Google unveils new smartphone, watch and tablet as part of suite of new products

Google has unveiled an expanded lineup of hardware products in the latest sign it remains committed to moving beyond its core advertising business and competing with the likes of Apple.

Google, at its first in-person developer conference in three years, announced three new smartphones and its first in-house smartwatch, as well as plans to release a new tablet next year.

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The tech giant also announced updates to several of its most popular tools including Maps, Google Translate and its core search product.

Here are the key takeaways:

New smartphones

Google surprised fans of its smartphone lineup by teasing two new flagship devices – the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro.

While the company did not share many details, the two smartphones are expected to be released later this year.

Google also announced the Pixel 6a smartphone, a more affordable version of its Pixel 6 lineup released earlier this year.

The Pixel 6a is powered by Google’s in-house Tensor chip and will come in three colors – green, white and black.

It will cost $US449 ($A649.48) and be available July 21.

Pixel watch

There are no shortage of Android smartwatches on the market, but now Google is planning to manufacture a new smartwatch of its own for the first time.

The company teased the much-hyped Pixel Watch, which will use Google’s WearOS operating system and be compatible with services such as its voice-enabled Google Assistant, Google Maps and Google Wallet.

An integration with Fitbit, which Google acquired in 2019, will add several activity tracking and fitness features.

The Pixel Watch will be available later this year, along with the Pixel 7 lineup.

Google also teased a new Pixel Tablet, which the company says will be released in 2023.

Google’s Pixel Watch, unveiled on Wednesday. Credit: Associated Press

Pixel Buds Pro

Google also announced a new iteration of its bluetooth earbuds called the Pixel Buds Pro.

Available in four colors – orange, green, white and black – the new earbuds offer features such as active noise cancellation and spatial audio.

The Pixel Buds Pro will cost $US199 ($A287.85) and release on July 21.

Google shows the Pixel Buds Pro, wireless headphones.
Google shows the Pixel Buds Pro, wireless headphones. Credit: Associated Press

Beyond hardware

There were also a number of new software updates.

Google Maps users will soon be able to get a real-world view of certain cities via a 3D view of popular sights, restaurants and businesses to better visualize the space.

While Maps already offers satellite view and street view options, Google says its new immersive view feature combines those two to “create a rich, digital model” that makes users feel like they’re on the ground.

A sliding scale will let users see what the area looks like at different times of the day, how busy it is, and local traffic conditions.

Immersive view will be available in Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo later this year, on all mobile devices using Google’s Android operating system.

The company said it plans to add more cities as it develops the feature.

Google has unveiled a suite of new products at a conference.  File image.
Google has unveiled a suite of new products at a conference. File image. Credit: AP

For Google Translate, 24 languages ​​will be added to the translation tool.

It’s a move the company says focuses on languages ​​of Africa and India broadly, and languages ​​generally under-served by technology.

They include Quechua, which is spoken in the Andes, particularly in Peru; Lingala, a language spoken in the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Assamese, which is spoken in northeast India; and Tigrinya, which is spoken in Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The additional languages ​​bring the total number the tool can translate to 133, and will be available to all Google Translate users within days, the company said.

inclusion zone

Google is launching a new skin-tone scale it hopes will make its products more inclusive.

Many beauty and tech companies classify skin shades based on what is known as the Fitzpatrick scale.

Developed in the 1970s by a Harvard dermatologist, it is used to classify how different skin colors respond to UV light (and, through that, predict a person’s risk of sunburn and skin cancer).

Despite including only six skin shades, it’s been used by tech companies for years to inform everything from the colors of emoji and how wearable heart-rate monitors work on different skin tones to efforts to make AI fairer at Facebook.

The company said it will start using the Monk skin tone scale, which was developed by Harvard professor Ellis Monk and includes 10 different shades.

Google is using it to do things such as test how well AI models (such as those that can spot faces in pictures) work on people of different skin tones. The company is also using the scale in Google Images searches, such as by letting people narrow down beauty-related image queries by skin shade.

So Google wants to open-source the scale so others can use it.

Virtual cards

Google is rolling out virtual credit cards to help protect users’ financial information while they’re shopping online.

The feature generates a virtual card number that users can autofill instead of their actual card information on Android mobile devices or in Google’s Chrome browser, masking their real credit card number from the companies they are shopping from.

Virtual cards will roll out within months – initially only for US users with Visa, American Express and Capital One credit cards. Google says it plans to add support for Mastercard later this year.

Google's virtual cards will mask users' credit card information while online shopping.
Google’s virtual cards will mask users’ credit card information while online shopping. Credit: CNN

Another new feature aims to give users more control over what results show up when someone searches their name in Google.

The feature, which rolls out within months, will make it easier for users to request that their personal information such as phone numbers, email and home addresses be scrubbed from search results.

Google plans to let users tailor what ads they see as they surf the internet, with the ability to choose the brands and types of ads they do and do not want to see.

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