During Google’s press event today, the company took wraps off its much-anticipated product, Google Home. A smart speaker equipped with always-listening microphones, Google Home is powered by the Google Assistant and ties into all of the company’s services to provide an experience similar to that of Amazon’s Alexa speakers. Hit the break for full details.
In terms of hardware, Google Home’s design is simple. It features a cylindrical shape, wider at the bottom and tapering toward the top. The lower portion is surrounded by a colored speaker grille that contrasts with the white upper portion. Not only does it project sound at you, but also around you using its side-mounted speakers. For further customization, the bottom portion is removable and can be switched out. At launch there will be three fabric and four metal options available, making it easy to match the decor of any home. Inside the lower portion is a high-excursion speaker that promises “crystal-clear highs and rich bass.”
The top features a couple of visible microphone ports along with a multicolored four dot logo many users will recognize from Google Now’s voice recognition screen. The top surface also doubles as a touchpad, allowing users to control the device’s volume manually. A small mute button sits on the side above the Google logo, allowing the user to temporarily take the always-listening microphones offline. The microphones are equipped with far field voice recognition and advanced natural language processing to ensure Google Home hears you correctly. Providing it the extra boost is AI and machine learning, which will learn from past conditions and adapt itself to provide the best possible audio experience given its place in a room.
Powered by Google Assistant (which we’ve already seen in Allo), Google Home easily brings up sports scores, weather, current events, music, movies, translations, etc. Anything available in Google’s knowledge graph is game, even if you don’t specify the name or artist to a song. For example, if you say something like ‘OK Google, play that Shakira song from Zootopia,’ Google may infer the song you want and start playing it. If you have more than one, telling it to do something will impact only the one that’s closest.
With the user’s permission it can also set alarms and access Gmail, Google Calendar and other Google services to provide personalized information such as flights, etas to work and even a full daily schedule. You can also use it in combination with Google Keep as a shopping list, this way, members of the whole family can add to it via voice. When connected to Google Photos it provides a quick means of searching through photos and can link with Chromecast to even display them on your TV.
Google Home also features Google Cast technology. This allows users to cast media to any Google Cast device, such as Chromecast or Android TV, just by simply speaking to it. Commands include things like ‘OK Google, play Katy Perry on the living room TV’ or ‘OK Google, play Frozen on the bedroom TV’. Users with Chromecast Audio dongles can set up groups and use Google Home to cast to specific groups. There are also some media controls available via voice commands such as ‘OK Google, pause’ or ‘OK Google, turn it down’. Third-party support for Google Home is already available. Users looking to play music will have access to Spotify, iHeartRadio, Pandora, and TuneIn in addition to YouTube Music and Google Play Music.
Google Home can also be used to control smart home devices such as thermostats or lights. Partners at launch include Nest, Samsung Smart Things, Phillips Hue, and IFTTT. Best of all, the list is expanding.
It’s hard to pass judgment on a device that isn’t even available yet. But on paper, Google Home looks like it could be a home run, especially since it undercuts the price of Amazon’s Echo speaker and is backed by the biggest search company on the planet. In fact, Google designed it so that when someone asks a question, there are snippets from popular sources in which it can reply back. Some videos below can help you learn more.
Available for $129, Google Home is up for pre-order starting today at the Google Store, Walmart, Best Buy, and Target. Purchases also include a six month trial of YouTube Red. Units will ship out starting November 4th.
Pre-orders for some of Google’s new products are now open! The latest availability and pricing details can be read here -> [Click here] This page is being updated frequently.
Bookmark this page as the day precedes, as we’ll provide more info when we get it. We’ll keep you updated on everything important right as it happens! For up to the minute updates, follow us across social media. Keep it tuned to Droid Turf for extensive coverage of Google’s October 4th event.
Related stories to the one you’re viewing can be seen below this post along with tags that act as shortcuts to related material. If you like what you see, help Droid Turf expand by letting others know using the incorporating social buttons.
Watch the official announcement if you missed it here -> [Click here]
Watch all the official introductory videos here -> [Click here]
Vote in our weekly poll, Will you buy any of Google’s new hardware?
Read our Google Event Wrap-up here -> [Click here]