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.
For the past year and a half, the tech world has been recovering from Amazon’s surprise announcement of the Echo. Now, Google is finally doing what everybody wanted it to do: release a competitor. And it’s called Google Home. It’s coming out later this year for an unspecified price. You can sign up to be notified for updates at the Home Website.
Mario Queiroz is the executive behind the project. His title, VP of product management, is the sort you hear a lot. But you know him better as the man who has launched the only truly successful living room product Google has ever launched: Chromecast.
You can think of Home as his next act. It’s essentially what you’d expect if you were looking for Google to create an Echo competitor. It’s a small speaker you plug into the wall with always-listening, far-field microphones that can hear you from across the room. It’ll answer your questions, play your music, and control some of your home automation gadgets. The Home will be better at most of those things than the 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.
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.
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.
Your move, Amazon.
Google’s Project ARA coming to Developers’ hands this fall. Check out here.