Google furthering AI ambitions with new hardware introductions

Following Google’s latest hardware announcements including the Pixel 4; Lynnette Luna, Principal Technology Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view:

“Within all of Google’s hardware announcements was a primary theme: Google Assistant makes devices better. This exploits a weakness with Apple’s Siri, which has never been very smart, and helps push Google’s goal of leading a technology community that is shifting from a mobile-first strategy to one characterized by Artificial Intelligence (AI) interactions regardless of the device.

“The new Google Assistant offers breakthroughs in speech processing, which means that more requests happen directly on the phone rather than going to the cloud. Moreover, the intelligence of Google Assistant is significantly more granular, meaning users can ask very detailed questions that Google Assistant understands.

“While Google’s hardware strategy has always been about furthering its AI ambitions, it has long failed to expand distribution of the Pixel smartphone. However, the company has improved both of those strategies this time around. The Pixel is selling through all major US carriers for the first time, and is even expanding distribution to smaller operators. This is a significant improvement as the Pixel line has been available through multiple carriers in other countries.

“Google Assistant is also a prominent feature in Google’s other hardware introductions. A dedicated machine learning chip in the Nest Mini allows the device to learn users’ most common commands and process them locally for a faster response time, while the new Pixel Buds offer hands-free Google Assistant.

“There is a race among many consumer electronics companies to leverage AI as a way to lock users into their respective ecosystems. Google is one of them as the idea is that AI experiences become the enabler of monetization via mechanisms that learn our wants and needs before we do and make useful suggestions and transactions on our behalf. We aren’t quite there yet, but we will continue to see a spate of hardware announcements from both Google and Amazon.

“The key for Google is to continually expand compelling hardware choices at competitive price points with broad distribution.”

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