Google adds more artificial intelligence to new Pixel phones, raises prices of devices by $100

Google on Wednesday unveiled the next generation Pixel smartphone lineup, which will include more artificial intelligence tools capable of writing captions about photos that can also be altered by the technology.

The incorporation of more artificial intelligence, or AI, into Google’s products is another step in the company’s effort to bring more technology into the mainstream — a push they hinted they were starting five months ago during their annual developer conference. Were.

“Our focus is on making AI more useful for everyone in bold and responsible ways,” Rick Osterloh, Google’s senior vice president of devices and services, said during the event in New York on Wednesday. As if to leave no doubt about Google’s current priorities, Osterloh described the new Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones as a means to put “AI in your hand.”

The company’s next steps will include allowing its 7-year-old Google Assistant to tap into Bard, the company’s recently created AI chatbot, to perform tasks. The expanded access to Bard comes just two weeks after Google started connecting the AI ​​chatbot to the company’s other popular services like Gmail, Maps, and YouTube.

One of the new tricks the Bard-backed assistant does is scan a photo taken on a phone powered by Google’s Android software and generate a pithy caption suitable for posting on social media. As Google is doing with most of its AI bets, the Bard-backed Google Assistant will initially be available only to a test audience, before it is gradually introduced on an opt-in basis to more owners of the latest Pixel .

As has become common across the industry, the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro phones unveiled during an event in New York will feature most of the same technology already available in last year’s models.

One of the main selling points of the new phones will be the improved cameras, including more AI-empowered editing tools that will mostly be available on the Pixel 8 Pro. AI features will be able to enhance photos, zoom in on parts of images, replace faces taken from other photos in group shots, and completely erase objects and people from images.

Google is counting on the new AI twists added to this year’s lineup to be enough to justify the price increase — the starting prices of both the Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro have increased by $100 over last year’s comparable models.

As a result, the Pixel 8 will sell for $700 and the Pixel 8 Pro for $1,000 when it goes on sale in stores next week. Apple last month raised the starting price of its top-end iPhone by $100 when its latest models arrived, signaling that inflationary pressures have begun to drive up the cost of devices that have become an essential part of modern life. Are.

The Pixel 8 Pro will also be able to measure people’s temperatures — an additional thing that could be a drawing card in the post-pandemic era as COVID variants continue to evolve. But Google is still trying to get regulatory approval to enable that capability in the US A 2020 phone, my Huawei-made Honor Play 4 Pro, was also able to check for fever, so Google is working on a completely new Not breaking ground.

Despite receiving generally positive reviews, Pixel phones have barely made a dent in a market dominated by Samsung and Apple since Google started making the devices seven years ago. But they’ve been gaining a little more traction in recent years, with the Pixel’s share of the high-end smartphone market rising from less than 1% three years ago to nearly 4% now, according to research firm International Data Corp.

Google can afford to make a phone that won’t generate huge sales because it brings in more than $200 billion annually from the digital advertising network run by its dominant search engine. A large portion of advertising revenue comes from the billions of dollars Google pays annually to lock its search engine onto the iPhone and Samsung’s Galaxy lineup as the main gateway to the Internet.

The agreements that gave Google’s search engine lucrative positioning on phones and computers are the focus of an ongoing antitrust trial in Washington, where the US Justice Department is trying to prove its allegations that Google stifled competition and innovation. Misusing his power to suppress.

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