Make room for Google Home, Amazon Echo/Alexa
The tech giant announces its new front end for everything you do in your home.
Google wants to become the genie for your home.
Today, the tech giant announced Google Home at the opening of its Google I/O conference in Mountain View, California, confirming earlier reports. It’s a voice-activated device that looks like a small bookshelf speaker and acts as a voice-recognizing, intelligent front end to music and other entertainment, everyday tasks like calendar appointments, Google’s search engine and home automation systems like Google’s own Nest.
It’s an obvious response to Amazon’s popular Echo device and Alexa intelligent agent, introduced in the fall of 2014. But while Amazon can offer the world’s largest retail store and content inventory, Google has search and its immense knowledge and product ecosystem.
Users access the always-listening device, according to a video shown during the I/O keynote address, by saying “Okay, Google.” The device itself, which includes a speaker and microphone, can be customized with different colored or textured bottom enclosures to match a room’s design.
The video, which showed a typical family employing the device in the morning rush to work and school, indicated that Google Home is designed to work with devices throughout a house, including speakers, TVs and lights via home automation. This draws not only on the Nest advantage, but the large number of Google Chromecast units, which allow wireless display on TV screens and attached home stereo systems.
Google Home, which will only support one account initially, is intended for release this year at an as-yet-undisclosed price. More than a dozen services are already integrated, including Uber, Pandora, OpenTable, Spotify, WhatsApp and Ticketmaster.