Google had been hinting about the Pixel 4 for quite a while. But they wouldn’t admit they were releasing it on Tuesday, October 15 at an event they chose to call simply “Come see a few new things #MadeByGoogle.”
But you didn’t fool us Google, we knew the Pixel 4 was coming.
But what I didn’t know was the slew of beautiful products also being introduced on Tuesday. Or that famed photographer Annie Leibovitz had been traveling across country photographing people to feature using the Pixel 4. Two of the people featured by Annie are familiar to Indian Country, Winona LaDuke and Xiuthezcatl Martinez, so stay tuned for a feature coming in Indian Country Today.
In true Google fashion, the Livestream was gorgeous, and the event was opened by Rick Osterloh, Senior VP of Devices and Services, who talked about how Google was working to “solve the problems in our lives,” and that Google had ramped up its efforts in the realm of renewable energies.
Made by Google '19 Livestream
“As a company, we have been focused on sustainability for a long time, Google operations have been carbon neutral since 2007. And for the past two years, we have matched all of Google’s energy consumption with 100 percent renewable energy,” said Osterloh.
“Today we are announcing that Google committing to invest another $150 million dollars in renewable energy projects in key manufacturing regions.”
Osterloh said the energy used to manufacture Google products would be completely replaced by renewable energy.
In addition to renewable energy, other speakers came to introduce the ‘responsible design’ of Google products to include the new Google Nest mini speakers which are covered by 100% recycled plastic bottles.
And then they began to introduce the products.
I feel that Google failed to tap into the hype they created just a bit. I really would have liked a bit more razzamatazz, to include exciting countdowns, intro music or something similar when they unveiled the products, I feel it could have added a bit more to the excitement.
So here are some of the #MadeByGoogle products in no particular order.
The Pixel 4
Google worked hard on the new Pixel 4. But they didn’t say anything about the headphone jack they reintroduced onto the Pixel 3a, the now missing fingerprint sensor or connectivity to 5G. I fear the worst on all three.
In lieu of the sensor, Google has introduced Face unlock, where it recognizes your face to unlock, but will it recognize my face in the middle of the night in a dark room if I am checking a text message? We shall see.
But that said, they did do extensive work according to all involved in the camera, microphone, and recording features, face recognition security and touchless navigation in which you can simply wave your hand over the device to switch to the next song.
They even spoke of algorithms in place to show that the phone will recognize the difference between moving your hands while talking or other random movements and a direct swipe above the device.
The most impressive thing to me about the Pixel 4 - now mind you I am a journalist and this is obviously a big priority for me, is the beauty of the camera and amazing abilities demonstrated by the microphone and recording software in the device.
The microphone and related software on the Pixel 4 is magic. The software does record while live transcribing the conversation. If your interview contains the word sweet potato, you can search for when you mentioned it in the conversation, even how many times you said it.
Without going into the technicalities that were described by developer and photographer Marc Levoy at the event, the abilities shown by the Pixel 4 are near-miraculous in which the camera has the capabilities once only obtained by the most professional-grade cameras.
Levoy’s presentation at Google starts at about 47 minutes, I recommend watching if you are a camera fanatic like me.
Google Minis / Nest Hub
The Google Mini is the Google voice assistant that sits on an end table and sits ready to tell you the latest weather, play music and cite the recipe for your favorite pasta dish. Google spoke of improvements to the speakers, listening to your voice when other noises are in the room and improved overall performance.
The Nest Hub is similar conceptually except the hub adds video into the mix, with a tablet-like setup as opposed to a small button-shaped unit. I am not much of a hub-type user, but maybe that will change in the future.
Google really worked hard in creating a beautiful wireless wifi router that admittedly performs best sitting out in the open. As most wireless wifi systems look like a big plastic box covered with wires and antennas - Google worked to create something aesthetically pleasing.
They didn’t speak much about the wifi speeds, so I am reserving further judgment to see if the Nest can handle my fast Cox Countour Gigalblast wifi speeds. If they do, I would readily make the switch. But in all honesty, I would forsake aesthetics for speed.
They didn’t say much about the specs of the new Google laptop, but they did talk about improved battery life, lighter metals, and portability. I like the idea of cloud-based in terms of the Chromebook, but I also like to keep some of my files on my personal machine. The Pixelbook looks awesome, but I don’t know many of the details yet.
It does have the Chrome operating system, a 13.3 touch display and minimizing ‘hush keys’ for quiet typing. It comes in “just black” and “not pink” which is pink.
The Pixel Buds — ergonomically-designed earbuds that likely provide beautiful sound designed the most scientifically advanced folks at Google audio labs — are already waitlist only.
The Pixel buds were designed with supreme comfort in mind and Google has scanned thousands of ears to create a customizable, secure fit, with an ambient vent to keep connected to the outside world. The buds have touch control where you need only tap to play or pause and the fit is based on a three-point anchoring system.
Google revealed painfully little information about Stadia, the online gaming platform with a beautiful gaming paddle. Though Google revealed little, my research turned up a bit more. Stadia is a complete online (I assume cloud-based) gaming platform that will require no downloads, no updates, and no over clogged laptops or PC’s filled with huge gaming files.
They are offering the latest titles to include DOOM, Cyberpunk, Borderlands and more - for more details, watch the video.
Follow the #NativeNerd, Vincent Schilling, associate editor for Indian Country Today
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