Microsoft Build and Google I/O are over. Which came out on top?

google assistant io 2018 sundar pichai

Last week, Microsoft and Google gave us competing views of the future of computing.

“The world is becoming a computer,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said at Build, honing its demos on artificial intelligence and cloud computing. Like Microsoft, Google demoed how voice can be given to AI systems, but Google’s I/O demos were more consumer-driven, which probably explains the results of the poll we took below. Android P, self-driving cars, and a smarter Assistant turned out to be more relatable than business drones and digital conference rooms for most people.

One of the most memorable moments from either conference was Google’s Duplex demo, which simultaneously excited and terrified the entire internet. Duplex leverages Google’s advanced work with natural speech, and the technology was shown incorporated into Assistant to give it a variety of voices and the ability to make phone calls on your behalf. At the onset, Assistant can only handle simple calls, like scheduling appointments, and the results were nothing short of impressive. Assistant sounded human, and its voice and speech was very natural, and it definitely overshadowed Microsoft’s demo of how Cortana and Alexa will be integrated.

Perhaps the biggest testament to how natural Assistant sounded when it made calls on your behalf is the backlash Google received. Consumers are questioning the ethics of having a computer “fool” receptionists into thinking that they are talking to a human, leading Google to amend its policy to disclose Assistant-made calls in the future.

Microsoft’s most tangible demo was its conference room technology, where Cortana was able to identify all attendees in a conference room and offer more precise closed captioning by offering real-time meeting transcripts denoting what was said and by whom. Microsoft claims that this will improve accessibility, and its demo showed how a deaf employee was able to collaborate with her colleagues thanks to Cortana’s help. On the other hand, Google took a medical approach to accessibility, by using AI for faster disease diagnosis, leading to better patient outcomes. This makes specialty care more accessible, Google said.

Google may notch an early win today with Google Assistant’s Duplex technology proving that we can give voice to AI, but Microsoft’s early bet on the intelligent edge and the intelligent cloud may better prepare it to affect bigger changes in the future. Microsoft is reconstructing the foundation for its future, and Google is still building its house.

Smart Home

The C By GE Smart LED Bulbs Work Seamlessly With Google Home

The Smart Light Starter Kit contains a smart lightbulb and a Google Home Mini. For those seeking to try out smart lights in their home, it's a great option and is currently on sale for just $35 through Google.
Home Theater

These top-line smart speakers conduct the most sophisticated symphony: Your life

Stuck talking to yourself? Get an A.I. assistant to keep you company! Whether you put your stock in Alexa, Google Assistant, or Siri, we've picked out the best smart speaker for any smart home ecosystem.
Computing

Microsoft is ‘handing even more of online life’ to Google, Mozilla CEO says

Not everyone is happy with Microsoft's switch to Google's Chromium engine. In a new blog post, Mozilla CEO Chris Beard writes that he believes the move is "handing online life control" to Google.
Mobile

Google confirms Allo chat app will shut down in 2019

Another day, another messaging app reportedly shutting down. Following reports of Google Hangouts shutting down, Google Allo might be next. While Google has yet to confirm, the tech giant may be putting an end to the chat app soon.
Computing

Windows 10 user activity logs are sent to Microsoft despite users opting out

Windows 10 Privacy settings may not be enough to stop PCs from releasing user activity data to Microsoft. Users discovered that opting out of having their data sent to Microsoft does little to prevent it from being released.
Computing

Intel's discrete graphics will be called 'Xe,' IGP gets Adapative Sync next year

Intel has officially dubbed its discrete graphics product Intel Xe, and the company also provided details about its Gen11 IGP. The latter will include adaptive sync support and will arrive in 2019.
Computing

Intel answers Qualcomm's new PC processors by pairing Core and Atom in 'Foveros'

Intel has announced a new packaging technology called 'Foveros' that makes it easier for the company to place multiple chips together on one package. That includes chips based on different Intel architectures, like Core and Atom.
Computing

Razer’s classic DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse drops to $40 on Amazon

If you're looking to pick up a new gaming mouse for the holidays, Amazon has you covered with this great deal on the classic Razer DeathAdder Elite gaming mouse with customizable buttons, RGB lighting, and a 16,000 DPI optical sensor.
Computing

Intel's dedicated GPU is not far off -- here's what we know

Did you hear? Intel is working on a dedicated graphics card. It's called Arctic Sound and though we don't know a lot about it, we know that Intel has some ex-AMD Radeon graphics engineers developing it.
Computing

Firefox 64 helps keep your numerous tabs under control

Mozilla officially launched Firefox 64 by placing new features into the laps of its users including new tab management abilities, intelligent suggestions, and a task manager for keeping Firefox's power consumption under control.
Computing

Here's our guide to how to charge your laptop using a USB-C cable

Charging via USB-C is a great way to power up your laptop. It only takes one cable and you can use the same one for data as well as power -- perfect for new devices with limited port options.
Computing

Apple MacBook Air vs. Microsoft Surface Pro 6

The MacBook Air was updated with more contemporary components and a more modern design, but is that enough to compete with standouts like Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 detachable tablet?
Computing

Installing fonts in Windows 10 is quick and easy -- just follow these steps

Want to know how to install fonts in Windows 10? Here's our guide on two easy ways to get the job done, no matter how many you want to add to your existing catalog, plus instructions for deleting fonts.
Computing

Email take-backsies! Gmail's unsend feature is one of its best

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.