Hot from I/O 2016: Google Home is the search giant's answer to Amazon Echo

Hot from I/O 2016: Google Home is the search giant's answer to Amazon Echo

The keynote to Google's I/O 2016 event is still ongoing, but that doesn't mean we don't have our first few pieces of noteworthy announcements. For anybody who's been paying close attention to Google, this one probably won't come as a surprise, however: Google Home is an Amazon Echo-like overmind for your living room (or, really, any or as many rooms you want), integrating all the features of the Google Now personal assistant and more. Home comes at a time when, Google says, over 20% of its search traffic in the US is comprised of spoken queries. 

Fitting the palm of an adult's hand, Google says that Home was designed to blend with the interior of the room it'll be calling home. Tubular in shape with the top seemingly halved at an angle, the device's bottom will come in different colors and materials, including metal and fabrics. Save for the four LEDs (blinking in signature Google colors) on top, there are no buttons to speak of. The experience is entirely hands-off and voice controlled—even from across the room.

On stage, VP of Product Management Mario Queiroz echoed the words of Google overlord Sundar Pichai, claiming that Google Home is the result of some 17 years of experience making the world's information available to search. It makes sense, then, that apart from blasting music through its built-in speaker (or an audio system it's been wirelessly hooked up to) and playing movies, Home will also answer any and all questions, set alarms and tasks, keep track of your reservations and travel plans, and even control other smart accessories—like the Nest thermostat. In the future, Google says it'll be possible for more advanced intents, such as ordering flowers or takeout, to be actioned. 

Promised to work with both iOS and Android devices, Google Home will be released "later this year" at a price that remains to be disclosed. In the meantime, Google vowed to work closely with developers that may want to integrate their brainchildren into the service. 

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13 Comments

1. Unordinary unregistered

Looks like a baby monitor from 1992. Ugly. Of course, this is just my opinion :)

2. Mxyzptlk unregistered

I agree. It looks like a thing of air freshener. Google should have followed the design of the OnHub. That just looks really hideous.

8. ToastedBacon21

Posts: 47; Member since: Oct 18, 2015

(Batman voice) - "It's not what it looks like on the surface, but what it does that defines it." *jumps off the roof*

3. ElixieR

Posts: 67; Member since: May 01, 2013

I'm not getting my body ready but my money ready...

4. surethom

Posts: 1560; Member since: Mar 04, 2009

Loving the home hub & look BUT I bet it will be America only for atleast 6 months :( please come to the UK at launch. Please. Don't do a Anazon echo & release outside USA.

6. NexusX

Posts: 612; Member since: May 16, 2013

i don't know what's taking so long for Google to do this. they just needed to put Google now in an always-listening device with a wall plug so it never runs out of power

7. DnB925Art

Posts: 1165; Member since: May 23, 2013

Google, take my money *Throws money at TV livestreaming Google I/O Keynote using Chromecast*

9. Landon

Posts: 1227; Member since: May 07, 2015

This makes me want to sell my Amazon Echo.

11. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

We'll see how it works... for now, all we can say is that, while the Amazon Echo looks like a cool hi-tech device, this looks like an air freshner! ;)

13. Landon

Posts: 1227; Member since: May 07, 2015

Honestly the look of it doesn't bother me. I think people would like it more if it came in a black color. What concerns me is how small the speaker is on this device. It better be equivalent or better than the Echo in terms of sound quality or people will go with the Echo instead.

10. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

I really like it, but that design is horrible. Google is very inconsistent with their hardware designs. They can create beautiful looking devices like the Pixel, and OnHub, then disappointing with Home and the Nexus phones.

12. boosook

Posts: 1442; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

I think that, while the target of the Pixel are tech enthusiasts, here they are targeting the general public and so they needed a design that was not familiar, like if it were just another home appliance, rather than hi-tech but intimidating.

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