Google conference showcases new hardware, software

My latest Techspotting segment for KITV where Maleko McDonnell and I discuss the Google I/O developers conference. Ostensibly focused on software, the Mountain View tech giant also announced new hardware at its annual keynote, including the Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL and the Nest Hub Max. They also previewed Android Q, with dark mode and live video captioning.

Q: At Google’s annual developers’ conference, “Google I/O,” what new hardware was announced?

For the smart home, they’ve rebranded everything under the name ‘Google Nest,’ and the Nest Hub MAX is a $299 tabletop device to show videos, play music, and manage lights and home security. They also released a more affordable smartphone, the Pixel 3A and 3A XL, starting at $399.

Q: They also announced lots of updates to the Android operating system, the most used smartphone software out there, right?

A: Yes! For people who like “dark mode” on their devices, where everything is light on dark, Android Q will support it everywhere. Like Apple, they are adding features to reduce smartphone addiction, and “Focus Mode” lets you allow only certain apps at certain times of the day, for yourself or for your kids. Android Q will also add closed captioning instantly to any video you watch on your phone.

Q: What about their intelligent assistant?

A: Google is definitely running neck and neck with Amazon in its AI and ability to handle voice commands. Google Duplex is able to respond to your request for a restaurant reservation by actually calling the restaurant for you to make the request. It will now be able to do things on the web for you, like buy movie tickets or rent a car. And more commands can be chained together, so you don’t always have to keep saying “Hey, Google.” If an alarm goes off, you can just say, “Stop!”

Q: Any favorites of all the things they announced?

A: Google Lens is a camera app that can interpret things you point it at. You can point it at a restaurant menu, and it’ll recognize dishes, then pull up photos of that dish from the web. And when you’re traveling, you can point it at a sign you can’t read, and it’ll translate it for you.

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