FutureFive New Zealand logo
Consumer technology news from the future
Story image

Google launches four new home products

By Sara Barker
Wed 16 Oct 2019
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Google has made a bunch of announcements around the Nest Mini, Pixel Buds, Pixelbook and the Pixel 4 this week – here’s a quick roundup of what you need to know.

Nest Mini

Google acquired smart device manufacturer Nest back in 2014, and after bubbling away as a company under Alphabet for a few years, it was finally reintegrated back into Google.

In May, Google Home and Nest merged into one brand. Now the Nest Mini is the first step on the journey to a new era of smart home devices.

The Nest Mini is a smart home hub that pumps out base twice as strong as the old Google Home Mini for clear and natural sound.  It also features LED lights, so users know where to adjust the volume when they’re listening to music.

There’s also Google Duo functionality on all Google Home and Nest Speakers; access to devices from the Google Home app, and even the ability to call devices or people free (with a Duo account of course).

“Nest Mini is smarter and faster than the original Mini. We embedded a dedicated machine learning chip with up to one TeraOPS of processing power, which lets us move some Google Assistant experiences from our data centers directly onto the device,” says Google.

The Nest Mini’s design features the same design as the original Mini, but it’s made from 100% post-consumer recycled plastic bottles.

Google Pixelbook Go

The Pixelbook is barely two years old and already it has a successor. The Pixelbook Go features quiet, backlit keys, a 13.3” touchscreen, and around 12 hours of battery life, all fitted into a magnesium casing.

Google Pixel 4

There’s another iteration of the renowned Google Pixel phones (that aren’t officially supported in New Zealand. The Pixel 4 runs on Android 10 and includes 6GB RAM, a 90hz display, and Pixel Neural Core.

Google says Pixel Neural Core is the engine for on-device processing, always-on computing, and machine learning, meaning more tasks are done on the device for performance and privacy.

It also features two rear cameras including a telephoto lens, night sight for shots of the night sky, and HDR+ photo quality.

Of course, Google Assistant is a major function in Pixel phones. On the Pixel 4, it can open apps, search your phone, share what's on your screen, and more. It also considers the context of your query to do a better job answering.

The Pixel 4’s recorder app acts as a recorder with transcription and the ability to search recordings for a specific word or sound. Google says this is a work-in-progress, starting with English and more languages coming soon.

The Pixel 4 is fitted with Motion Sense, which uses a mini radar sensor to detect motion around the phone – perfect for gestures and face unlock.

Google Pixel Buds

Finally, the Google Pixel Buds are Google’s answer to Apple AirPods. The company says it scanned thousands of ears to create a comfortable design for almost everyone (in Google’s words, “as many people as possible”.

The Pixel Buds are low-profile with a hybrid design that isolates loud outside noises but keeps users aware of the world around them and delivers quality sound.

Pixel Buds automatically detect when they’re in your ear and each earbud provides touch controls: just tap to play or pause, and swipe to adjust volume.

Adaptive sound also helps to automatically adjust volume as users move from quiet locations to noise ones, so they don’t have to keep adjusting the volume manually.

Two microphones in each earbud enable voice calls, and there’s even a voice accelerometer that can detect speech through the vibrations of your jawbone.

Calls are connected via long-range Bluetooth connectivity. According to Google, the Pixel Buds will stay connected three rooms away indoors or a football field-distance away outdoors.

They come with a wireless charging case, and Google says the Buds will support five hours of listening time on a single charge.

Pixel Buds pair easily with Bluetooth 4.0+ laptops, tablets and iOS devices. And with your Pixel phone and other Android 6.0+ devices, they pair with just a single tap.

