We first heard from Google about their latest upcoming Bluetooth speaker Google Home back in May and the company’s latest project which is set to give Amazon’s Alexa a run for her money is nearly with us.
With a US launch date now confirmed for November 4th, the Echo alternative promises to deliver everything we hoped it would.
Google Home – Brains and Beauty
With digital voice assistants on the increase, Google are looking to apply the power of their search to the arena of the listening smart device.
So what do we know about Google Home and what exactly is it?
The elevator pitch is that Google Home is a WiFi enabled, Bluetooth speaker which uses both Google’s search engine as well as being primarily powered by Google Assistant.
Physically, Google Home is shorter than the Amazon Echo (albeit with a slightly larger footprint) but looks to be a pretty good size for fitting wherever you might want it around the house.
Featuring a body with killer looks and the inbuilt intelligence of the world’s most intricate search algorithm at its disposal, there’s clearly more to Google Home than meets the eye.
The first things you notice with Google Home are the physical characteristics of the device which include a touchpad control surface on the top for interfacing with the unit – with LED’s in Google’s colors of course – and some incredible looking (and interchangeable) bases.
Similarly to Amazon’s Echo and Dot, the Google Home device will utilize far-field voice recognition to allow for hands-free use without the need to be situated directly beside the microphone.
Clearly taking note of the complaints a lot of users have aired about the ‘always listening’ aspects of the latest and future voice-controlled smart assistants such as Alexa, Google have included a physical microphone mute button on the device to disable the mic (presumably for those moments when you don’t want the world’s most powerful search engine hanging on your every word).
The Home will also incorporate a high excursion speaker within the body of the device for delivering high-quality audio output. Again, we’re expecting that the sound quality will probably be aiming to better that offered by the Amazon Echo, but we’ll see.
Unlike the Echo, Google Home will involve a modular design meaning that the device can be customised during its life including changing the color of the base of the unit to match the decor of your home which is a nice touch.
Much like Alexa, Google Home can be asked the most pressing issues on your mind from conversions and translations to facts and figures.
When comparing Google Home to the Amazon Echo, the obvious advantage of this latest smart assistant is the reduced focus on e-commerce and the implications of that in the future everyday use of the device.
Similarly, for those who already use Google services such as Gmail, Drive or Play Music, Google Home is ready to communicate and sync directly with your Google account.
Home is also promising to deliver an audio-casting feature which will allow you to stream music directly from an Android device to be played through the unit’s speaker system.
Similarly, it looks like you’ll soon also be able to stream from Home to your TV utilizing services such as Netflix and YouTube.
And how about for the smart home?
It’s pretty clear that the age of the virtual home assistant has arrived and there will soon be two big names in town.
Looking to bring some competition into a market that Amazon and Alexa have had free-reign over up until now will see Google Home looking to edge ahead in the race for the smartest voice-controlled home assistant.
For the future of voice-activated smart home control and digital assistance, this competition will likely only lead to even more amazing developments from the two tech giants and will probably see other contenders join the race soon.
While Google Home is currently set for a November release in the US only, UK customers eager to get their hands on a slice of hands-free digital action can still check out the Amazon Echo family of devices which were released this year.