Yesterday, Google held an event to announce its vision for the future. The company also launched multiple new products, including a new flagship phone to compete with the iPhone.

That's right. Google held a keynote, and everybody's talking about it.

Sound familiar?

What makes this more than just a little significant is that Apple, the company that built a reputation for shaping the world of technology over the past few decades, held its own keynote less than a month ago.

Before you continue reading, you should know I'm actually an Apple fan. I use an iPhone and iPad, and I still prefer these devices to the competition. But I consider myself an "equal opportunity" tech user, and have supported both Microsoft and Google for their recent moving and shaking.

And as I watched Google's event, which was branded "Made by Google," I felt something I haven't felt in a long time when watching one of these things.

Excitement.

A Changing of the guard

Google's event wasn't all exciting, mind you. Some segments went too long, and the speakers could have used some presentation training.

But the products felt fresh, and everything seemed to come together in a way we haven't seen for a while.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai is a great symbol of the company. Admittedly, Pichai's not as charismatic as Apple's late co-founder and visionary, Steve Jobs.

But listen to Pichai for a few minutes and you'll see that he's not only very smart, he also has that special knack to see where the future is heading, and to focus on the right things. Often as he spoke, I found myself nodding in agreement.

For example, consider Pichai's analysis of the current shift in technology:

When I look ahead at where computing is headed, it's clear to me that we are heading, evolving from a mobile first to an A.I. first world.

Mind you, this isn't a new, brilliant revelation. After all, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella recently announced a similar shift for his company.

But Pichai's vision has more clarity--he seems to get what the common person is looking for from A.I. It was Steve Jobs who famously said, "A lot of times, people don't know what they want until you've shown it to them."

Where Nadella tries to force Microsoft's version of A.I. on consumers, Pichai and his team make us want theirs.

Of course, if there's one thing Jobs and Apple did well it was presentation. They made great products, for sure. But they also knew how to use visuals and music to work our emotions--to get us to feel the same way about those products as they did.

Rather than just take a page out of Apple's book (which I feel Microsoft has done with its marketing), Google's presentation is beautiful, while showing off its unique, fun personality.

Just check out the ad for the Pixel, Google's new iPhone competitor:

Did you notice the direct digs at Apple?

And how about this one, introducing Google Wifi:

Pichai also introduced the company's new products in two of the hottest areas of tech. The Daydream View is the first headset for Google's Daydream virtual reality platform. And Google Home is a "smart home assistant," similar to the Amazon Echo, which will put all of that A.I. to work in your home--and provide a hub for appliances that connect to the internet of things.

There's a certain appeal to a company having full control, beginning to end, over both software and the hardware that will run it. That played a large role in Apple's climb to the top, and it's part of what has made Microsoft exciting again. Now, Google is foraying deeper into that same world, making things even more interesting.

Along with Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon, Google will be fighting hard over the next few years to expand its empire, and to create the ecosystem of choice for the modern consumer. Since each company holds certain advantages over its competitors, it has been difficult to pick a clear leader of the pack.

That is, until yesterday.

Because from where I'm sitting, Google just upped the ante for everyone.

Published on: Oct 5, 2016
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