Is Google now a hardware company?


Recode’s Ina Fried and The Verge’s Lauren Goode and Dieter Bohn discuss the answer on the latest Too Embarrassed to Ask.

At a product event on Tuesday, Google announced an iPhone-esque high-end phone, an Amazon Echo-esque home speaker and an Eero-esque Wi-Fi router system, among other products. But what all these new gadgets mean for the future of the erstwhile search engine company is debatable.

“It was a hardware event, all the products were new hardware,” Recode’s Ina Fried said on the latest episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask. “But the interesting piece was the software: The Google Assistant, the way machine intelligence is changing the interface and the value, what we care about on these devices.”

Fried spoke with The Verge’s Lauren Goode and Dieter Bohn about what the three of them took away from the “Made by Google” event. For Bohn, one of the most interesting aspects was the $650 high-end phone that Google wants us all to call “Pixel, Phone by Google” (place your bets now on what people will actually call it: “Google Pixel” or just “Google Phone”).

Unlike Google’s past attempts to define high-end Android phones with the Nexus line, Pixel is said to be designed entirely by Google, a first for devices running on the mobile operating system. Bohn said on the new podcast that that means the stakes are incredibly high.

“They have no more excuses for bad battery life, and they have no more excuses for eh hardware,” he said. “If they’re pricing this thing at $650 and they’re putting their company’s name on it — their big ‘G’ logo on it — it’s gotta be basically perfect from top to bottom.”

Later in the show, the trio answered your questions about all the new devices and lingering concerns about everything from privacy to speech recognition.

Have questions about Google’s new products that we didn’t get to in this episode? Or have another tech topic on your mind? You can tweet any questions, comments and complaints to @Recode with the hashtag #TooEmbarrassed. You can also email your questions to TooEmbarrassed@recode.net, in case Twitter isn’t your thing.

Be sure to follow @LaurenGoode, @KaraSwisher and @Recode to be alerted when we’re looking for questions about a specific topic.

If you like this show, you should also check out our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Recode Media with Peter Kafka features no-nonsense conversations with the smartest and most interesting people in the media world, with new episodes every Thursday. Use these links to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Kara and Lauren. Tune in next Friday for another episode of Too Embarrassed to Ask!

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