At the Made by Google 2017 event held on October 4, 2017, Google announced new smartphones, a new Pixelbook high-end laptop, smart speakers, plus a number of other hardware devices.
One of the key takeaways from the event is that Google has made a paradigm shift to focus on creating hardware that uses artificial intelligence (AI). As Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google, Inc. explains, “We have been working hard continuing our shift from a mobile first to a AI first world. We are rethinking all our core products and working hard to solve user problems by applying machine learning in AI.”
Now that Google is venturing more seriously into the hardware device market, it may have an upper hand in selling these devices because, as the New York Times puts it, “Google didn’t spend much time on product specifications. Instead, its focus was on artificial intelligence. Sundar Pichai, Google’s chief executive, spent the first 10 minutes explaining how artificial intelligence was helping Google Maps and its translations. Mr. Pichai said that as an ‘A.I. first’ company, this is a ‘unique moment in time’ for Google to combine hardware, software andartificial intelligence. ‘It’s radically rethinking how computing should work,’ he said.”
As one example, the new Google Pixel AI-infused smartphones come with an image-recognition app called Lens which can help users find information just by pointing a camera at a movie poster or an ad. As TechCrunch notes, “The idea with the product is to leverage Google’s computer vision and AI technology in order to bring smarts directly to your phone’s camera. As the company explains, the smartphone camera won’t just see what you see, but will also understand what you see to help you take action.”
The Lens app will be released later this year. However, XDA Developers says the app is “fully functional” now, and explains how it works. Lens makes use of Augmented Reality, OCR, and Machine Learning (AI) to identify objects and provide contextual data about them.
Lens is just one way Google is combining its powerful search capability with AI to develop better devices for home and mobile. The New York Times notes about two other new products, “[Google’s] new ‘smart speaker’ uses artificial intelligence to adjust its sound for the layout of a room. And new wireless headphones allow for instant translation of different languages.” To see an example of this combined AI and hardware approach, view Google’s real-time translation demo below which features the Pixel 2 phone and Pixel Buds wireless earbuds:
Here’s a complete list of new hardware devices announced at the Made by Google 2017 event:
- Google Home Mini
- Google Home Max
- Google Pixelbook
- Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL
- Google Daydream View
- Google Pixel Buds
- Google Clips
You can watch the complete Made by Google 2017 event below:
Or if you prefer, view this short three-minute highlights video: