Google’s new smartphones are about Google, not Android

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Google unveiled a variety of new units in the present day, however on the core of almost every thing was a dedication to Assistant particularly, and to displaying of what Google’s vary of service choices can do. I sat down with Google Canada’s Head of Public Affairs Aaron Brindle after the satellite tv for pc keynote occasion right here in Toronto to debate what hardware means for Google now, and the way its work in synthetic intelligence and machine studying matches in with the device aspect of the equation.

“One of the crucial necessary messages of immediately is that Google is taking hardware very critically,” Brindle stated. “What we’ve seen with the Android ecosystem is that the tempo of innovation there's superb – there are now 1.4 billion every day customers on Android. Nevertheless, that is not about bringing the best of Android to our customers – it’s about bringing the best of Google to our customers. In order that’s taking in all the investments and analysis that we’re doing round AI and ML, and packaging it front to again in hardware.”

Brindle says that whereas there’s loads of nice work being completed by Android OEM companions, Google nonetheless sees locations the place it may possibly complement the choices out there to shoppers. He additionally steered that Google is taking a look at extra than simply the hardware and software aspect of being a device firm – they acknowledge the significance of the gross sales and advertising expertise on that aspect of the enterprise, too.

“The truth is that one measurement doesn’t match all within the Android area, and we acknowledge that there's a huge alternative to create one thing from nuts to bolts,” he stated. “Not solely within the software and the hardware, however within the advertising, within the help, within the retail piece, and we felt there was one thing lacking there.”

Whether or not meaning we’ll see full brick-and-mortar retail stays to be seen, however already Google is rethinking its net-based mostly device gross sales with new instalment plan cost choices for units it sells immediately by way of the Google Retailer online for over $one hundred fifty within the U.S.


The retail expertise is a part of Google’s new strategy to hardware.

As for a way Assistant performs in, and the place it will get its spectacular smarts, Brindle says it’s core to the Pixel units, and has been made potential because of very current enhancements within the functionality of Google’s AI.

“You heard the Assistant come up all through this piece, and it's central, it's the marquee piece within the new phone,” he defined. “That's based mostly on advances in AI – I imply large advances, not simply up to now yr because the final Nexus phone, I imply up to now a number of months. Advances in translation, and image recognition, for instance.”

Brindle says that Google’s operation in Canada is definitely a core a part of these efforts, given the nation’s analysis management within the area.

“All of that analysis comes from the work that we’re doing in AI, and a number of the best researchers in AI are based mostly right here in Canada,” he stated. “So [Google Distinguished Researcher] Geoffrey Hinton’s work on machine studying, notably the mixing of his work on neural nets and the way that has formed our AI advances, it’s all in there.”

Google’s strategy is about extra than simply proudly owning the phone expertise finish-to-finish – it’s about crafting a complete strategy to delivering the subsequent era of its platform, which might be based mostly round AI and ML and can look to units just like the Pixel and Pixel XL as completely suited supply automobiles. It’s not fairly a pivot, however that is undoubtedly alerts a sea change in Google’s strategy to its personal id and enterprise.

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