Google exec discusses new Pixel devices, privacy, artificial intelligence and more

Google has stepped up the competition between itself and Apple and Amazon for consumers' hard-earned dollars, launching several new products, including the Pixel XL 2. While the products generally have similar features, the search giant is trying to use artificial intelligence as its hook.

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At an event on Wednesday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai talked extensively about how the tech titan continues to transition from a "mobile-first company" to one that is putting artificial intelligence (AI) first.

In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Google senior marketing executive Daniel Sieberg echoed those thoughts.

"We're excited by these products because they combine hardware, software and artificial intelligence," Sieberg said. "They're made by Google from the ground up and we thought about everything in the design here. The AI part is the part we hope will help enhance people's lives."


In addition to announcing the highly-anticipated Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, Google unveiled the Pixelbook 2-in-1 computer, two new smart speakers, dubbed the Google Home Max and Home Mini, a new Daydream VR headset and a new wearable camera, known as Google Clips.

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What follows below is a Q&A with Sieberg. It has been edited for brevity and clarity.

Fox News: Google is positioning itself as an AI first company, which is prevalent in every product announced yesterday, but Pixel sales are extremely low and Google Home is a distant second to Amazon's Echo lineup. What is the marketing push going to be like, telling consumers these products will supposedly make their lives easier?

Sieberg: We're excited by these products because they combine hardware, software and AI. They're made by Google from ground up. You could have a number of Minis in different rooms, at a cost of $49, and activate all of these features.

We thought about everything in the design here and we've taken care of every detail. The AI part, we hope it will help enhance people's lives.

Fox News: What's behind the push over the past couple of years to have Google really own building its own hardware? Google has dabbled with hardware in the past, but from the outside, it's never been seen as serious, especially with phones. Is there something that's changed inside the company that's led to this thinking?

Sieberg: We really think we can give the best experience to our consumers by being part of the entire process. Whether it's the software people use or the games they play, artificial intelligence is critically important. 


Going forward, it's going to be exceptionally important for Google and we think we can give people the best experience by doing this.

Fox News: A number of the products -- Pixel XL 2, Max, Pixel Buds and to some extent, PixelBook, seem geared towards the higher-end of their markets. What's behind those levels of pricing?

Sieberg: We hope there are a number of options for folks. The PixelBook is on the higher end. But it has a light weight, at just 1 kilogram (2.2 lbs.) and it has a very high screen resolution. We think that as people experience these Pixel devices, they'll want to do things like watch movies on it. 

The bottom line is we want people to have a number of different options and whatever it is that makes sense for people's lives, we have. 

Fox News: What's one example of AI being integrated into a product that was announced yesterday is going to blow people's minds?

Sieberg: Google Clips. You could position the camera in your living room or kitchen and it's intended for parents or pet owners. By the time you get your phone out to capture a cute event, it might be too late. Clips captures several seconds of video and thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence, it identifies the people who are most important to you and records those moments. It leaves you free to be in the moment and not worry about grabbing your phone. 

Fox News: Privacy is obviously an issue, especially with devices that can hear your every word, such as smart speakers. Amazon Echo's have already been hacked -- how do you try to address concerns about these new devices?

Sieberg: We're serious about addressing people's concerns about privacy. For the Home Max or Mini, you can turn microphone off if you want. We want to put that into people's hands. For Google Clips, the content is stored locally on the device. We want you as the user to decide where that content shows up and when it shows up.

Follow Chris Ciaccia on Twitter @Chris_Ciaccia