During Google’s annual hardware event this morning, the company’s newest products weren’t the only focus for the company. As various executives walked the stage, they each reiterated the same key point: The tech giant thinks it’s taking consumer privacy more seriously than any other company out there.
Not that Google is free from its own data and privacy issues. Just one day before the event, the company shut down Google Plus after a security glitch revealed user data. However, that news didn’t leave much of a mark during the announcement of the new Pixel 3, Pixel 3 XL, Pixel Slate, Pixel Stand and Google Home Hub.
“Our guiding principle here is exactly the same as it’s been for 20 years: to respect our users and put them first,” said Google’s Rick Osterloh, svp, hardware during the keynote.
According to Osterloh, that means expanding Google Assistant’s capabilities so it’s personalized to each user; putting the company’s Titan Security, originally built for Google’s data centers, into each device; and adding new tools like setting app limits to protect a user’s “digital wellbeing.”
All of these “principles” were wrapped into the company’s first device announcement, the Google Home Hub. Unlike Amazon’s Echo Show, Echo Spot, or even Facebook’s new video chat device dubbed Portal, the smart home hub from Google has no camera, allowing consumers to feel comfortable placing it in more private parts of their homes, said Diya Jolly, vp, product management, Google Nest and Home hardware.
This new product fits in with Google’s marketing strategy this year, as the company’s held numerous activations showcasing the Google Assistant and Google Home devices to gain marketshare against Amazon. And according to a report from research company Canalys, Google shipped out more Home products than Amazon Echo devices for yet another quarter, showing that the company’s methods are working.
Google will open up two different pop-ups in New York and Chicago so people can try out the newest products. The products will also be available in five b8ta stores in the U.S. and in Goop stores and pop-up shops.
The Google Home Hub is the company’s answer to control smart devices in any household and provide a digital screen to see the day at a glance. It works with more than 10,000 smart home devices from over 1,000 brands so that with a swipe, consumers can take a peek at all of their products and adjust lights, temperatures and other elements of their home. The seven-inch Google Smart Home Hub will retail for $149, with preorders beginning today and coming to Target, Walmart, Best Buy and other stores on Oct. 22. Anyone who buys the product will also get six months of YouTube Premium for free.
The company announced the Pixel Slate, a competitor to Apple and Microsoft’s tablet offerings. The $599 device comes with Chrome OS, which includes features like Google Assistant, marking yet another device complete with a digital assistant. The Pixel Slate also comes equipped with Titan Security and a fingerprint sensor to ensure only the owner of the device can unlock it. Of course, the tablet isn’t complete without other accessories which Google also announced, such as the Pixel Slate Keyboard ($199) and the Pixelbook Pen ($99) hitting stores sometime this year.
To close out the event, Google revealed the new Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL, the company’s newest flagship phones. Instead of drilling down on attributes like memory or battery life, Google focused on the company’s camera features, including “top shot,” which uses AI to take the best picture during a moving photo. The presenters also pointed out that Google Lens is now built into the camera, meaning users can do a variety of tasks like translating text or calling a number—all by simply pointing the camera at the text.
Google also announced the Pixel Stand, a $79 wireless charger that transforms the Pixel 3 into a mini Google Home Hub for showing off photos or allowing consumers to control their smart home devices. The Pixel 3 starts at $799 and the Pixel 3 XL at $899; both are available for preorder from Verizon, Project Fi or the Google Store (and come with six months of YouTube Music Premium for free). The phone is officially out on Oct. 18.
Summarizing the event, Osterloh once again went through how the Google Assistant, tighter security and “digital well-being” was a part of every new device, highlighting how the products “empower people to do more with their day so they have to less with their time and they can focus on what matters most.”