What To Expect from Google Home
In 2014, Amazon Echo became the first-ever voice-activated wireless speaker. It took the world by storm and went unrivaled for more than one year. That is until this year’s Google I/O when Google Home was announced in front of hundreds of delegates.
Like the Echo, Google Home is a voice-controlled virtual assistant that can handle simple household tasks and control third-party apps. Many people have high hopes for this new smart speaker and some are even positive that it’ll surpass its predecessor. Mario Queiroz, the executive behind this project, has stated that the device offers a lot of features that are absent in the Echo. This declaration has intrigued people who can’t wait until the device’s official launch date. For the time being though, people are wondering, “Exactly what can they expect from Google Home?”
Unlike Echo’s tall, black cylindrical shape, Google Home is a modular cylinder with an angled top. Its colors are specially chosen so that it will blend with any background. You can put it on your bedside table, kitchen counter or entertainment center and it will easily co-exist with your home décor. The speaker does not need any buttons to perform commands, such as turning it on. However, it does have four small LEDs with the same colors as the logo of Google so you will know whether the device is functioning or not. These can be found on the top of the cylinder.
The modular case of Home is customizable; you can easily screw the bottom and replace it with another base shell of metal or plastic.
As the device is first and foremost a speaker, it provides clear audio playback with its clean highs and rich bass. However, since nobody has yet to test its quality in real time, people can only hope that its sound is not as small as its size. For now, you have Quieroz’s words that its sound will surely fill any room.
Several Music Options
During the announcement, Google mentioned that the device could pull songs, albums, and playlists from a number of services. While they have not yet announced whether these services will include Spotify, Apple Music, Rdio, etc., it’s at least a given that Google Play will be included.
If you are listening to music on your iOS or Android device, you can also cast it to Google Home and enjoy a louder and richer music experience.
Use of Basic Chromecast
Google Home was conceptualized with multiple-room and multiple-speaker features in mind. In other words, it uses Chromecast so you can talk to a speaker in one room and command it to play music in a compatible speaker set in another room. It also allows you to play the same music in different rooms at the same time. Lastly, it can be connected to multiple home devices, so if you want to watch a music video, it will directly send the data to the TV.
Google’s prowess mainly lies with search so you can expect that Home can answer even the most curious questions. In the demonstration, Google gave the layered question “What was the U.S. population when NASA was established?” Since the device comes with the Google Assistant’s new upgrades, it can give concise responses to such questions without any delay. It can even address follow-up questions if you’re in the mood to dig a little deeper. You only have to start your queries with the phrase “Okay Google”.
Home is equipped with always-listening and far-field microphones which can detect sound from any part of the room. In this field, it has found a hard competitor in Echo as the latter is generally commended for its seven long-range microphones that can detect sounds even behind closed bathroom doors. Queiroz, however, has made an assurance that they can level with Echo.
Another feature of the device is that it only has one button, which is used to mute the microphone. This is useful when you want it to stop responding for a moment. For other commands, like playing music, Home will make use of its dual microphone to listen to your voice.
Aside from assisting you in answering your queries and playing music, Home will also let you set a timer and alarm, organize your shopping lists, manage to-do lists, provide current traffic status, get delivery information, read travel itineraries, update you on real-time weather, and much more.
While it is not yet confirmed, Google has hinted on working towards an extensive third-party service which will include ordering for food delivery, sending packages or flowers, and getting ride-sharing services.
Since Home also acts as a smart Internet of Things (HYPERLINK “http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/”IoTHYPERLINK “http://www.forbes.com/sites/jacobmorgan/2014/05/13/simple-explanation-internet-things-that-anyone-can-understand/”) controller, it can be used to control your smoke detectors, security cameras, thermometers, lights, locks and other small appliances. You can make changes on any of them no matter where you are in the house. In other words, you can command it to turn off the lights or unlock doors with the use of voice commands.
To make this possible, Google has to work with other smart home systems, including their own Nest hardware. Google’s other formidable hardware partners include Sony, HTC, Samsung, LG, and Huawei. This integration with other IoT systems is one of Homes’ greatest advantages over Echo; however, it’s still a plan set for the future and will be pushed once the launch of the device has been successful.
The release date of Google Home has been set late this year, but the specific month and day have not yet been announced. The countries where the device will be released are not yet declared, either. However, judging from Google’s previous rollout of services and products, there’s a big possibility that it’ll start in the US.
The price is still hushed at the moment. Taking competition as a basis, it may match Amazon Echo’s cost, which currently stands at $179.99. However, if you consider the quality and solutions the device offers, Google can also justify a little increase on top of that price.
There are still many things which are unclear about Google Home’s quality, features, and price, but all questions will be settled once a release date is officially announced. If you wish to get the latest updates on the device, you can visit their site.