(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Google's 2018 product event revealed the company's newest products and OS update. New devices include the Google Pixel 3, the Pixel Slate, and Google Home Hub. But there were also some important software and app announcements bundled in.

These were the two biggest ones:

1. New "Top Shot" feature in camera app

Google spent a lot of the Pixel 3 announcement talking about the phone's upgraded camera features, which were almost all based on software and artificial intelligence.

The most significant one is the new Top Shot feature, which comes burst mode with intelligent HDR processing to make sure you get a great shot in the most important moments by giving you several to choose from. Google said the Pixel 3's Top Shot is unique in how it picks your best photos from the bunch.

Top Shot uses AI and machine learning to scan for open eyes, smiles, and if you're looking at the camera. The camera also lowers the resolution on unimportant parts of the image to save device storage.

If "Smart Capture" appears on a photo, you swipe up to see the best photos Google AI selected.

The Pixel 3 also includes "Night Sight" which lets you take quality photos in low light. Google said its new "Super Res Zoom" is perfect for capturing great photos at a distance without compromising quality or resolution when zooming in.

Google's new phone has two front-facing cameras for "Group Selfie" mode. The company said it packs 184 percent more details and scenery into a frame than the iPhone XS.

The Pixel 3 camera also integrates Google Lens with Style Search. For example, Google said if you see a pair of shoes you like, point the camera at it, and Google Lens will offer similar products to shop for.

Google Lens can also return local theater listings if pointed at a movie poster, translate signs, or generate an actor's bio. And now it's directly built into the Pixel 3 camera.

And of course, there are some fun AR stickers available in Playground. In celebration of the Marvel Cinematic Universe 10th anniversary, the Pixel includes lifelike, interactive AR stickers of heros like The Hulk and Iron Man.

You can also drop a dancing Childish Gambino into your video, for example. Stickers interact with each other and can also respond to your actions or facial expressions in a shot.

"These characters are rendered to feel lifelike in that sense and they even interact with each other," Liza Ma, Google product manager said.

The stickers are accessible through front and rear cameras. Playground will launch for Pixel 3 first and show up later on Pixel 1 and 2.

SEE: Google makes its Pixel Launcher home screen app available to download

2. Google Home app now controls the smart home

Also introduced was the new Google Home Hub, an Amazon Echo Show-like device that is a digital assistant with a screen. The Hub enhances Google voice searches by adding visual results. The device will live up to its name as it umbrellas the rest of Google's Home products.

The problem with many smart home products is there's a different app for each. Google showed off a new dashboard for the Google Home app that lets you manage multiple smart devices from one app. While this is being launched as part of the Home Hub, it is also a promising new development for the Google Home app itself evolving beyond its roots in Chromecast and Google Assistant.

The Home View dashboard is available with the Home app's redesign, so purchasing the new Pixel or Home Hub isn't necessary. The dashboard supports lights, thermostats, security cameras and other devices.

Swiping down on your smartphone screen gives you quick access to a dashboard with the status of all your smart devices. Home View also gives a room-by-room view for more detailed control.

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(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)


  1. At its #MadebyGoogle 2018 event, the redesigned Google Home app was announced to serve as a smart home dashboard, showing the status of all your smart devices.
  2. The new Pixel 3 was also announced and it includes new AI-based software features that improve the camera, led by "Top Shot," which selects your best photo from a burst while also enhancing the quality with intelligent HDR.

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Shelby is an Associate Writer for CNET's She served as Editor in Chief for the Louisville Cardinal newspaper at the University of Louisville. She interned as Creative Non-Fiction Editor for Miracle Monocle literary magazine. Her work appears in Glass Mountain Magazine, Bookends Review, Soundings East, and on Her cat, Puck, is the best cat ever.