tech2 News StaffOct 04, 2016 10:32:42 IST
Amazon surprised everyone with the Echo connected speaker that came with Siri-like assistant called Alexa. No one was expecting such a feat from Amazon, especially after the Fire phones debacle. The product received rave reviews as it served as a control centre for all smart home devices. Now Google plans to go head-on with Amazon with the all-new Google Home expected to be released for users tomorrow. With Alexa's plans to take on your kitchen, hall or probably the whole house, Google has set the stage for its Home.
Google Home, just like Echo, is a Wi-Fi speaker that works as a control centre for your home and your voice will be the remote control. Google also went ahead and announced Google Assistant, which is also a Siri-like bot akin to Alexa, taking cues from Google Now. Users can set alarms, manage to-do list, connect smart home, home networking syncing, Nest devices and so on. Further in the future it will be able to control stuff outside your homes – opening garage doors, ordering flowers, etc. Any member of your family can ask anything and it will provide with an answer. It features the Farfield voice recognition technology, so it knows who is asking the query and offers personalised results. These queries can range from search results, accessing apps or to remind you about your schedule.
It makes use of the Chromecast Audio technology to play music via streaming services, or you can simply push your local music library from your phone. Cast also supports multi room playback and let you control your video content, just tell Google Home and the relevant content will appear on your connected TV. Now Amazon devices don't sync with each other, and that's where Google's Home could have an edge. Google will also allow more personalisation of the device with colours and so on. Having said that, Amazon has ensured Alexa gets timely updates and we've also seen Dots. Amazon had launched Echo along with Alexa just in time for 2014 holiday season, and Google's Home comes in two years later. The head-start allowed Amazon to improve on the product.
Google, that is now playing catch up with Amazon, has to sketch an in-depth plan. Many call Echo and Alexa an 'accidental win', but a win is a win after all. It is to be seen how Google Home manages to woo audiences. Apart from how it fares, it's the reach of Google's Home that could be a deciding factor. So, how soon will Google allow third parties to integrate its Google Assistant-kind software into their devices, just like Alexa is open to all. Rumours trickling in reveal that it could just be in the pipeline.
Along with Chromecast, Google Home is also said to support Samsung SmartThings IoT platform. And allowing integration within third-party smart speakers may just make things difficult for Amazon. However for years, we've seen how Amazon skillfully managed to sell its tablets by camouflaging a forked Android OS. Looks like, Echo's success has miffed Google and in a bid to out-throw its competitor, Google plans to cut off vendors'who products support Alexa, or atleast so says some reports hinting at anti-competitive methods. Google is also planning to rebrand the Google Cast app to the Google Home app.
Another deciding factor could be the price point, Google plans to go head on with Amazon and will reportedly price the Home $50 less at $129 (approx Rs 8,579).
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