Following Google’s eagerly anticipated Pixel conference in San Francisco last month, Google Pixel and Google Home have gone on sale in the last few days. As expected, most devices are already low on stock or sold out, so this is a good opportunity to review the devices that Google presented and explore their uses for the enterprise environment.
Traditionally, successful enterprise solutions have gradually penetrated the home market. A classic example is the PC’s journey from new partner of the office worker in the late 1970’s to becoming a personal acquisition in the 90’s. However, with today’s consumer industry becoming ever more competitive, could it now be the other way round – could innovations for the home eventually move into a business environment? Here, we will explore the use of Google’s latest array of home inventions for the enterprise market.
Google’s Pixel event was opened by CEO Sundar Pichai, who provided an overview of the company’s advances in AI and emphasised the fact that we are heading into an AI first world, where AI-enabled devices will be omnipresent throughout a user’s daily life. Google’s goal is to lead this shift by continually improving Google Assistant and building a ‘personal Google’ for every user.
Pichai also revealed that over the last few months, Google has invested heavily in its machine learning capabilities, meaning that it now offers improved image recognition, speech synthesis and (probably most importantly for business use) a more accurate, human-like translation service.
Among the products that Google presented, the Pixel and Pixel XL phones were the most eagerly anticipated. Pixel is the first phone with Google Assistant built in and runs on Nougat, the latest version of Android. Naturally, the company’s new Allo chat app comes pre-installed. It boasts enhanced camera abilities that even stabilise the video that your employees might take at company presentations. Further noteworthy features include Google cloud, which means the phone never runs out of storage (perfect for holding on to your company’s most important files), enhanced battery life and of Google VR abilities.
Daydream View is Google’s fabric-lined VR viewer that’s available in three colours, helping to turn your phone into a virtual reality discovery world. It comes with its own remote and fits over your reading glasses too. Enterprises who open themselves up to the functionalities of Daydream View could, for example, visualise architectural projects or provide an almost real-life experience of what a holiday might be like before the customer actually books with them.
Merging the opportunity for playful interactions with the usefulness of Google Assistant, Google Home is the Assistant that uses far-field voice control to detect when somebody is speaking. It can answer questions, play music and control smartphone devices, all via voice control and is intended to connect with smart home products. Should a user wish for Google not to be listening in, the device can simply be switched off. Among other smart uses, having Google Home in any environment could soon eliminate the need for to-do lists and reminders, such as switching on the office dishwasher before leaving at 6pm or ordering lunch for the team event every Friday. To enable businesses to participate actively in the conversation with Google assistants, Google introduced its new open source platform, Actions on Google. It is here where businesses will need to get involved to ensure they are able to provide the Google user with the best possible experience for their brand or service through Google Assistant. The Actions on Google platform will be accessible for businesses and developers at the beginning of December.
Those who have previously purchased Google Chromecast were also pleased to see Google launch the upgraded Google Chromecast Ultra device which is 1.8 times faster than its predecessor, meaning that videos can be streamed from mobile to TV at lightning speed. Moreover, it will have an Ethernet connector, meaning that other devices can be connected if necessary.
Last but not least, Google pushes further into the home market by providing the technological upgrade desired for the customer who has multiple devices in the home requiring a fast and reliable Wifi signal. Google Wifi is a small, puck-shaped router that can be distributed in multiples around the house. It provides optimal Wifi signal to each resident as they move around, thanks to intelligent technology which seamlessly switches routers. The companion app also shows what devices are connected to the network and they can be controlled from there. This technology again offers increased potential for enterprise adoption and will hopefully soon eliminate the need for employees to connect to different wireless networks when they move around in a building.
In the last couple of years, the focus of the big tech giants has been to grow their presence within the mobile market which promoted rapid innovation across camera functionality and cloud storage, to name a few areas. What Google’s Pixel event shows is that while mobile hardware is still a priority, the focus is now shifting to create immersive, seamless experiences across devices, whether a user is at work, at home, or on the go. It is therefore only a matter of time before Google embraces the internet of things (IoT) further afield to create a Google-led macrocosm. Most importantly, as more devices are introduced, the communication between these will rely heavily on the resources and capabilities of Google Assistant, the intelligent information hub tailored to every user. For businesses, it is therefore vital that they provide the necessary information for optimal use, via Google Actions and other relevant platforms.