Gadgets

Google’s smart home sell looks cluttered and incoherent

If extraterrestrials or technology companies were trying to figure out what a "smart home" was yesterday, via Google's hardware launch event for its own brand I would have left with a rather confused and incoherent image.

The presenters of the company tried to give a glimpse of the domestic felicity generated by the gadgets, but the effect was rather closer to the chaos described above, the existing connected devices being charged (by Google) to make the homeowners devices control headaches – which thus required another type of device 'hub' new, which was now unveiled, designed and priced to solve the problems of manufacturing the smart home.

Meet the Google hub manufactured by Google .

The discerning consumer might think you're going to buy in the smart home, and you'll have to bomb it again and again – just to stay on the cutting edge of managing an ever-growing set of devices that require maintenance high.

It sounds a lot like throwing money after the hurt. Unless you're a strong believer in the convenience concept of push-button-compatible gadgets – and the perpetual affirmation that smart home nirvana is upon us. One more device at a time. Uh, and thanks to AI!

Yesterday, during the Google event, there did not seem to be any danger of nirvana.

Your idea of ​​paradise is to pay $ 150 for a small screen housed in a speaker. (ie after you've screamed for all the other connected devices that will form the chained rays on this control screen.)

A small tablet that, let's be clear, is defined by its limitations: No Standard Web Browser No Camera … No, this is not not supposed to be an entertainment device its own right.

It is literally supposed to stay in place and provide a visual control panel, with the usual type of content, also available on all connected devices, such as traffic, weather and recipes. So, $ 150 for a remote control does not sound so cheap now?

The hub that acts as a digital photo frame when it is not in use – which Google has done very much – is also not a kind of magic dust. Call it screen saver 2.0.

A refrigerator also does the same thing with a few magnets and scraps of paper. Just add your own imagination.

At the presentation, Google insisted that the "evolving" smart home that she was showing was not limited to a hardware iteration – claiming that her Google artificial intelligence software was at work in the background, by hand. – glove with all these devices, to really "advance the vision".

But if the best example to remember is that of the AI, it automatically selects the photos to be displayed on a digital photo frame – at the same time as it asks consumers to shell out 150 USD for a concentrator discrete control to manually manage all this. IoT – it seems disappointing to say the least. If it's not exactly contradictory.

Google also pointed out that a vast majority of users felt overwhelmed by the abuse of technology, saying, "We want to make sure you're in control of your digital good. be. "

Yet, this was said at an event that literally unpacked another bundle of connected and demanding feature duplication devices – which are still, let's say it plainly, just as was hungry for your data – including the aforementioned tablet speaker (which, according to Google, would somehow have tried to help people "disconnect" from all their smart technologies – so, by and large, "buy this device so you can use fewer devices" …); a ChromeOS tablet that converts into a laptop via a plug-in keyboard; and 2x versions of his new high-end smartphone, the Pixel 3.

There was even a wireless charger Pixel Stand that held the phone in a hub-style control position. (Oh and Google did not even have time to mention it during the cluttered presentation, but it's probably this co-branded Disney Mickey Mouse-eared speaker for kids presumably).

What is the average consumer supposed to do with all that incestuous overlapping material that harasses the wallet ?!

Smartphones have at least one clear goal: they are effectively versatile.

Increasingly powerful all-in-ones that allow you to do more with less and do not even require you to buy a new one each year compared to the increasingly cumbersome maintenance of the smart home and to its expensive staging (in terms of money and attention), duplication and clutter. And that without even considering the security risks and the nightmare of privacy.

The two technological concepts really could not be farther apart one from the other.

If you value your time and money, the smartphone is the only one you can buy.

While the smart home clearly needs a LOT of affinettes – if it ever wants to live up to the enthusiastic claims of "flawless convenience".

Or, a complete overhaul.

The house of "lovers of creative and chaotic and experimental gadgets" would be a more honest and realistic sale for now – and for the foreseeable future.

Instead, Google made a plea for what it dubbed the "pensive house." Even as she pressed a button to set up a motorized pedestal on which there was another set of electronics requiring a load that no one really needed – in the hope that consumers would nevertheless spend their time and money. money by equating redundant devices with congested domestic routines. Or, find a storage space in the drawers already overflowed.

The different iterations of "smart" home appliances on the market illustrate just how experimental the concept is.

Just this week, Facebook landed with a swivel tablet stuck on a smart speaker topped with a camera that frankly looks like something something you found in the office of a prison guard.

Meanwhile, Google has housed speakers of all kinds, some of which resemble toilet fragrance diffusers – what could it be to try to prevent people from noticing ?

And Amazon now has so many Echo devices that it's almost impossible to track. It's as if the online business giant was throwing stones into a well to see if it could cause a sensation.

When presenting the smart home in the presentation of Google's own branded material, the company's presenter parade often felt like it was going through robotic movements, creating no more than excitement basic.

And not dissipating the reinforced feeling that the smart home is almost pure marketing, and that the maintenance of devices requiring updates, wired and / or wireless with overlapping objectives in a variety of ways nationwide is the last way to help technology saturated consumers get something close to "well-being offline."

Additional convenience might be possible, perhaps – depending on the number and number of smart devices you buy. for what specific purpose (s); and probably only sporadically, until the next problematic update removes the judicious interaction between the kit and the utility. But the idea that the smart home equates to a thoughtful domestic bliss for families seems ridiculous.

All this material that can be updated inevitably introduces new responsibilities and complexities into family life, with the joint power to change dynamics and family relationships – depending on who has access to devices (and all generated content); whose task is to repair things and solve problems when problems inevitably occur (for example, a device failure OR a snafu generated by artificial intelligence, such as the "false" picture automatically displayed in a common area) ; and who will be quick to take care of and resolve any dispute that may arise from the fact that all elements connected to the Internet are more and more intertwined in people's lives, whether of their own free will or not.

Hey Google, is there an artificial intelligence to handle all this?

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