MOST TECH companies are touting their wares in Las Vegas this week, but Google generally tends to take a step back, and you'd be forgiven for thinking there's nothing to say so soon after Christmas.
In reality, there's plenty going on. We've already mentioned Remix OS, which we've bigged up more than once in this column, and is going to be downloadable as an x86 edition for free starting next week. We've got a lot of time for Remix OS and it could provide a real, credible alternative for people who are disillusioned with Windows and have thrown a lot of money at Android apps.
But Google has had plenty to talk about indirectly of its own. Android TV and Google Cast are getting some serious love at CES as the platforms come of age.
Android TV, which has already surpassed the lacklustre success of its predecessor, Google TV, has shown itself popular enough to be adopted by Sony, Sharp and Philips, as well as the stunning Nvidia Shield TV console. But the company has now announced that a whole new set of manufacturers will come aboard, including Arcelik, Vestel, RCA, Hisense, TCL and Bang & Olufsen.
Not all of those names instantly ring bells for the average consumer, but take Vestel as a good example. It is the biggest OEM for TVs in the world and, although not a high street name, it rebadges its televisions for a whole host of names you will have heard of. We've seen a preview of its OEM offering to manufacturers and let's just say it looks good.
Meanwhile, Google Cast goes way beyond the Chromecast dongle. It's an integral part of Android TV and, with an audio version of the dongle launched last year, it was only a matter of time before the Google Cast protocol started being adopted directly into speakers, amplifiers and other audio equipment. B&O, Harmon (whose brands include JBL), Onkyo, Phillips, Pioneer and Raumfeld have made CES announcements that they will join Sony and LG in supporting Google Cast.
Multiroom support for Chromecast Audio was introduced late last year, so you'll soon be able to mix and match speakers and devices and create a multiroom system with a common standard.
Finally this week, thanks to an error in Google Translate a number of phrases were somewhat contentiously translated into Ukrainian as a result of what is suspected to be some dodgy AI in its algorithms which chose words based on 'the word on the street'.
'Russian Federation' became 'Mordor', the fictional setting for The Lord of the Rings, while 'Russians' became 'occupiers' and Russia's foreign minister had his surname 'Lavrov' translated as 'sad little horse'.
Maybe Google Translate is actually becoming sentient and has a wicked sense of humour. µ
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