The first big announcement coming out of Google I/O is the official announcement of ‘Home’ — Google’s answer to the two years and 3 million devices old Amazon Echo, which was speculated to launch today.
First up, it looks awesome ! The crazy color-changing base which Google has put into, gives a rather refreshing look to the device — a stark contrast to the black, grey, white, steel coloured smart devices we have adopted ourselves to. The white top remains same, while the lower base keep changing to different colors.
Talking about the design philosophy behind ‘Google Home’, Mario from the chromecast team says,
We set out to design a beautiful and inviting and fits naturally into any home.
He further adds,
Home … is powered by more than 10 years of innovation in natural language processing.
‘Home’, similar to its Amazon’s Echo, is a powered by a virtual assistant inside, the today announced Google Assistant — a rebranded and improved version based on NLP, of the original Google Now voice assistant found on Android phones. Compared to Amazon though, Google definitely has an upper hand when it comes to speech recognition software, though its full potential in a consumer gadget is yet to be realised.
Moving on, the device can perform basic tasks — playing music from podcasts or cloud, answering general knowledge questions you throw it at etc. Music playing will happen from virtually anywhere — including Spotify — and won’t be limited to just Play music. The speaker has all sorts of fancy designing to make sure it has an advantage over the rather monotoned design of Amazon’s all-black Echo. It comes with changing LED lights which you can alter according to your mood or the overall ambience within your home.
Look and Design
As reports had earlier suggested, ‘Home’ has a design similar to that of Google’s OnHub router and even Echo — all are round, look thin and are cylindrical in shape. Home however is customisable and is white at top, something which might appeal to users way more than Amazon’s Echo.
Overall, Home is yet another attempt by the search giant to make a name for itself in the consumer gadgets space. It did try with a lot of device launches — the failed Nexus Q player, the not so populars like Android TV and Nest devices, none of them really penetrated into households the way Echo did. Moreover, Echo’s ever expanding list of ‘Skills’ which includes reading news, tracking Amazon packages among others could clearly make Google concerned.
Nevertheless, the attempt is a decent one — if not exceptional. We’ll only have to wait and see for critic reviews and user adoption to judge Home’s success. Stay tuned.