A major announcement that came from this year’s Google I/O was the Google Home. The device is pegged as a major competitor to Amazon’s Echo, which hasn’t really been seen or heard of on our side of the world, but in the US has ruled the smart assistant for homes segment for the past year.
Google Home is a small, little speaker with a modular casing where the bottom shell can be customised in specific colours when the device is on sale. The speaker is an always-plug-in speaker and follows the same conversational approach as Google Assistant. It can be spoken to and will manage everyday tasks and has a vocal interactive method to control your media at home. It will also sync with Google Cast, Nest and other IoT products, allowing it to be a central point of control for all these products.
The speaker is always listening and uses far-field mics so you can talk from across the room and it will hear you perfectly. Since it has to be plugged in always, it isn’t portable but on the plus side, it provides better sound with better bass and clearer highs. This is very important as the primary function of such devices is to play music. It will also have a few lights to help you understand different functions as they are performed.
An important point where the Home trumps the Amazon Echo is that multiple Homes can be used in multiple rooms with the same Google account. This will prove to be a great advantage as you will be able to talk to one speaker and tell it to play music on the others. It will obviously work on Google Play Music and will handle other Google Cast music services such as Spotify. For now the Home can only be used with one account at a time, but multiple account functionality is said to be coming in the near future.
Google has chosen not to open up a developer API for Google Home yet as it wants to take some time to develop the device to be a natural interpreter between man and machine.
There is no news yet of availability on our side of the world but it will release in the US at the end of the year.