Google confirmed that it will have an Amazon Echo competitor, called Google Home. Announced during the keynote of Google I/O 2016, Home will serve as a hardware avatar of sorts for its new Google Assistant conversational language search tool.
Google Home will be available later this year, executives said, for an undisclosed price. The company showed off the small, cylindrical device in white, but it will feature bases in custom colors.
Mario Queiroz, vice president of product management and a member of the Chromecast team, said that Google’s aspiration was to make Google Home useful in one of the most enjoyable places in the world: your home. “When I walk into my home I should continue to have access to the Google Assistant, but be able to interact with it, in a hands-free way, simply by using my voice, without having to take out my phone.”
Home will allow you to enjoy music and entertainment throughout your house, manage everyday tasks more easily, and ask Google what you want to know. The small device uses Google Assistant, a new conversational interface that Google is rolling out as a next-generation search environment.
Google chief executive Sundar Pichai said earlier that the company has been specifically testing natural language search in noisy environments, apparently preparing Google Home to be used in kitchens and playrooms. In fact, Home doesn’t have any buttons on it whatsoever.
Google Home will stream music from the cloud using Google Music and other services, using Wi-Fi, or from your Android phone or tablet using Google Cast. You’ll also be able to set alarms, manage shopping lists, and connect to your smart home, including Nest products. And, of course, it has search built in, so you can ask questions such as, “How much fat is in an avocado?”
Unlike the Amazon Echo, however, third-party services will not be included at launch, so no booking a car or sending flowers. That’s a weakness that Amazon will be able to exploit in the short term.
The arrival of Google Home had been previously reported by The New York Times as well as Recode, which dubbed the device Google Chirp. Google promised that you’ll be able to monitor its Home progress via Google.com/home.