Although most of the announcements leaked in advance (all the Pixel 8 news is below), Google had one sort-of surprise. It’s working on fusing Assistant and Bard AI together. During a demo, Google showed the Assistant pulling details from a party invite in Gmail. Ask where the party is, and Assistant with Bard can tell you the location and tap into Google Maps for directions. While you’d be able to ask for directions in the past, now the Assistant can pull the address from other contexts.
You could chat to Bard to whip up a meal plan with a grocery list and export that to Google Docs or Gmail without a keyboard or copy and paste. There’s no release date yet, but Google says Assistant with Bard is coming soon to Android and iOS.
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— Mat Smith
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There’s a temperature sensor on the Pro model too.
The Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro look largely the same as their predecessors, with a couple of key differences. The regular Pixel 8 is slightly smaller, which makes it easier to use with one hand. Meanwhile, the Pro model has a new matte finish, upgraded cameras and an intriguing temperature sensor. Across the Pixel 8 series, we’re getting the company’s Tensor G3 processor and, notably, seven years of Android and security updates, so you might be able to hang on to your Pixel flagship for a lot longer than before.
A new temperature sensor on the Pixel 8 Pro sounds like a gimmick (and it might be?), but in the stale, tired land of smartphones, we’ll take anything different. To take a reading, you’ll have to launch the new Temperature app and select the type of object you’re trying to measure. Google is waiting on FDA approval to enable the Pixel 8 Pro to take body temperature readings.
The new Pixel 8 starts at $699, $100 more than its predecessor, while the Pixel 8 Pro costs $999, another $100 increase over the Pixel 7 Pro.
Company chief Brian Chesky also revealed Airbnb is considering car rentals.
Airbnb chief executive Brian Chesky told the Financial Times the company is going “a little bit beyond its core business” starting next year. Chesky wants Airbnb to expand its focus and is currently planning a push into long-term rentals. The service already offers monthly rentals, but apparently, only 18 percent of gross nights booked in the second quarter of 2023 come from stays longer than 30 days. Chesky believes the company can do more to drum up interest in long-term bookings.
The company also launched a redesigned app.
Patreon announced a wide-ranging rebranding of its platform through a series of updates. It includes offering supporters more ways to follow their favorites while integrating more free content from creators. Creators can now let people join for free sharing content and updates for non-paying members while (optionally) hiding things like early access to podcasts or videos behind a paywall. They can also use a new commerce tool to sell individual pieces of content like recordings, videos and downloadable files.
The three focus areas this year are customization, control and accessibility.
Google is rolling out the public build of Android 14. As ever, Pixel users will be able to download the new version of the operating system first on supported models (Pixel 4a and newer). Samsung, OnePlus and other Android device makers will get access to the update later this year. Deeper customization is a major focus this time around. You’ll be able to choose from a variety of lock screen templates. You’ll have more ways to customize your wallpaper thanks to the addition of generative AI capabilities. Select a text prompt and the AI will whip up a related image for you.