Google’s Pixel to run AI on-device

Philippine Tribune
Philippine Tribune

NEW YORK CITY: Google on Wednesday said its latest premium-priced Pixel phone would have powerful generative artificial intelligence (AI) models running independently on the device, as the search engine giant seeks to lure buyers away from the latest iPhone.

The announcement by Google caps the autumn release season for big tech hardware that saw Apple unveil the iPhone 15 series and Meta officially launch its latest virtual reality (VR) headset.

LAUNCH Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro phones are displayed during a Google product launch event in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Google claims Pixel will have more powerful generative AI as it tries to outdo rival Apple’s iPhone in drawing more buyers. AFP PHOTO

LAUNCH Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro phones are displayed during a Google product launch event in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Google claims Pixel will have more powerful generative AI as it tries to outdo rival Apple’s iPhone in drawing more buyers. AFP PHOTO

LAUNCH Google Pixel 8 and Google Pixel 8 Pro phones are displayed during a Google product launch event in New York on Wednesday, Oct. 4, 2023. Google claims Pixel will have more powerful generative AI as it tries to outdo rival Apple’s iPhone in drawing more buyers. AFP PHOTO

Running on a powerful chip, Google’s Pixel 8 Pro would carry out certain AI functions on the device itself instead of relying on transfers from cloud data centers that require heavy bandwidth.

At a launch event in New York, Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of devices and services at Google, said that the company’s AI teams had figured out how to “distill” AI models “into a version efficient enough to run on our flagship Pixel.”

This would greatly enhance existing AI tools on Pixel phones, such as removing blemishes or unwanted intrusions in photographs.

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Later, this on-device ability would expand to other AI features, Osterloh said.

Pixel phones would also begin testing an AI-amped assistant that would bring many of the abilities of Google’s ChatGPT-style Bard onto the phone.

In time, the company said the AI assistant would provide real-time help such as choosing the best path for a hike, sifting through emails or planning a birthday party.

This would be handled through either spoken word, on-screen prompts or by using images, in a similar way that the more powerful chatbots work already.

“Assistant with Bard combines personalized help with reasoning and genitive capabilities,” said Monika Gupta, vice president of product management at Google.

Big tech’s hardware release season has featured many promises of AI enhancements, including Amazon teasing an upgrade of its Alexa voice assistant to function in a more human-like and “smart” fashion.

As with the other announcements, Google said that many of these AI powers were at an early phase and would be enhanced gradually.

Google caught some by surprise with news that the Pixel 8 Pro would also come equipped with a temperature reader, with approval pending from US regulators to use it for measuring body temperature.

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