Google debuts new Home for your mundane questions

Getting into the smart home hardware business, today Google debuted Google Home, a voice-activated home automation system, at the firm’s annual developer’s conference, Google I/O 2016.

We’ve had a few teasers over the last few months and Recode previously reported that Google has been working on a portable speaker containing a built-in voice-activated assistant for the whole family in a prototype called “Chirp.”

Mario Queiroz, VP of product management, introduced Google Home, stating that it “lets you enjoy music and entertainment, manage every day tasks and Ask Google what you what to do, via a voice assistant.” It’s preceded by the firm’s Chromecast product, one that enables consumers to play music videos and movies from a small device to the big screen.

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Home automation space getting crowded

Google home is also Wi-Fi speaker that streams music directly from the cloud for clear playback via verbal request or through Google. Consumers will be able to request music in specific rooms or request multi-room playback.

Queiroz unveiled a video displaying the possibilities of using Google Home for requests like checking for flight delays to rebooking restaurants to answering homework questions, demonstrating the growing reality that there’s no need for kids to talk to their parents ever again.

It’ll not only answer your queries and organize your life, Google Home promises to connect your other smart home devices: lights, thermostat, switches and – of course – Google’s own Nest devices, with Querioz predicting that in the future it will control things beyond the home, via the voice assistant function.

IoT developer Qiming Fang said Google Home looks familiar. “To be honest, from the demo, I don’t really see it as that different from (Amazon’s) Echo,” he said. “I think the developer community  – and Google or Amazon’s ability to react quickly and revamp their APIs – will be the key to which product ends up taking off.”

He also noted that there was only a cursory mention of how Google Home will connect with products such as Nest:

If Nest can detects something out of the ordinary, Google Home could potentially also be used as a warning system. Multiple devices cold also create a network of warning systems, like if one person’s kitchens lights on fire by accident, neighboring homes could be warned.”

This device will be a considerable competitor to Amazon’s Alexa, launched in 2015. Apple, Microsoft and Google all have voice-activated assistants, but up until now, they’ve been limited to mobile devices.

Google may be announcing the feature today  to enable developers to start building apps and integrations for the platform before its physical launch. At any rate, it will be a key component of Google’s assistant ecosystem and evidence suggests there’s more to come.

 

 

 

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