Well, the rumors were true. At its IO developer conference in California today, Google announced Home, the company’s own take on the Amazon Echo.
Much like the Echo, Home is basically a small speaker you plug into the wall, with a series of far-field microphones tuned to hear you from across the room. It’s powered by Google’s voice technology – now the new and improved Google Assistant – can handle all the basics: answering questions, controlling music, or controlling some gadgets.
“This event was off the charts”
Gary Vaynerchuk was so impressed with TNW Conference 2016 he paused mid-talk to applaud us.
It’s a Google device, so of course it supports Google Cast. That means you can stream music from your phone, like Chromecast Audio, or Home to control any other cast-enabled devices in your home. Google says Home has been tweaked to provide high-quality audio, but we won’t know for sure until we can give it a go ourselves.
It also looks a bit like a giant salt shaker. That said, you can at least customize the design using a modular shell system.
Unfortunately, we don”t know when Google Home will begin to go on sale other than some point later this year, or even how much it will cost, though you can sign up to be notified.
Amazon may have beaten Google to the punch, but Google’s voice technology is arguably more advanced – especially after the significant improvements announced today at IO. In other words: Your move, Amazon.