On Tuesday Google announced a plethora of new gadgets set to shape the way we interact with technology in our day to day lives. Now more than ever it is plain to see that we are going to get more integrated with technology in the next few years than most (maybe bar sci-fi writers) could have ever imagined.
Tech companies have exciting announcements all the time, and I have not blogged about them before; but this time it’s different for a few reasons.
Firstly Google have announced Pixel. It looks like an iPhone and is priced like one, but runs Android with some big changes. Google have tinkered with Android 7.1 to the point that it is decidedly a Google smartphone, not simply competing with all of the other Android manufacturers in the market. If, like me, you’re a an intensive user of Google in your day to day life this will sound very exciting to you (I use the Calendar, Drive, Maps, Docs, Google Now cards, Keep and Chrome daily). The Google Assistant will be there to help you with any queries and tasks you ask of it. It is more aware of what’s happening on your device and can even tap into third party apps like Whatsapp. Even though Pixel will run Android it will have a new launcher as standard (a similar launcher can be installed for Android users from the app store). That means a new intuitive home screen, new app organisation tools and a Google focused theme throughout, all meant to differentiate it from the competition.
Google are also launching Daydream. Daydream is a piece of kit that will turn your phone into a virtual reality headset (VR) and enable VR gaming and media (Netflix, Hulu etc) to be consumed. This seems to me to be most comfortable way of trying out VR yet. I love the idea of watching Strangers Things Season 2 in virtual reality!
Lastly, Google have announced ‘Google Home’. Google Home is in the opposite corner of the ring to Amazon Echo in the home invasion that’s set to happen imminently. These little boxes will soon be the next stage of our integration with technology. Analysts say Amazon have sold 3 million Echo units, but that’s a small number compared to what’s going to happen soon. Internet of Things (IoT) integrated home systems like thermostats, lights and smoke alarms are being paired with both devices, so your home can be nearly entirely controlled by your voice. Both companies are also working with the service industry so that the assistants can call you cabs, order you takeout and while they can’t massage your feet at the end of a long day; they’ll find a masseuse for you who will. On this front Google Home promises to be more connected to a Google users personal accounts (Gmail and the like). It will tell you the expected commute time to work in the morning, what time your flight will be leaving , all in all drawing on the wealth of knowledge Google has been gathering about you for years now. The always on systems will probably be constantly sending data to the parent companies. I hope nothing untoward like annoying targeted adverting will be included in the fine print. Rumour has it that Apple is working on their own Siri powered speakers, so now is the time to think about whether or not a device like this is something you want in your home.
I guess they really have been doing the right thing, and haven’t been evil at all.