The Pixels are more than just the latest Google Purebreads - they represent a major shift in Google's approach to devices as a whole. The online titan's lineup exhibits a tangible sense of unity this time around. No more scattered hardware offers from distant divisions, no more reference hardware based on existing third-party manufacturer bases. This is the new Google hardware division - more unified and streamlined than ever and this shows it the software department just as much as the design language.
Intelligent software features were a prevailing theme during today's unveiling event. The Pixel comes with a few new tricks and this time around Google seems to want to keep them to itself, at least initially that is. If you are going to make and market your own product and distance yourself from the manufacturer, you better throw in some exclusive perks as well.
Right off the bat, we can't fail to mention the offer of unlimited, uncompressed photo and 4K video(!) storage in Google Photos for the Pixel phones. But, that does admittedly sound like a promotion more than anything else.
What really gets the point across is the new Google Assistant. From the looks of it, it will be available exclusively on the the Pixel Phones and other Google devices like the Pixel Home for now. An SDK is planned for release soon as well, so we have no doubt that the platform will have a wider release sooner or later. But, if you want to get your hands on it as early as possible, the Pixel and Pixel XL are your best bet.
Even in this early stage, the Google Assistant already comes off as more than just Google Now on steroids. Sure, if that's as far as you want to take things, Google has made sure little will change in your experience. The Assistant is still triggered by a single gesture, can automate tasks for you and pull up relevant data, based on on-screen contents.
But that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you have gotten around to experiment with Google's new Allo app, then you already know the conversational powers of the platform. Coherent back and forth exchanges come off almost human-like. Seriously, Cortana, Siri and the like don't even come close.
Context is now taken to a whole new level. The Google Assistant can pretty much pull any data for you and not simply link you to it like Google Now, but relay it in a very natural-sounding voice. Then, as you further the conversation and add more layers of information, the platform starts giving you suggestions as little bubbles above the keyboard. These are chillingly relevant and allow to to basically keep the flow of the conversation going without even typing most of the time.
Then there is the deep integration Google Assistant has with the rest of the apps on your phone. For now these were not ready for demo at today's event but we were promised the same coherent 'conversation-style interaction with third party apps, which require you more info - such as ordering a Uber car or making a restaurant reservation.
We could really go on and on forever about little triggers hidden away in Google Assist, but the truth is, it is more than just a clever bot. Google's incredible advances in language recognition, AI and machine learning have managed to create the closest thing we have seen to a real life personal aid yet. And with the upcoming SDK, who knows what experiences developers and tinkerers can enable in the future.
Unfortunately, little of this functionality was available as a demo at the event so we remain hopeful to see more of Google's Assistant in the near future.