Google has taken the wraps off Google Home, its push to bring the Google Assistant into the heart of the family, and push back at Amazon’s Alexa in the process. A compact, almost teardrop-shaped gadget, Google Home works as a WiFi speaker but also a way to navigate Google searches by voice, and more.
On the entertainment front, you’ll be able to request music from various cloud services and play it through the speaker system built into Google Home.
Using the same Google Cast system as the Chromecast Music, Google Home will support multiroom streaming all controlled by voice. You’ll be able to ask “Play The Clash in the living room” and the stream will automatically start.
The same is true for video, with the ability to request clips and movies to stream via a Chromecast plugged into a TV.
On the tasks front, there’ll be speech control over alarms, shopping lists, and more, just as we’re familiar with from Android phones. Text messages can be sent by voice, restaurant bookings made or adjusted,
However, there’ll be support for various smart home products, including Nest and a variety of the “most popular” lights and more. In the future, Google says, it expects Google Home to support things like ordering a car, sending flowers, making purchases, and more by voice.
Finally, Google Home is of course a search device. It supports complex search queries, but can also get to know the user and pull in things like contextually-relevant results, traffic alerts, package tracking, and more.
Google Home itself has no buttons, and the casing itself will be customizable. The bottom speaker section will be interchangeable to match different rooms.
While Google CEO Sundar Pichai name-checked Amazon’s Echo and the work the retailer had done bringing the Alexa assistant to life, that didn’t mean the company pulled any punches on performance. Google Home is “unmatched in far-field voice recognition” the company claims.
As for the services Google Home offers, it sounds a lot like what we saw Viv demonstrate earlier this month. That, developed by the team responsible for the original Siri, does a similar sort of contextual linking of services.
Google Home will be available later in 2016, the company says.
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