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Tuesday, October 04, 2016

Google Assistant and Integrated Device Announcement

Notes on Today's Google Pixel Phone and related announcements.  In particular I am interested in how these will work in conjunction with Google's AI developments, and provide assistance to both consumers and the enterprise.

Their new Pixel Phone was announced, a stylish and expensive competitor to the iPhone.  Advanced camera was featured.

Then most notable,  their phone integrated Google Assistant, a system that is meant to combine  search and the Google Knowledge Graph to provide intelligent AI style assistance to the user.

The improvements in  Google Translate could also be integrated directly into conversations or interactions by the assistant.  But was unclear if you could vocally ask questions in languages other than English.

And notably, the Google Home, a stationary device like the Amazon Echo that is meant to act as part of a network of such devices in the home which will answer questions, play music and control other home devices.

The Google Home will synchronize with other Google Home devices in a house.  The Echo will not.   Higher quality sound is claimed.  No mention of connection to other speakers via Bluetooth.   Both the Pixel phone and Google Home are order-able now.

All of leads to how well Google will be able to update the underlying systems like the assistant from their machine learning and Knowledge Graph Updates.  Gathering this kind of information to improve the assistant does have privacy implications.  Remember Google leverages information to sell.

The demonstration of the Google Home device, and its integrated Google Assistant was impressive.   Somewhat complex questions could be asked, and direct questions that lead to some result, like: Play this song.   Interactions that started focused and then become conversations are an alternative.   How much memory or learning is included in conversations is unclear.

Would need to test directly to explore the complexity that could be covered.   It was also implied that the system could 'learn' information about individuals, or the family.  How it identified who this  personalization was with, is unclear.

Indications that considerable partnerships and significant developer interactions were starting. Breadth of such 'skill' developments were unclear beyond entertainment.

Also the Daydream Virtual reality headset was announced.  A relatively inexpensive headset that can be used with the Pixel Phone (and in the future others ).   Pointers to simple capabilities, like just emulating a large screen were mentioned.  And beyond that,  its use with developed  3D VR content. Indications of linkage to the Assistant as well.

Overall impressive.  Google is not known as a hardware developer, so that should be considered.

The Verge further outlines the presentation with other devices, costs and specifics.

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