Last week we told you about Google’s new phone, the Pixel. This week we talk about the company’s other new products. Google has expanded its focus from services, such as Maps, Gmail and Chrome, to devices that include them.
Google's announcements of new products include a smart speaker, Wi-Fi router, video streaming device and virtual reality viewer.
A new voice assistant, Google Assistant, will be included in many of these devices to obey spoken commands, translate phrases and perform tasks.
Google announced a smart speaker called Google Home that uses Google Assistant to respond to users’ commands.
Home also works as a speaker to play music from Google Music, YouTube, Spotify, Pandora and TuneIn. You can set your favorite music service so that you do not have to tell Home each time which one to use.
Google Assistant can help users figure out which song they want to hear, so you can ask for "the Sia song from Zootopia" instead of saying the title.
This video shows how Home works:
Home has a feature called “My Day” that can give you a preview of your day ahead. Google Assistant can describe the expected weather where you are. It can provide traffic reports. It can tell you about your calendar appointments and upcoming travel plans.
You can use Home to send notes and reminders to your Pixel phone and send videos to your TV using Chromecast.
Home can also help users control their smart homes with voice commands to the Nest thermostat, smart lights and other smart home devices.
Home has bases in different colors, in metal and fabric.
Google is launching a new router, Google Wifi, that helps users connect to Wi-Fi throughout the house. Multiple units link to each other to bring a Wi-Fi signal to dead spots in remote rooms.
The Google Wifi app works with the router and can be used to control Internet connections for the device. Users of the app can see who is connected to the Internet and turn connections off.
A YouTube video shows Google Wifi in action.
Google Wifi is available for preorder in November with shipping in December.
Chromecast, Google's video streaming device, has been upgraded to Chromecast Ultra. This new unit has 1.8 times faster playback than the older models and can stream videos in 4K, Ultra HD, and HDR.
Chromecast Ultra is shown in this video:
Chromecast Ultra will go on sale next month.
Daydream View is is Google's new virtual reality viewer (VR) that works with the Pixel phone to show VR videos and games. The device is covered in cloth and holds a phone. You wear the device on your head and see the VR display on the phone through the viewer.
Google said it worked with clothing designers to make the headset comfortable to wear. Three colors are available: snow, slate and crimson.
A Google video introduces Daydream View:
Included with Daydream View is a remote control for scrolling through menus or playing games. The remote connects wirelessly to the headset and senses your movements so you can interact with what is being shown on the screen. The headset includes a space to store the remote.
Users can play games and watch Hulu, VR YouTube videos, VR videos from Google Maps Streetview, New York Time VR videos, Google Photos, Google Play movies and, in the future, Netflix and HBO videos.
Google says that Daydream View is compatible with 50 apps with hundreds more due to launch by the end of 2016.
Daydream View is designed to work with Pixel phones and other future Android partner phones that have not yet been named by Google.
Daydream View will be available in November.
I’m Dorothy Gundy. And I’m Bryan Lynn.
Words in This Story
focus – n. a main purpose or interest
translate – v. to change words from one language into another language
calendar – n. a document, chart, etc., that shows the days, weeks, and months of a year
virtual reality – n. an artificial world of images and sounds created by a computer that is affected by the actions of a person who is experiencing it
comfortable – adj. not causing any physically unpleasant feelings
scroll – v. to move text or images of a Web page, document, etc., up, down, or to the side on a computer screen
interact – v. to act together