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Google to act more opinionated, Pichai speaks on AI, Nexus devices and Google Home

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Google’s Indian-origin CEO Sundar Pichai took the stage at Code Conference 2016 and sat down with TheVerge’s Walt Mossberg to elaborate the product iterations and innovations introduced at Google I/O. The topic of discussions included AI, machine learning, Google Home, Android, privacy concerns and plans to tackle the Chinese markets.

Starting with AI, Pichai said that as the technology has matured and inflicted away from smartphones. The company has been on the grind to improve its natural language and deep neural networks, but now it needs to focus on conversation retention. It needs to bump the order of magnitude and higher the scale at which they do it. According to Pichai, an intelligent assistant is one which has true conversational understanding and is capable of having a two way dialogue. And that’s the task at hand is to make Google Now more user-centric and personalized.

Pichai also tackled questions regarding the privacy concerns over the recently launched Google AI Assistant and Home. He said that the company would never the voice command data and work on building a tighter security layer to protect your privacy. The ‘Home’ assistant as mentioned by the CEO himself will feature an incognito mode, just like Chrome and Allo which will allow users to have a record-free dialogue with the Assistant. He envisions a feature where one could easily ask Google to forget the past four hours of search and voice history.

Google Home being very similar to Amazon’s Alexa is sure to arise one question – How will your product be better than their?

And Sundar Pichai had the best answer for the aforementioned question. He said that Google wasn’t the first e-mail provider, it wasn’t the first search provider on the interwebs, but it used the technology and innovations to gain lead on other products on the markets. In a similar fashion, Google is focused to make the Home product smarter and sophisticated by building a strong architecture around the platform.

How could we talk about AI and Home but leave Android behind!? Not possible.

The panel didn’t discuss anything about Google’s feat over Oracle in court, but they did discuss about the future of Android as a platform.

Google has been regular in pushing a vanilla Android experience to its customers via the Nexus devices, but it has no plans to manufacture a complete smartphone of their own in the near future, said Indian-origin CEO Sundar Pichai. Nexus devices might be the fore-runners in showcasing the latest features of Android, that might not last for very long as Google opens up Android previews to third-party OEMs.

Pichai addressed the guests at the conference saying that the tech giant has no plans to manufacture their own smartphones anytime soon. Google is currently focused on expanding devices in other ecosystems, with Android as the baseline.

We’re investing more effort into them[Nexus devices]. So you’ll see us put a lot more thought into our Nexus Devices going forward. Plus, there are categories beyond phones which we are doing, like Google Home, Chromecast and much more.

adds Pichai while addressing the crowd at the conference.

The tech giant will be more ‘opinionated’ in the areas they need to be and take charge of the Nexus program, trying to put thought in pushing much-needed design changes to the platform. After much pestering from Mossberg to elaborate on the self-manufacturing of Nexus devices, Pichai said that it might not happen in the near future.

The company will focus on expanding the Nexus line-up with help from the OEM’s, but instead of shipping it with stock Android will now try and thoughtfully add more features atop the software. He believes that a lot of software innovation is still left to be discovered, and they could possibly work with the OEM’s to make opinionated design changes in the future.

He also chatted about his adamant goal to approach the Chinese market thoughtfully and make Google services available to the masses of the most populated country on the planet. “Where possible, we want to be in China serving Chinese users,” he said

Watch Sundar Pichai in conversation with Walt Mossberg at the Code Conference right here:

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