And all three make smart speakers, each one powered by the brand's own voice assistant (Alexa, Siri, and Assistant, respectively). And each brand's hardware products are built to work in tandem with each other -- and not work as well with similar products with other brands. That's what we call a product ecosystem. #MadeByGoogle pic.twitter.com/COtO99DUyB — Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) October 9, 2018 3 New Products Announced at Made By Google The Google Home Hub, its video-equipped smart speaker, which seemed to dominate a good chunk of time at the event. But the Hub is also equipped to control other Google-owned or branded devices, including those that are made specifically for the Home (such as Nest, a company owned by Google that makes "smart" devices like thermostats and security cameras). A search for how to do something could yield an instructional video result from YouTube (also owned by Google), which can be immediately played on the Hub, the Assistant app, or on Google phones that come equipped with Assistant (similar to how iPhones are equipped with Siri, Apple's voice assistant). Even the Pixel 3 plays a part here. Not only is Assistant built into it, it automatically equipped with assistant, but its camera will come equipped with Lens: Google's artificial-intelligence (AI)-powered image recognition technology that allows the camera to recognize objects and text. Putting the User First What Google will tell you about the connected nature of these products is that they're all designed with one thing in mind: making life easier for the user. Many of Google's historical search algorithm updates, for example, have been made with the purpose of making search results more relevant to the user.
If Google were a person, it would be standing at the front door of your home, asking, “Can I come in?”
In a way, that was one of the chief takeaways from today’s Made by Google event: an annual product unveiling hosted by Google where it formally announces the launch of its new hardware, like mobile devices and smart speakers.
In previous years, all eyes have been on the Google Pixel: the company’s own smartphone that, when first launched, was seen by many as its answer to Apple’s iPhone.
But seeing as the weeks leading up to the event were plagued by a cascade of product leaks regarding the Pixel 3 (of which Google tried to make light with an opening video montage of leaked video), putting the spotlight on this one product would have been anti-climactic, to say the least.
And while the event didn’t stray from the Pixel 3 entirely, any talk of it was part of a broader focus shift — to how to Google-fy your home, and your life.
Here’s how to do just that — and the three biggest takeaways from this year’s Made by Google event.
The Rise of the Ecosystem
Let’s have a look at three of the biggest companies within the tech sector: Amazon, Apple, and Google.
All three of these companies started out known for one, core product or service: buying books online, computers, and a search engine. But now, they’re all known for so much more — many of them within the same product category.
All three make tablets. All three make smart TVs, or accessories to support them. And all three make smart speakers, each one powered by the brand’s own voice assistant (Alexa, Siri, and Assistant, respectively). And each brand’s hardware products are built to work in tandem with each other — and not work as well with similar products with other brands.
That’s what we call a product ecosystem.
Google Hub works with Nest, which Google owns. Amazon’s Echo Show works with Ring, which Amazon owns. Battle between Google and Amazon is more than just for hardware, it’s for the whole platform in your home. #MadeByGoogle pic.twitter.com/COtO99DUyB
— Eli Blumenthal (@eliblumenthal) October 9, 2018
3 New Products Announced at Made By Google
- The Google Home Hub, its video-equipped smart speaker, which seemed to dominate a good chunk of time at the event.
- The Pixel Slate, its tablet.
- The Pixel 3.
The Google Home Hub is arguably at the center of the company’s product ecosystem. It’s powered by Google Assistant, and allows users to both see and hear responses to queries (ranging from “What’s the weather?” to “What’s a recipe for banana bread?”).
But the Hub is also equipped to control other Google-owned or branded devices, including those that are made specifically for the Home (such as Nest, a company owned by Google that makes “smart” devices like thermostats and security cameras).
Owners of these Google-made devices have always been able to control them through Assistant. But depending on what they’re using to prompt Assistant, it may have been a fragmented experience. For instance, if you don’t own a Google Home smart speaker or a Google phone, you’d have to open a separate app to use Assistant.
One of the goals of the Hub, it seems, is to make that process more seamless, and create a single hardware destination where users can control every device in their home, and get information in an audio-visual way. They can play music on…