phone a simple squeeze? Because you can, by just holding the phone naturally and applying a bit of pressure Google Assistant is at your service.
Google closed out there conference with the introduction of wireless earphones called Pixel Buds. And I know what you're thinking. Big whoop! You've given our home a brain with Google Home. You've taken Chromebooks to the next level. You've given us a phone that can scan images and put out or take in relevant information; and you're gonna close with fucking wireless headphones? Well trust me when I say this isn't just some ploy to get more money outta you. Nor is it the reason Google decided not to go with a headphone port on their phones. Fact is, these headphones do more than play music. They translate language in real time like nothing we've ever seen before in real life. By simply touching and holding the right ear bud you can speak in your native tongue and Machine Learning does the rest. You talk, the translated equivalent comes outta your Pixel 2's loud and clear front facing speakers and it's as simple as that. When the person you are speaking with responds, Google Assistant translates in back to you in your native language through the headphones. Dare I say it again...FREAKING REMARKABLE!
So what's the take away? Well, fact is that Google clearly showed off the future of tech and displayed fully how Machine Learning can truly bring us closer to this A.I First world they kept speaking so much about...and without a shadow of a doubt I was impressed. However, how practical are these items? And that's the thing. It depends on you. Like for me I love the idea of Google Home, however, I don't need to be reminded of too many things and as I live in an apartment the Nest and Home combination would be unnecessary. As a music lover I'd love to have the Goggle Home Max, however, $400 for a speaker no matter how great the sound, isn't worth it for me if I'm not going to taking advantage of the Google Assistant features. Then we get to the Pixelbook and look, if you're not trapped in an eco-system already...I'd say go for it. Hell, I might have even gone for it and I still might. The specs are top notch, the design is gorgeous and in line with their Pixel 2 line, and it's a 4 in 1 design. It truly is impressive, however, I'm locked in to Microsoft's eco system right now as I do use my laptop to sync with my XBO s. So certain games I buy for my XBO s I can play on my laptop and vice versa. It's a really neat thing that I know I would miss. The same is to be said about people who already own MacBooks. So I think Google is going to face real challenges moving this device because they're attempting a Hail Mary play when it's 4th and goal at the 50 yard line with only seconds left in the game. Only time will tell if this is going to pay off for them. The Pixel 2, Pixel 2 XL, and Pixel Buds are going to make waves and bring a shift. People have criticized the design of the Pixel 2 but it speaks to Goggle's simplicity. People are upset about the lack of headphone jack. To that I say, get over it! This is the direction the world is going. The future of tech is Wireless. A headphone jack doesn't make or break your phone. What matters to Google, what's always mattered, is the software. And the software in the Pixel 2 is top notch and is going to have a lot of exclusive beta features to start. The real time translations with the Buds, Google Lens, automatic tethering should your PixelBook lose wifi. All of this and improved Machine Learning. In my opinion this A.I first world is going to be lead by Google and the Pixel 2 line up and the rest of the products being developed by google is the Key.