Pixel 7 event: 5 times Google threw shade at Apple

Made by Google
Made by Google (Image credit: Future)

The search engine giant hosted a Made by Google event on Oct. 6 to showcase its new portfolio of Pixel products, including the Google Pixel Watch, the Google Pixel Slate, and the new Pixel 7 line.

However, we couldn't help but detect a slight tone of, "Hey, don't forget that we did it first!" after keynote speakers reminded the audience that Google kicked off several smartphone trends that Apple now follows. And of course, one rep couldn't help but make a dig at Apple's resistance to jumping on the RCS bandwagon.

That being said, here are all the shady moments we spotted throughout the Pixel event.

1. We popularized the always-on display feature 

"We take it as a compliment when others in the industry follow our lead," Brian Rakowski, Google's VP of Product Management, said, adding that it was Google who kicked off the always-on display and at-a-glance feature with the introduction of the Pixel 2 phone.

Always-on display

Always-on display (Image credit: Future)

Apple made a big to-do about the new always-on display perk now featured on the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max phones, announcing that it lets users glance at their handsets to spot key information (e.g. time, Live Activities and iOS 16 lock screen widgets). As such, with Google hinting that it has popularized the always-on display at the Pixel 7 event, we couldn't help but detect a hint of, "you got that idea from us!" shade from the search engine giant.

2. We set the standard for Night Mode

Rakowski reminded viewers that it was Google who set the bar for night-mode photography with its Night Sight feature that launched with Pixel 3.

Night Sight

Night Sight (Image credit: Future)

The Pixel 3 launched in October 2018 with the Night Sight perk, but Apple didn't jump aboard the night-mode photography craze until it introduced the iPhone 11 in 2019. Google could technically say that it laid the groundwork for enhanced nighttime shots, but Apple can arguably use the ol' "we took your idea and made it better" line. 

Sifting through face-offs that pit the Pixel's Night Sight against the iPhone's Night Mode (e.g. Input Mag and Screen Rant), reviewers have a preference for the latter, concluding that that nighttime photos appear brighter and clearer on the iOS device.

3. We had car-crash detection, like, 3 years ago

With Rakowski stating that Google introduced car-car detection to Pixel phones three years ago, we can't help but hear a, "Oh, that is so 2019" tone in regards to Apple implementing the feature across the iPhone 14 line.

Crash detection on Pixel

Crash detection on Pixel (Image credit: Future)

Google added that it has plenty other safety-oriented features, including Safety Check and Emergency Sharing. The former alerts emergency contacts if you fail to check in with the Personal Safety app; the latter gives your location to selected contacts if you're in danger.

If Apple wanted to one-up Google, it'd likely remind the search engine giant that the new iPhone 14 has an emergency SOS via satellite feature, allowing users to contact emergency-service providers without Wi-Fi or cell service. Checkmate! 

4. Why aren't you using RCS?

"When it comes to text messages, Pixel uses RCS for enhanced media sharing and end-to-end encryption," Rakowski said. The Google VP emphasized that Rich Communication Services (RCS), an SMS protocol that facilitates interoperability between devices for messaging, is the "modern industry standard."

Throwing shade at Apple, he added that it's already been adopted by most of the industry, evoking some laughter from its audience. It's no secret that Google has been campaigning for Apple to hop aboard the RCS bandwagon.

"It's time for Apple to fix texting," one online campaign said. "It's not about the color of the bubbles. It's the blurry videos, broken group chats, missing read receipts and typing indicators, no texting over Wi-Fi, and more. These problems exist because Apple refuses to adopt modern texting standards when people with iPhones and Android phones text each other."

Apple, however, is refusing to budge. The Cupertino-based tech giant is stubborn about ditching its proprietary services and products in favor of standardization. Case in point: European Union lawmakers had to coerce Apple to adopt USB-C, otherwise, Apple would never even consider eliminating its lightning ports and cables.

5. The Pixel 7's design is better than the iPhone 14

Google threw some shade at Apple when it bragged about the Pixel 7's "smooth, rounded surfaces," which is a total 180 from the iPhone 14's squared-off edges. Google noted that we pull our phones in and out of our bags and pockets a hundred times a day, so the Pixel 7's design is more ergonomic and comfortable as we frequently reach for the handset.

iPhone 14 Pro Max

iPhone 14 Pro Max (Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Sorry to Apple, but in this case, Google is right. Unfortunately, wrapping your hand around the squared-off iPhone isn't the most pleasant feeling.

Bottom line

Although Google threw some shade at Apple about following its lead, the search engine giant certainly took a few pages out of Apple's playbook, too.

For example, Google announced a new video feature called Cinematic Blur, a perk that brings a rack-focus effect to videos. It's awfully similar to the Cinematic Mode feature Apple introduced with the iPhone 13. Google's focus on security is another strategy that it's adopting from Apple as more people seek devices that minimize their digital footprint while browsing the web.

The moral of the story? Both Apple and Google borrow eye-catching ideas from each other and attempt to make them better. If anyone makes the claim that Google is copying Apple, or vice versa, just share this article; it'll shut 'em up for good!

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!