At I/O 2016 Google revealed its often rumoured Amazon Echo competitor, Google Home, a voice-activated assistant equipped with an always-listening microphone.
“Google Home is unmatched in far field voice recognition,” said Mario Quieroz from Google’s Chromecast team, while unveiling the device.
Home’s build is more stout and sleeker than Amazon’s somewhat bulky Echo, and features LED ornamentation. Most notably, it also has Google’s search algorithm built directly into it, allowing users to easily make the same searches with Home that they would via a desktop or smartphone. Calendar and Chromecast Audio are also compatible with Google Home.
“We think of this assistant as an ambient experience that extends across devices,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai during I/O 2016’s keynote. “It’ll be on their phones, the devices they wear, in their cars, and in their homes.” Pichai says that Home will work closely with its Google Assistant chat bot technology, another topic discussed at the keynote.
Another unique feature included with Google Home is the fact that it has the ability to hook directly into any wireless Bluetooth speaker, similar to the Echo Dot, though unlike Amazon’s assistant, Google’s device is apparently compatible with multiple speakers simultaneously. This means users will be able to set up wireless Bluetooth speakers in different rooms of their home, all linked together through Google Home.
It also seems the rumours are true and Google intends to make Home act as a third-party device compatible smart home hub, similar to Amazon’s Echo.
Google Home will reportedly be ready to release later in 2016. Canadian availability, as well as U.S. and international pricing has not been revealed.
If you’re interested in Google Home, the Mountain View-based company has launched a information sign-up page.
Related reading: Google shows off Google Assistant’s powerful chatbot capabilities