Today at its I/O developer conference, Google unveiled a voice-controlled, Internet-connected speaker intended to compete directly with Amazon’s own smart speaker, the $180 Echo. Dubbed Google Home, the device can pipe in music and entertainment directly from the cloud, and it offers Google Cast support to allow for grouping with other speakers for multi-room sound. It also streams video to your television via Chromecast. For added convenience, Google Home will link all of your connected devices, including lights, cameras, thermostats and small appliances. The crucial difference between Google Home and the Amazon Echo is the brains of the former’s virtual assistant, which draw from Google’s extensive search functionality, so users can probably expect a smarter machine when it comes to basic tasks like web searches and traffic data queries.
Two vital pieces of information that’s missing before weighing the pros and cons of each: we don’t know the price of Google Home, and we’ll have to wait and see whether third-party developers will create tasks that work with the device. Google Home is expected to launch in the fall.
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