Google unveils new smartphone, watch and tablet as part of a series of new products
Google has unveiled a vast array of hardware products in the latest sign of its continued commitment to go beyond its core advertising business and compete with companies like Apple.
At its first in-person developer conference in three years, Google announced three new smartphones, its first in-house smartwatch, and plans to release a new tablet next year.
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The tech giant also updated several of its most popular tools, including Maps, Google Translate, and its core search product.
Here are the main takeaways:
Google surprised fans of its smartphone lineup by teasing two new flagship devices: the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.
While the company has not shared many details, the two smartphones are expected to be released later this year.
Google also announced the Pixel 6a smartphone, a more affordable version of the Pixel 6 lineup released earlier this year.
The Pixel 6a is powered by Google’s internal Tensor chip and is available in three colors: green, white, and black.
It costs $449 ($A649.48) and will be available on July 21.
There isis no shortage of Android smartwatches on the market, but now Google plans to produce its new smartwatch for the first time.
The company teased the much-hyped Pixel Watch, which will run Google’s WearOS operating system and be compatible with services like the voice-activated Google Assistant, Google Maps, and Google Wallet.
Integration with Fitbit, which Google acquired in 2019, will add various activity tracking and fitness features.
The Pixel Watch will be available later this year along with the Pixel 7 lineup.
Google also teased a new Pixel tablet, which the company says will be released in 2023.
Google’s Pixel Watch was unveiled on Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press
Pixel Buds Pro
Google has also announced a new version of its Bluetooth earbuds, the Pixel Buds Pro.
The new earbuds are available in four colors – orange, green, white, and black – and offer active noise cancellation and spatial audio features.
The Pixel Buds Pro will cost $199 ($A287.85) and will be released on July 21.
Google shows the Pixel Buds Pro, wireless headphones. Credit: Associated Press
There were also several new software updates.
To visualize the space better, Google Maps users will soon get a realistic view of certain cities through a 3D rendering of popular landmarks, restaurants, and businesses.
While Maps already offers satellite and street view options, Google says the new immersive view feature combines the two to “create a rich, digital model” that makes users feel on the ground.
A sliding scale shows users what the area looks like at different times of the day, how busy it is, and what local traffic conditions are.
The immersive view will be available later this year in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo on all mobile devices running Google’s Android operating system.
The company plans to add more cities as it develops the feature.
Google unveiled a series of new products at a conference. File image. Credit: AP
For Google Translate, 24 languages are added to the translation tool.
It’s a move the company says is targeting languages of Africa and India in general and languages generally underserved by technology.
They include Quechua, which is spoken in the Andes, especially Peru; Lingala, a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Assamese, expressed in northeastern India; and Tigrinya, which is described in Ethiopia and Eritrea.
The company said the additional languages bring the total number the tool can translate to 133 and will be available to all Google Translate users within days.
Google is launching a new skin tone scale that it hopes will make its products more inclusive.
Many beauty and tech companies classify skin tones based on what is known as the Fitzpatrick scale.
Developed in the 1970s by a Harvard dermatologist, it is used to classify how different skin colors respond to UV light (and thereby predict the risk of sunburn and skin cancer).
Despite only featuring six skin tones, it has been used for years by tech companies to inform everything from emoji colors and how wearable heart rate monitors work on different skin tones to efforts to make AI fairer on Facebook.
The company said it would use the Monk skin tone scale, developed by Harvard professor Ellis Monk and includes ten shades.
For example, Google uses it to test how well AI models (such as models that can recognize faces in photos) work on people of different skin tones. The company also uses the scale in Google Images searches by letting people narrow down beauty-related images by skin color.
Google will also make the scale open source so others can use it.
Google is introducing virtual credit cards to protect users’ financial information while shopping online.
The feature generates a virtual card number that users can autofill in place of their actual card details on Android mobile devices or Google’s Chrome browser, masking their real credit card number from the businesses they shop at.
Virtual cards will be rolled out in a few months – initially only to users in the US with credit cards from Visa, American Express, and Capital One. Google says it will add support for Mastercard later this year.
Google’s virtual cards mask users’ credit card information while shopping online. Credit: CNN
Another new feature aims to give users more control over which results appear when someone searches for their name in Google.
Rolling out in a few months, the feature will make it easier for users to request that their personal information, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and home addresses, be removed from search results.
Google plans to let users customize what ads they see as they browse the web, with the ability to choose the brands and types of ads they do and don’t want to see.