Google makes everything from connected thermostats to phones, speakers, TV consoles, and laptops. Soon, you can addAnd for that list. why? For Google, the answer is simple: it wants to make technology less distracting.
The company discussed its vision for the future of computing during its tenureWednesday. Much of its strategy relies on Google’s expanding toolkit, which the company says will further ramp up its “periphery computing” ambitions. Google uses this term often to describe how its devices interact with each other, and it was a big focus during this year’s I/O conference.
But there is some irony in Google’s approach. The goal of these new products is to ease the burden on the user by making the technology itself less obtrusive. The promise is that these tools will intelligently communicate with each other and anticipate your needs without much interference. However, having this feature means leaving more Google gadgets in your life.
“In a multi-device world, people don’t want to spend their lives thinking about technology,” said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google, on stage during the event. “The ambient approach gets technology out of your way so you can live your life while getting the help you need.”
Google has historically used its developer conference keyword to highlight major updates to its software platforms and applications, such asAnd Google Assistant and Google Photos. On Wednesday, Google announced software improvements and more. While Gadgets debuted at the show in years past, Google introduced six new hardware pieces during Wednesday’s keynote. The company introduced two new phones (Pixel 6A and Pixel 7), its first smartwatch (Pixel Watch), a new pair of earbuds (Pixel Buds Pro), a new luxury Pixel computer, and a pair of augmented reality glasses. That’s a lot, and it underscores how important Google hardware is.
“It’s becoming sort of like a constellation of devices,” said Ramon Lamas, director of research at International Data Corporation, a market research firm. “And a set of applications within an ecosystem that will not only attract people, but also keep them there.”
Österloh culminated in the start of the Google Hardware Show with a monologue describing how Google envisions its products working together in the future. He urged the audience to imagine a world in which your front door knows when to close itself, the TV automatically turns off when you leave the couch for a snack and when your devices know whether to send an incoming call to your phone, earbuds, or watch. Google isn’t fully up to date yet, but it’s easy to see how it’s moving toward that goal. For example, the company announced a fileA smart screen that lets you summon the Google Assistant without using an alert phrase.
“All of these things work in concert to deliver our vision of ambient computing, providing the help people need wherever they want it,” Osterloh said.
The idea itself is not new or new. It’s the same hypothesis that was drivingcommercial devices for a long time. Amazon has also built its own hardware ecosystem that thrives on the way its network of Echo speakers, Eero Wi-Fi systems, and Ring doorbells work together. But that only reinforces my point; Making technology less obtrusive often means investing in more tools.
Google has been laying the foundation for this vision for a long time, from its acquisition of Nest in 2014 to the launch of its first Pixel phone in 2016 andin 2021. These pieces continued to appear together at this year’s I/O conference with the debut of Google’s first smartwatch, which .
The search giant’s decision to expand its hardware footprint is also another sign that gaining customers in the long run requires much more than just launching a great smartphone. As Apple taught us, the more you invest in the brand’s lineup of hardware, the harder it is to let go. Samsung has been emulating this approach over the past several years with its lineup of Galaxy watches, earphones, phones, and tablets. At I/O, the message is clearer than ever that Google is doing the same.
But for Google, there is another wrinkle. As an Android funder, it needs to balance the development of exclusive Pixel and Nest technologies alongside the broader software found on devices from Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, and many more. For a long time, Google’s most important influence in the consumer technology market has been its role as the Android operator. That may still be true, but he’s taking bigger steps to change this narrative to its own devices.
In its mission to essentially make devices disappear from the user experience, Google has shown us how important their devices really are. Now we’ll have to see if these devices finally live up to Google’s promise.