At today’s 10/4 event, Google finally announced a ship date and pricing for its Amazon Echo competitor first revealed at I/O 2016. Google Home will be available November 4 for $129. As the name suggests, the device provides a simple, hands-free experience for the Google Assistant at home with an additional focus on music, entertainment, and controlling other IoT devices.
The top half of Google Home only comes in white and features a clean, diagonal face with LEDs embedded underneath. Dots in the four Google colors light up and spin to show that Home is actively listening and completing a command. The face also doubles as a capactive touch panel for manual control. To personalize, the base that covers the speaker grill is interchangeable with the option to purchase more in different colors and materials, like fabric or metal.
Google touts unparalleled always listening capabilities thanks to Far Field voice recognition and 10 years of innovation in natural language processing. There is a sole button behind Home to turn off the microphone and disable always listening.
Home doubles as a Google Cast device and can play music from various services through its built-in speaker that promises rich bases and clear highs. It controls other speakers and can be used in conjunction with multi-room playback. You can also use it to send video to a Google Cast or Chromecast connected television. Additionally, Home can control Chromecast connected televisions via voice commands.
Besides communicating with Cast devices, Google Home works with smart home appliances like lights, switches, and thermostat. Nest, Samsung’s SmartThings, IFTTT, and Philips Hue is a partner at launch, with the option for other hardware partners and third-party services to add integrations to the broader Google Assistant.
As a vessel for Google Assistant, Home has access to your daily schedule, commute, travel itinerary, and more. A featured called “My Day” sums up all your upcoming activities. It can also perform various Google searches similar to “Ok Google” on your phone with support for follow up questions and more complex queries. Other built-in functionality includes making alarms, starting timers, and adding items to lists.
At $129, Google Home is $50 cheaper than the Amazon Echo. It will be available November 4 on the Google Store with pre-orders starting today. It will also be available in physical stores like Best Buy, Target, and Walmart.
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