While no specific Asia Pacific regional pricing and available has been announced yet, we’ll do our best to keep you up to date about what’s to come.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Financial results
Margins & revenues up at New Zealand arm of Acer Computer
We look at the local financial statements of Taiwanese manufacturer Acer Computer Inc.
Story image
Design
Hands-on review: Phillips Hue starter kit
The set-up was one of the simplest I have ever had to do. It is also where the products shine. I was able to connect the bridge, the three lightbulbs and the strip within 10 min.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review – CleanMyMac X utility for macOS
We get hands-on with a useful utility that macOS users never thought they needed but probably do.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: Fobia – St. Dinfna Hotel
When it comes to horror video games, they usually need to have a good balance between suspense and a little bit of action.
Story image
Cloud
Apple reveals new iOS 16 features set to enhance sharing and communication
Apple has unveiled an all-new Lock Screen experience and new ways to share and communicate in iOS 16.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft launches the Surface Laptop Go 2 with new features
Microsoft has introduced the new Surface Laptop Go 2, adding to the company’s growing portfolio of Surface Laptop devices.
Story image
Gaming
Game preview: The Quarry (PC)
On playing a bit of The Quarry, I began to understand why the game has got its own release rather than just being part of The Dark Pictures Anthology.
Story image
Apple
Apple’s watchOS 9 and its new features, including a medications app
The new watch0S 9 gives users more watch faces, an updated workout and sleep app and a brand new medications app.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Unknown connections: How safe is public WiFi in Aotearoa?
If it's not your own household WiFi, then who has control of your data and is your connection actually safe?
Story image
Wireless
Hands-on review: JBL Quantum 610 Wireless
The new Quantum 610 gaming headset is the latest addition to JBL’s Quantum range and the successor to its popular Quantum 600 model.
Story image
Broadband
Mercury launches broadband and fibre packages for NZ customers
Mercury has officially launched Mercury Broadband, giving its electricity and gas customers the ability to add fibre to their existing Mercury account.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Adobe launches AI-powered updates to Photoshop and Lightroom
Adobe says the updates use Adobe Sensei AI and machine learning to simplify complex workflows and streamline cross-device collaboration.
Story image
Cloud
Google announces new version of Chromecast with remote features
Google has announced its newest version of Chromecast, featuring a variety of new features and a new look.
Story image
Cybersecurity
Why is NZ lagging behind the world in cybersecurity?
A recent report by TUANZ has revealed that we are ranked 56th in the world when it comes to cybersecurity - a look into why we're so behind and what needs to be done.
Story image
Web Development
Whitecliffe fosters careers for the future of tech
Do you want a career in Information Technology, Networking, Web Development, Software Development, or are you looking to upskill?
Story image
Cloud
Apple improves Mac operating system with latest offering
Apple has unveiled the latest version of its desktop operating system, macOS Ventura, providing users with tools for greater productivity.
Story image
Gaming
Game review: The Quarry (PC)
Supermassive Games channel 1980s teen horror movies with their latest suspense-filled cinematic adventure, The Quarry.
Story image
InternetNZ
Govt must step up to police social media - InternetNZ boss
A technology industry leader is urging the government not to shy away from policing social media platforms in New Zealand.
Story image
Wireless
WolfVision releases new Cynap Pure Mini screen sharing solution
WolfVision has launched the WolfVision Cynap Pure Mini, a new wireless screen sharing solution that looks to enable easier and more effective presentations.
Story image
Film review
Film review: Jurassic World Dominion
This movie is what happens when you cross a lot of hungry dinos with humanity trying desperately to redeem itself for a mistake, and boy does it try.
Story image
Dark web
Cybercrime in Aotearoa: How does New Zealand law define it?
‘Cybercrime’ is a term we hear all the time, but what exactly is it, and how does New Zealand define it in legal terms?
Story image
Cloud
Adobe Substance 3D updates, looks to the metaverse
A look at all of Adobe's major updates for Substance 3D and how its services are enabling businesses to get metaverse ready.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60
Philips’ range of Hue smart lighting promises to make any home a smart home. Techday’s Darren Price checks out the Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit A60.
