Trusting Google’s Artificial Intelligence In Your Life

This week Google introduced a lot of new hardware to us.  In one two hour window we saw the likes of two new phones, the Google Pixel and Pixel XL, a new Wi-Fi solution, Google Wi-Fi, and a connected home device, Google Home.  With Google Home and the new Pixel phones, we also saw the scope of what Google plans with Google Assistant.  Google Assistant is an artificial intelligence driven tool designed to give you information, both general and personal, just a voice command away.

The question facing us, as humans, is how do we adapt in what is clearly a shift to an Artificial Intelligence world?  Google by their own admission have 70 billion data points in their knowledge graph.  That is anything from a point on a map to a restaurant that is tied into OpenTable to when you are traveling to London next.  It is a vast amount of information.  Equally, if there is one truth to artificial intelligence it is that it always wants (needs) more information.  The more information the better because it gets smarter, more personal and more accurate.

With so many companies driving AI, not just Google, the question isn’t a matter of if it will happen.  It is a question of how fast it will progress.  I dare say it will be neck-breaking fast.  What we see in Google Home and Google Assistant today will be far richer and more knowledgeable in just 12 months from now.  By 2018, AI will be so intertwined with our world that we will no longer think about it being there.

Perhaps the more accurate question then is if you trust Google’s AI?  I say yes.  If there is one company that truly understands the power of information and personal data, it is Google and while they will surely use that data for profit, they equally understand that any leak of that data would be catastrophic for the company.  They are the best equipped not only to provide the best AI experience but protect us and our data from those who want to dismiss it.

Pre-Orders Now Open for Google Home

Google has begun accepting pre-orders for the new Google Home device.  The smart speaker-meets-smart home device is aimed at being the center of the home with Google Assistant being a voice command away.

Aimed at competing with the Amazon Echo, Google Home brings the power of Google Artificial Intelligence to give you detailed information about your day, upcoming events, search information, travel information and the like.   And it is for everyone in the family.  Like Google OnHub and Google Wi-Fi, Home is aimed at sitting out in the open and doesn’t look like a piece of techno-kit sitting on a shelf.

Verizon’s Google Pixel Will Have A Locked Bootloader

For those Verizon customers who are looking to pick up the one of the new Google Pixel phones, be aware that the bootloader will be locked to the carrier.  To this point, Google has kept their Nexus devices with an unlocked bootloader.  For those who aren’t familiar with what a bootloader is exactly, it is the first thing that runs when you power up an Android phone.  It is the boot sequence of the device and the loading of the Operating System.  Carriers generally like these locked because the do not want someone loading a custom ROM on the device to bypass their software or other settings.

Motorola Outlines Devices To Get Android Nougat

Motorola has posted on their company blog a full list of devices that they plan to upgrade to Android Nougat.  The list is reasonably comprehensive although there are some notable devices missing, and should give those of you who have Motorola devices some hope for your phones.  The post states that the Moto Z and the 4th generation Moto G will be the first devices to see the update and that will happen in Q4 of this year.  As for the rest of the list, there isn’t a specific timeframe given.

Android Nougat 7.1 Change Log for Pixel and Non-Pixel Devices

After yesterday’s Google event, we know that the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL will be coming with Android Nougat 7.1.  Equally, we also know that some of the features of 7.1 will be exclusive to the Pixel lineup but for the Nexus devices and other devices, the water was left a bit murky.  Thanks to the team over at Android Police, we have a little clearer picture of what is exclusive and what is not to the Pixel lineup.  They have gotten hold of the 7.1 change long which details what is coming for each train.  For Pixel devices, the new Pixel Launcher and Google Assistant are exclusive to the Pixel lineup.  That is in line with what was expected and told to us yesterday at the event.  Customer support via the new chat/screen share function is also an exclusive as is an updated Smart Storage that backs up photos to Google Photos in full resolution to recover storage.  There are also improvements to the Pixel camera and the sensor software used in the Pixel devices.

Today’s Deal – Anker 5-Port USB Charger with Quick Charge 3.0 Support

Today’s Deal is on the Anker 5-Port USB Wall Charger.  This 63W unit has two ports that support Quick Charge 3.0 technology for rapid charging of compatible devices.  Today you can pick it up for $32.99, a saving of 63% off the regular $57 price.  Anker is one of the long time manufacture of accessories for Android and iOS and I never hesitate in recommending their products.  This particular accessory I have (albeit the Quick Charge 2.0 model from last year) and it is rock solid and used every day for the myriad of devices I have plugged into it at any given point in time.

