In response to Amazon’s success with the Echo, Google announced a product called Google Home at the Google I/O Developer Conference earlier this year. Since that time, we have heard very little about Google’s voice activated assistant. At Google’s hardware event earlier this week, the company finally provided us with more information about their new product. Here is what we now know.
Google Home will cost $130.00 and will include a free six month trial of YouTube Red. The product is available in Google’s online store today. Shipping will not occur until November 4th. There is a mute button on the Home as well as four LED lights on the top of the device. These lights will let you know when Google Home is listening to you. Aside from these options, there are no other physical buttons to be found on the device.
Google has been stressing the importance of a customized user experience. They want everyone to have “their own Google.” Google Home is an essential step forward in that direction. A new feature called “My Day” will give users a daily morning update with the current weather, commute times, and a summary of your schedule. Of course, all of this works on an opt in basis and is entirely optional.
Google is late to the game, undoubtedly. With its developed line of Echo devices, Amazon has already cornered much of the early adopter market for these kind of devices. This lead also means that Amazon’s Echo line already works with the vast majority of smart home gadgets, be it Nest thermostats, Philips Hue lights, or any of the others that can even come bundled with the Echo.
Unsurprisingly, Google has partnered with Nest, Phillips, Samsung, and iFTTT to support their home devices. That is not a lot of partners but IFTTT does support a decent number of devices already which means that Google can piggyback off of their lead.
The Home will integrate with Google’s Chromecast. As for music, Google Home will feature built-in support for Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, as well as others. You can set up a default music service too so you do not always have to tell Google that you want to hear the song “on Pandora.” Google Home will also support podcasts.
The nice thing about a device like this is that it is essentially future proof. Its intelligence lies in the cloud and is therefore potentially endlessly upgradable. Of course, this requires that the hardware- and the microphone in particular- work extremely well. Hands-on time will be required before anymore can be said in this regard. Google has mentioned that the microphones are the best in their class and that the speakers will deliver a full range of sound levels with rich bass.
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