Autumn is tech season and yesterday Google followed Apple and Amazon in announcing its latest product lineup. New tech devices and new skills for Google Assistant made for a busy afternoon for Google yesterday, as it demonstrated its latest offerings.
Most of the new devices come with Google Assistant, Google’s digital assistant, to bring the devices new features and to connect them to each other. The company says it’s combining hardware, software and artificial intelligence so its products can interact with each other.
Nearly every product Google introduced yesterday have Google Assistant to answer questions and perform tasks. Google Assistant has become smarter and more useful with each of these products.
A new feature of Google Assistant that makes it stand out from Siri or Alexa (Apple and Amazon’s digital assistants), is Voice Match. Google Assistant can learn your voice and distinguish it from other voices.
Voice Match means that when you ask Google Assistant a question, you’ll get an answer meant specifically for you, not for someone else. This skill is especially important when using Google Assistant on devices such as Google Home, when it may not otherwise know who is asking a question.
For example, if you ask Google Assistant, “what’s on my calendar for tomorrow?” its reply will be based on your calendar, not the calendar of anyone else in your household. You can ask Google Assistant to call “Jerry” and it will call the Jerry in your Contacts, not a different Jerry someone else in your family knows.
Google Assistant will ask for your permission before it learns your voice to know who you are. After it does this, Voice Match can customize its answers for your reminders, commute time and more.
You’ll be able to create Routines for Google Assistant so it can perform multiple tasks with one command.
For example, you can say, “Hey, Google, good night” and Google Assistant can turn off your lights, turn on your security system, adjust the temperature on your Nest thermostat, set a wake-up alarm for the morning and tell you what you have on your calendar for the next day.
Find Your Phone
Google Assistant can find your phone, if you ask it to. Say, “Okay, Google. Find my phone.” If it’s an Android phone, Google Assistant will make your phone ring, even if it’s on silent. If it’s an iPhone, Google Assistant will call your phone.
Google Home, Google’s smart speaker is getting smarter, smaller and bigger. Using Google Assistant, Google Home products can connect to your smart home devices and act as a voice-controlled remote. Google Assistant has other new skills it uses with Google Home.
With Broadcast, Google Assistant can play a message on all of the Google Home speakers in your house. No more yelling at the kids to get them to come to the dinner table, Google Assistant can announce this important message, saving your vocal chords from a nightly strain.
If you have children under 13 you can connect them to Google Assistant using the Family Link app. With Family Link, they can ask Google Home things like, “Hey, Google, let’s learn” to hear interesting facts and play trivia games. They can say, “Hey, Google, let’s play” to play games such as musical chairs and freeze dance. They can also ask Google Home to tell them a story.
Google Home Mini
In addition to the original Google Home, Google now offers Home Mini, a smaller version of the smart speaker. The Mini is smaller than a donut, but has the same functions as the larger Google Home.
It comes in three colors: charcoal, chalk and coral.
This disk has a fabric-covered speaker you can tap to operate or you can speak to it using Google Assistant. You can ask it questions, use it to control your smart home devices, and have it play music.
Mini has LED lights under the fabric so you can see when it’s working.
Here’s a peek at Mini:
Google Home Mini costs $49 and can be ordered now on the Google Store website. It will be available on October 19.
Google Home Max
If you want to go big, Google Home Max might be a better choice for you. Max is designed to be an intelligent speaker that adapts its sound output to different factors.
Max uses what Google calls “Smart Sound” to figure out its placement in the room and the shape of the room. Max will play music according to the shape of the room and adjust when you move it to another place. You can turn Max vertically or horizontally and it will change the sound accordingly.
The sound also will be adjusted according to the context. The volume may be lower in the morning or if you’re playing a podcast. The volume may be increased if you’re in a room that’s noisy.
This video shows Google Home Max in action:
You can play songs from Spotify, YouTube Music, and Pandora on Max. With the purchase of Max, you get a free 12-month subscription to YouTube Music without ads.
You can also connect other devices using Bluetooth, Wi-Fi or an auxiliary cable.
Google Home Max costs $399 and is coming in December.
Google’s latest Chromebook is called Pixelbook and is a combination of a laptop and a tablet. The device is thin and light, weighing only 1 kg (2.2 lbs). It comes with a keyboard and touchscreen, and runs the Chrome OS operating system. You can surf the Internet and use Android apps from Google Play.
But the most interesting feature of Pixelbook maybe the hinge on its keyboard. You can fold it under the screen to use it as a tablet. You can open the keyboard like a laptop. The keyboard also folds back so you can prop up Pixelbook to watch videos.
Pixelbook comes with Google Assistant which you can summon with a button on the keyboard or by using your voice. You can type questions and commands to Google Assistant in addition to speaking them.
Here’s a fun video showing how to use Google Assistant on Pixelbook:
If you don’t have a Wi-Fi connection, Pixelbook will automatically connect to your Pixel phone with Instant Tethering to access the Internet.
