Tuesday the 4th of October saw Google enter into a new domain, launching an item of hardware that intertwines all of the smart technology brands they have been purchasing for the last number of years and packaging them up into a neat solution to become a central feature of your home, Google Home. What this boils down it is that Home is a voice-controlled speaker. As highlighted by the Google Pixel, launched the same day, Google Home is that it will be powered by Google Assistant. This app is Google’s updated smart digital assistant, much like Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, or Amazon’s Alexa, and will help you get things done. Current Android users will know saying “Ok Google” to their phone provides much functionality, this does that and much more.
The hardware on display is a small, minimalist cylinder with an angled top. The bottom part of the casing is modular and can be replaced with bases of varying colours. Above this is white with four LED lights built into the slanted touch sensitive surface. Google mentioned the design is based on wine glasses and candles. No hardware specs have been confirmed for the innards.
Google Home works a speaker, it will streams audio over Wi-Fi, using your voice or smartphone as a control mechanism. Imagine the Chromecast functionality for music. So far only Google Play Music, Spotify, Youtube Music, TuneIn. iHeartRadio and Pandora have been mentioned as compatible. We would expect other sources to work when the Home ships worldwide. You’ll also be able to connect to multiple Home speakers at the same time too, so you should be able to create a Sonos-style multi-room system with relative ease.
You’ll also get some home automation features, which means you’ll be able to control various connected products around the house. Much like the Audio side, only a few brands have been mentioned, Nest Thermostat, Samsung SmartThings and Philips Hue lightbulbs. IFTTT is listed so the potential is almost limitless!
Will the Google Home be a hit or the new Nexus Q? The price of $129 seems welcome and if you have Nest or Hue Lightbulbs it might be a no-brainer. However, I feel for many it might be an impulse purchase and will probably will only really benefit the family with the most hectic of schedules or perhaps Google Employee themselves.