Story image
Cloud
Apple brings redesigned MacBook Air and updated MacBook Pro to market
Apple has introduced a redesigned MacBook Air and an updated 13-inch MacBook Pro, both powered by the new M2 chip.
Story image
Cloud
Apple announces new developer tools and APIs for better app experiences
The new announcement encompasses new tools, technologies and APIs that the company says are designed to help developers create better and more involved experiences for their users.
Story image
Review
Hands-on review: Morphée
Life in the twenty-first century has become a 24-hour affair. Morphée promises to help restore some balance to your life.
Story image
Commerce Commission
ComCom puts electronics sector on notice over resale price maintenance
The Commerce Commission has concluded an investigation into allegations that television manufacturers were engaging in illegal resale price maintenance.
Story image
Remote Working
Hands-on review: EcoFlow River Pro Portable Power station
We get hands-on with an extremely versatile device that every remote worker or outdoor enthusiast should consider.
Story image
Gaming
Hands-on review: 16GB PNY XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz DDR4
PNY sent over its 16GB XLR8 Gaming EPIC-X 3600MHz CL16 DDR4 module kit for testing. The kit contains two 8GB dual-channel modules with RGB lighting.
Story image
Gaming
AMD introduces FSR 2.0 giving gaming GPUs a boost
Not only have AMD proudly announced their new line-up of Radeon RX 6000-series graphics cards, but the company has also unveiled the first games to support its FSR 2.0 technology.
Story image
Cloud
Apple unveils M2 with 50% more memory bandwidth than M1
Compared to M1, M2 has an 18% faster CPU, a 35% more powerful GPU, a 40% faster Neural Engine, and delivers 50% more memory bandwidth and up to 24GB of fast unified memory.
Story image
Privacy Commissioner
Aotearoa gets a new Privacy Commissioner: Michael Webster replaces John Edwards
Michael Webster, who is currently the Secretary of the Cabinet, will step into the Privacy Commissioner role on 5 July 2022.
Story image
Electricity
Canstar finds Flick Electric NZ’s favourite provider
Canstar’s annual research to find New Zealand’s favourite electricity provider reveals Flick Electric has come out on top.
Story image
Terramaster
TerraMaster launches its T6-423 Professional NAS with TOS 5 OS
Shenzhen-based data storage manufacturer, TerraMaster, has launched the T6-423 6-bay tower NAS.
Story image
Cloud
Hisense launches in New Zealand with new product range
Consumer electronics and home entertainment brand Hisense has launched in New Zealand, bringing its range of TVs, refrigeration, and laundry products to Kiwi customers.
Story image
Entelar
How TruSens air purifiers can create healthier workspaces
The pandemic has heightened our awareness of our own and others’ health, and made us all much more conscious of the environments we work in.
Story image
Skills shortage
Tech salaries increase as skills shortage inflates expectations
More technology professionals will receive a pay rise this coming financial year than last, with skills shortages creating a once-in-a-career market.
Story image
Wireless
ComCom finds NZ broadband compares well with Australia
A new report published by the Commerce Commission has found New Zealand's Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) compares well to Australia's National Broadband Network.
Story image
N4L
N4L, Spark, Chorus partner for Hyperfibre school upgrade
Networks for Learning (N4L) has partnered with Spark and Chorus to upgrade Wellington College to Hyperfibre, fostering stronger outcomes for students and teachers.
Story image
Christchurch
Enable launches free Wi-Fi in Christchurch city centre
Fibre broadband provider, Enable, and the Christchurch City Council have launched their new Christchurch Free Wi-Fi service in the central city. 
Story image
Cybersecurity
The link between cybersecurity, extremist threat and misinformation online in Aotearoa
Long story short, it's often the case that misinformation, threat and extremism link closely to cybersecurity issues and cyber harm.
Story image
Digital Transformation
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave drive digital transformation for mental health
Publicis Sapient and The Man Cave are joining forces to help support the mental health and wellbeing of young men around the world.
Story image
Robotic Process Automation / RPA
Automated Guided Vehicles at seaports to grow 26% by 2027
ABI Research says the global use of Automated Guided Vehicles in seaports will exceed 150,000 deployments by 2027. Port authorities are also looking into 5G private networks.
Story image
Cloud
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua to map NZ's forest cover change
Microsoft and Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, are teaming up to develop improved detection of land use and forest cover change in New Zealand.