What is it?
To call out the elephant in the room, if you’re familiar with the Amazon Echo, this is Google’s version. Google Home is a $130 piece of hardware that lives in your home, responds to the voice command “Okay Google,” and doubles as a Hi-Fi speaker. Similar to the Echo, you can ask Google Home questions, issue basic home control commands, and play music. Unlike Echo, Google Home works with Chromecast so it can stream to your television, and it has access to Google’s search engine making it very interesting in terms of voice search.
Why it matters
This matters because up until now, Amazon was the only player in the game in terms of a mass market far-field microphone solution. There are rumors that Apple and others are getting into the space, but this is the first time another big tech company is entering the market. This will push voice technology forward, increase consumer awareness, and make full-home integrations more likely. At Josh.ai we’re excited for the growth of this industry with Google making a big entry.
What to expect
Many of the features are posted on Google Home’s features page. These include alarm features, a calculator, a dictionary, weather, news, traffic, and more. One of the more exciting features is translation, particularly considering how good Google Translate has become. Unfortunately, smart home integrations seem to only include Chromecast, Nest, Philips Hue, and SmartThings at this point. We’re optimistic that list will grow, or Google Home will integrate with products like Josh.ai in order to gain voice control over many of the products we see at home.
How to get it
You can pre-order Google Home directly at https://madeby.google.com/home/, with expected delivery in early November. We look forward to playing with Home and exploring integrations in the coming weeks.