Anirudh RegidiOct 04, 2016 23:51:57 IST
Google seems to have effectively sounded the death knell for Amazon’s Echo (and Alexa) in just one night. Google’s #madebygoogle event held just a few hours ago revealed one ground-breaking announcement after another, not least of which was Google Home.
Just like the Echo and its companion AI Alexa, Google Home is a speaker with Google Assistant integration. If you didn’t know, Google Assistant is essentially Google Now, but with a far greater scope.
On the surface, Google Home is the same as Amazon’s Echo. It’s a speaker that responds to voice commands, it answers your queries, populates your shopping lists and more. It’s that more that sets it apart from Echo, however.
If you have a Chromecast, Google Home can control your TV. If you have Chromecast Audio, Google Home can control your speakers. If you have multiple Google Home devices, Google Home can play and sync music playback across all of them. If you have a compatible smart home setup, Google Home can control your house.
You can say, “OK, Google, play Stranger Things” and Google Home will connect to your Chromecast, fire up Netflix and start playing the series on your Chromecast connected TV. This is brilliantly convenient.
Google Home also integrates across all Google Services. Asking Google Home how much time it’ll take to get to work, for example, will throw up information on your commute time via Google Maps.
The capabilities of Google Home know no bounds.
So what exactly is Google Home? Google Home is a smart speaker. It’s a kind of pod that’s connected to the internet. Speakers are embedded in the base of the unit and microphones in the top. A bunch of LED lights beneath the top surface indicate when the speaker is listening to you.
To interact with the speaker, you simply say, “OK, Google” or tap on the capacitive top surface. You state your query and Google Assistant will respond. The mechanism itself is very simple, but the connected AI makes it powerful.
The speaker is smart in other ways as well. Assuming you have multiple Google Home devices scattered around your house (if only) and you holler, “OK, Google,” only the device that picks up your voice best will respond. The algorithm assumes that the device with the best reception is closest to you.
Google Home is available for pre-order right now in the US at an asking price of $129 (around Rs 8,600). The device will come to India, but the final date and price aren’t clear yet.
The base of the devices can be switched out for a different coloured one if you need it to match your furniture or something.
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