Announced earlier this year, Google today filled out the details of its smart home device, subtly named Google Home. This small gadget will make use of Google Assistant, the company's voice-activated search utility, which will let you perform a number of tasks, from streaming music, searching Google, and controlling smart home devices. It will be available on November 4 for $129, $50 less than the Amazon Echo.
Similar to Amazon's Echo, the Google Home is a small, cylindrical device with a built-in speaker and far-field microphones that can listen to and respond to voice queries. The top surface has four colored lights that light up when it hears you say "Ok, Google." Additionally, it has touchscreen controls. A button on the Home lets you turn off its microphone, so that it's not always listening to you. The bottom half of the Google Home can be swapped out, so you can purchase different colored bottoms to better match your home decor. Colors include mango, marine, violet, carbon, snow and copper, though pricing for these bases has yet to be announced.
Google Home can work with a variety of streaming music services, including Pandora, Tunein Radio, YouTube, Spotify, and others. Plus, its voice search lets you specify from which service you'd like to stream, and remembers your preferences, too. You can also stream podcasts by name, and cast music from mobile devices to the Google Home. Even better, you can connect Google Home to your Chromecast, and ask it by voice to start playing videos and movies on TV. Initially, it will only work with YouTube, but Netflix will be added soon.
A feature called My Day will summarize your daily activities, tell you the weather, commute time, and other information about your day. Additionally, you can add things to your shopping list, which will then be sent to your Google Shopping list. You can also ask Google Home for directions, but the ability to then send those directions to your smartphone isn't yet available.
Also like the Amazon, Google Home will let you control smart home devices. At launch, it will interact with Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, and IFTTT, though additional partners will be added in the near future.
Similar to Sonos, you can sync up multiple Google Home devices to play the same song throughout your house, but only the Google Home that hears your voice the clearest will respond to your commands.
Google Home will be available for $129, and will come with a 6-month trial of YouTube Red when it ships on November 4. We're interested to see how well it performs against the Amazon Echo, so stay tuned for our full review.