Pixel Launcher Will Only Be Available on Pixel Phones – For Now

A few weeks ago I posted the Pixel Launcher which you could sideload to your current Nexus or other Android device.  For now, that may be the only way you can get onto your device.  The new launcher will be exclusive to the new Google Pixel and Pixel XL for now although according to Android Police, Google is considering bringing it to other phones.  The new launcher as you have likely seen by now, is a significant departure from the Google Now launcher with a slide up App Drawer and the Google “G” pill at the top to activate searching.  Personally I’m a big fan of the new look but as a Nexus 6P owner, I may be waiting a while.

Google Wi-Fi – Meet Death, OnHub

[Update] – The Google OnHub team has now sent out emails to OnHub users indicating that Google Wi-Fi will work with OnHub.  This is good news for sure as it means it isn’t a throw-away item but further development of OnHub itself is highly unlikely.

Today Google announced their newest home wireless network solution, Google Wi-Fi.  Designed to be a modular solution to cover any size home, Google Wi-Fi brings optimized networks to give you the best wireless experience in your home available.

Sound familiar?  It should because that is exactly what the company said Google OnHub would bring.  That product, after months of frustration for users by the lack of development by Google, appears to have gotten its death warrant today.

Last year, we introduced OnHub with partners TP-LINK and ASUS to create a better Wi-Fi experience, focusing on design and simplicity. Google Wifi, built on the strengths of OnHub, is our next step towards ensuring that our homes can have great Wi-Fi everywhere we need it.

This new Google Wi-Fi is built on what they learned from OnHub but as for OnHub itself, it is game over by all indications.

Google Announces Daydream VR Headset

Google today announced their new Daydream VR headset.  The $79 headset will be available in November and comes in three, soft fabric color options.  The headset is specifically designed to work with devices that have Google Daydream enabled such as the new Google Pixel lineup.  Google indicates that other Daydream enabled phones are on the way which will work with the headset.

Google designed the headset in software fabrics instead of hard plastics for a more comfortable fit.  They also designed it to work around eyeglasses to give more comfort.  The headset also comes with a controller that has a gyroscope built into it which allows you to point, click and interact within VR environments.

Google Announces Google Home

Today Google announced Google Home, their in-home device that gives you search and personal information by voice command.  Aimed at competing with the Amazon Echo, Google Home brings the power of Google Artificial Intelligence to give you detailed information about your day, upcoming events, search information, travel information and the like.   And it is for everyone in the family.  Like Google OnHub, Home is aimed at sitting out in the open and doesn’t look like a piece of techno-kit sitting on a shelf.

Google Announces the Google Pixel and Pixel XL

At their event held today, Google announced their two new flagship Android devices, the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL.  The announcement was of little surprise given the promotional information from Google indicated a phone-shaped device was on the offer as well as the countless leaks over the course of the past two weeks.  Still, the phones are now official and you will be able to pre-order yours starting today.  Pixel and Pixel XL general availability will be October 20th.

Google Pixel, it is a 5″ Full HD display with 441 ppi and protected by Gorilla Glass 4.  It is powered by the quad-core Snapdragon 821 processor running at 2.15GHz and that is coupled with 4GB of RAM.  The main camera is 12.3MP f/2.0 shooter with OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) while the front camera will be an 8MP unit.  It will have all of the normal base features of a contemporary phone such as a fingerprint scanner, USB Type-C connector and NFC.  Yes, it will have a 3.5mm headphone jack too.  Interestingly, the phone will have two storage options:  32GB or 128GB and it will be powered by Android Nougat 7.1.

Galaxy Note7 Sales To Resume October 5th

There appears to be light at the end of the nightmare tunnel for Samsung.  T-Mobile announced yesterday that they, along with Sprint and Verizon, will resume sales of the Galaxy Note7 on Wednesday, October 5th here in the United States.  The resumption of sales ends a painful few months for the Korean manufacture who had to recall millions of Note7’s globally due to faulty batteries.  The new units have a completely new battery from a complete different manufacture.

Sprint and Verizon announced last Friday that they would be resuming sales of the device in their stores and online.  T-Mobile will be doing the same and they represent the first GSM carrier here in the United States to resumes sales.