=> Learn more about tethering at: Need Internet? How to Turn Your Phone into a Wi-Fi Hotspot
The battery life is 10 hours and, according to Google you can get two hours of charge in 15 minutes.
Pixelbook has up to 16GB of memory and hard drive with up to 512GB so you can download files such as Netflix movies to watch when you’re away from the Internet.
Don’t miss => Netflix Now Allows You to Download Videos
Pixelbook can be pre-ordered now and will be available on October 31. Prices begin at $999.
Google has developed a pen to work with the Pixelbook, the Pixel Pen. Using the pen you can write and draw on the touchscreen.
But the pen also acts as a way to summon Google Assistant. Draw a circle around something on the screen with the Pixel Pen and Google Assistant will give you more information what’s in the circle.
Here’s how to use the Pixelbook Pen:
The Pixel Pen is available to order with the Pixelbook for $99.
Google announced a new model of its Pixel phone, the Pixel 2. This phone is available with a 5 inch screen for the Pixel 2 or a 6 inch screen for the Pixel 2 XL. Both models have the same features, cameras and hardware.
The screen wraps around the sides of the phone and is framed by front-facing stereo speakers. The display is designed so you can see it even while you’re wearing sunglasses.
The Pixel 2 has an Always On screen to show you the time, notifications and other important information, even when the phone is locked.
Both phones are water and dust resistant. You can add seven hours to the battery life in just 15 minutes of charging.
Like the recent iPhones, the Pixel 2 has no headphone jack.
The Pixel 2 has a unique way of connecting to Google Assistant — you squeeze the sides of the phone. This squeeze feature even works when you have a case on the phone.
Your squeeze brings up Google Assistant so you can ask questions or command it to do something, such as use Broadcast to have Google Home make an announcement at your house. Or take a selfie. Or get your flight status. Or play a song…
Augmented Reality Stickers
One of the coolest uses for the Pixel 2 is augmented reality stickers. With these stickers, you can insert characters into your world that are animated and will interact with each other.
Pixel 2 includes augmented reality stickers from Saturday Night Live, NBA, Star Wars, and Stranger Things.
Pixel also is the first device with the Google Lens search function. Use Google Lens to find out more information about a picture on your phone, an image on a website or an object that’s in front of you.
You can also use it to ask Google Assistant to find you a pillow in a certain fabric, learn more about artwork, read book and movie reviews, get directions and more.
=> Learn more about Google Lens at Google and Pinterest Offer New Image Search Options.
This video shows how Google Lens works on the Pixel 2:
The camera on the Pixel 2 got the highest rating ever from DXOMark, a record 98, beating the previous record of 89 for the first Pixel phone. As with the first Pixel, Google Photos is giving Pixel 2 owners unlimited photo and video storage at full resolution.
In addition to taking photos, the Pixel has fun features such as portrait mode and a blurred background effect. In case you’re thinking the iPhone already introduced these features, Google lets you know that the Pixel 2 does these neat tricks with one camera, instead of the dual cameras of the iPhone Plus models. And these features work both on the front and rear cameras on the Pixel 2.
In the event that these features are enough to sway you away from the iPhone, Google is including a transfer cable that will move your apps, photos and even iMessages over from your iPhone to the Pixel 2 in under 10 minutes.
The Pixel 2 is available for pre-order now with prices of $649 for the Pixel 2 and $849 for the Pixel 2 XL. Included with the Pixel 2 in some countries is a free Google Home Mini.
In the U.S., Verizon is the exclusive wireless partner for the Pixel 2 and includes the Google Home Mini when you purchase a Pixel 2. More information about Verizon and Pixel 2 can be found at the Verizon news article about Pixel 2. Verizon customers can order a Pixel 2 directly from Verizon.
Although Google took the headphone jack away from the Pixel 2, it introduced a very cool new product – Pixel Buds. These Bluetooth earbuds are controlled by tapping and swiping the right earbud.
They come with Google Assistant built in so you can use the headphones to control your smart home devices, send Broadcasts to Google Home, and more.
But the most amazing thing about Pixel Buds was demonstrated at the presentation yesterday – real-time language translation. Pixel Buds will translate other languages into your native language so when someone is speaking a different language you will hear the translation in real time through Pixel Buds.
You can respond back and they can hear your words translated into their native tongue. The demonstration was from Swedish to English, then English to Swedish.
Pixel Buds cost $159 and are available for pre-order today.
Google Clips is a mini camera that you can attach to objects to capture important moments in your life. With your permission, Clips can learn the faces of people (and pets) important to you and snap short video images of them when it thinks they’re doing something interesting.
The idea behind Clips is to take candid shots of your daily life. There’s an indicator light to show when it’s on and images stay in the Clips app on your phone until you decide to share them. No sound is included in the videos.
Google Photos can combine the images from Clips into videos.
This video shows how Clips works:
Clips is coming soon and will cost $249.
Are you excited by the new products from Google? Which of the new skills of Google Assistant do you think would be the most useful? Do you like the idea of real-time language translation?
Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!