Google announces Google Pixel Watch
In the fall, Google will not only come with the new Google Pixel 7 smartphone, but also with the Google Pixel Watch. It’s the first time Google itself has offered a smartwatch, which doesn’t quite coincidentally have deep integrations with Fitbit. Google announced many different apps today during its I/O presentation. This developer conference usually revolves around software, but this time – after a long wait – there was plenty of room for hardware as well.
The biggest announcement tonight is the Pixel Watch. Google’s new smartwatch had leaked all over the place before, but now it’s official. It’s the first watch made inside and out by Google, and it’s due out in the fall with the Pixel 7. Expect deep integration with Fitbit (which was acquired by Google some time ago). a few years ago), offering a variety of fitness features, heart rate tracking, and much more, sleep modes.
The Pixel 7 will also arrive in the fall and Google decided – before the leaks started – to show an image of the new devices. The smartphone is equipped with the new Tensor chip (so not that of the Pixel 6, but a Tensor chip yet to be announced) and it runs Android 13. The design is a bit similar to that of its predecessor, but this time the aluminum stripe camera. There are three rear cameras on the Pixel 7 Pro and 2 on the Pixel 7, so it’s like the Series 6.
The Pixel 6 is the best-selling Pixel phone of all time: its sales have already surpassed those of the Pixel 4 and 5 combined. Google now offers the Pixel 6a, a device that costs $449 (converted $426). The look is the same as the Pixel 6, as is the processor. The fingerprint reader is not on the back, but under the screen and the device is slightly smaller than the standard Pixel 6: it has a 6.1-inch OLED display (with a low 60Hz refresh rate).
The cameras are different: there’s a 12-megapixel main camera with optical image stabilization and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens with an 8-megapixel selfie camera. The battery is also a little smaller: 4,400 mAh. However, Google promises that it will last all day. The device will be released on July 28 and you can pre-order it from July 21, but only in the United States and Japan.
Pixel Buds Pro
Google also announced Pixel Buds Pro, new noise-canceling headphones. They cost 189 euros converted and they have an IPX4 rating, which means they can withstand a splash of water. It contains a sensor that checks the fit of the earplugs in your ear canal, so they can be placed as comfortably as possible. There is a 6-core processor inside and you can connect them to multiple devices at the same time via Bluetooth. The headphones can last 7 hours on a single charge with active noise cancellation, while it is 11 hours without noise cancellation. Of course, Google Assistant is also present on the headphones. They will be released on July 28 and can be pre-ordered a week before.
Google also announced something that won’t arrive until 2023, namely a Pixel tablet. Tablets have come a long way in recent years, after being declared a bit dead. Google said little about it in its presentation, only that it should become the most useful tablet in the world and that it will contain a Tensor chip, but which exactly is still unknown.
Google adds 24 languages to Google Translate, including the first language of the first inhabitants of America, but also Quechua, the language of a people living in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.
Maps are vastly improved in Africa, where 300 million buildings have now been recorded. That’s five times more than before, and Google can do that by using artificial intelligence and satellites to see which buildings are new. This was also done in India, so twice as many buildings have now been recorded here. If you want to look inside a building, you can do it in restaurants for example: there is a kind of bird’s eye view composed of photos.
Google Maps will have the ability to drive greener, which immediately has the benefit of costing you less fuel. This option was already available in the United States, but is also coming to Europe later this year.
YouTube is getting better at what’s going on in a video. For example, you can have a video automatically cut into chapters by DeepMind’s artificial intelligence. Speech recognition automatically creates video transcripts for all iOS and Android users. Google is also expanding its automatically translated “subtitles”.
Google Docs is getting a feature that gives long text a sort of TLDR. It stands for Too Long Didn’t Read and you sometimes see it on the internet with long articles. Then the author of the article does it, but in Google Docs you automatically get a “Too long, didn’t read” summary. You can also give it a thumbs up to indicate that you like it (or not).
Google Meet is improving in terms of brightness and skin tone. For example, you can use artificial intelligence to better illuminate you by moving a circle on the screen.
Google search engine
In the West, we don’t seem to be very enthusiastic about it yet, but in the Google search engine, about 30% of searches in India are entered via voice commands (in Hindi). The search engine would be improved for people who like to enter facts about, for example, a certain movie, making it easier to find a movie you know some details about but don’t know what it’s called anymore. You usually get there with Google, but now it will do even more to get you the right answer. Google Lens, part of Google’s search engine, is used 8 billion times per month.
Additionally, Multisearch can now be found in the search engine. You can take a photo and ask a question in the Google app. So for example a picture of a white dog with black dots. “What kind of dog is it?” and google will tell you it’s a dalmatian. You can also, for example, search for a certain sweater in a different color. Or you take a picture of your empty bike tire and ask “How can I fix this problem?” and Google will help you find the answer.
Lens also makes it possible, for example, to scan a shelf with products in the supermarket, after which you can see, for example, the properties of a certain product via augmented reality. It’s called Scene Exploration and it’s definitely something to keep in mind: it’s kind of like a control-F for the real world, because if you want to search for something, you can find it faster.
Another important point: Google’s search engine will work via the Monk scale, which was developed by Harvard professor Dr. Ellis Monk. This allows you to choose the skin color you want to see when looking for a photo of certain makeups on a person, for example. After all, orange eyeshadow looks very different on white skin than it does on black skin. There are ten skin tones to choose from. As an extension of this, Google Photos is adding “Real Tone” as a filter to apply specifically to a certain skin tone.
Now you can talk to the Google Assistant without saying “Hey Google!” need to call. If you want to talk to Google’s smart assistant through the Nest Hub Max, just look at your Nest Hub Max, a little bell will appear in the top left corner and you know you’ve been seen, after which you simply ask a question. To do this, six machine learning models are in place that process up to 100 signals to know if you are looking at the camera. Of course, all of this means that this device is constantly watching you and that’s something you can ask privacy questions about. The assistant is also getting smarter. For example, if you want to hear a song from Florence + the machine, you can say: “Play some music from Florence and…” and Google Assistant will fill in that it must be “the machine” and will start playing.
Security and privacy
Google announces that it will invest $5 billion in security over the next five years. Additionally, it says Gmail stops more than 15 million spam and phishing messages every day, while Google Play scans 125 billion apps. Additional phishing protection is also coming to Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides. Also, Chrome and Android get virtual credit cards, so you can pay with a virtual credit card number, which should prevent fraud. Visa, MasterCard and Amex, among others, will launch virtual cards this summer.
Additionally, Google announced that it would offer a more comprehensive menu allowing users to take control of the ads they see. This way, you will soon be able to choose which categories and brands you want to see ads for or not. Thanks to a new tool, you can also more easily have search results with your personal information deleted by Google. For example, think about websites that list your phone number or address, to protect your privacy.
A new Google Wallet has also been announced, where you can hold your phone against an ATM to pay via Google Pay. However, you can also store boarding passes, cards for Disneyland, and other cards here, as we know from the Apple Wallet. For Americans, driver’s licenses can even be placed in this Google Wallet.
Clearly there’s enough to come for Google fans, but the question is whether anything of this gear will be available in the Netherlands. As a Dutchman, you should also get the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro in Germany or France. The Pixel 6a is not even available in these countries. We will have to wait until the fall to find out more about the Pixel 7 and the Pixel Watch.
When she’s not typing, she’s traveling to the wonderful world of entertainment or somewhere cool in the real world. Mario is the man of her life…
“Bacon trailblazer. Certified coffee maven. Zombie lover. Tv specialist. Freelance communicator.”