Google’s new entry into the smart home with their highly anticipated Amazon Echo competitor reached a culmination yesterday with the announcement of Google Home, the official smart speaker that is to be powered by Google Assistant, the new smart software that Google announced yesterday as well. While Google Home is set to take the stage later this year when the company launches the product, many will be eagerly awaiting their chance to get their hands on it and will likely want to test it out as soon as possible. Google Home promises to be a compelling device which has quite a bit to offer from the get-go, but it’s still set up to be a standalone appliance and will surely have some wishing that Google will integrate Home into Android so that it’s a little more versatile.
For now, Google Home is a standalone product meant to be plugged into your home’s wall outlets, devoid of its own power source, putting it right in line with the Echo. While Google Home will prove to be useful for those with other smart appliances around, not all consumers will want an extra device, and may prefer the capability to use a device they already have, like their smartphones. Google Home is powered by Google Assistant, so there is an opportunity for Google to integrate Google Home into Android, perhaps allowing the device to be docked and able to provide a similar experience to having the actual Google Home product. Sure, the Google Home has a set of LED lights at the top that blink and flicker as it process your queries and responds to your commands, something that makes it a bit unique, but it also connects to WiFi so it can link up to the cloud and has embedded speakers, both of which are things that can be found in an Android device. All an Android device might need for the core system is for Google Assistant to be baked in.
Whether or not this is something that will ever happen is unclear, but it’s surely a scenario that would prove to be beneficial for users who would prefer to have the power of Google Home without needing an extra device, and it would allow Google to access more users for the Google Assistant software. Then again, if Google Home was integrated into Android there would be less of a need to have Google Home as a standalone product. Having said that, consumers like choice, and might appreciate the opportunity of having a choice to go with something that’s a standalone device or to simply dock an existing smartphone to turn it into such a product.
One would also need to consider, though, that if Google Home were integrated into Android, it would be baked into a device that is with the user at all times, and then Google Home wouldn’t be Google Home anymore as it wouldn’t physically be in the home, and that’s the whole idea of it. It isn’t meant to be portable, and smartphones are portable. This also leaves an opportunity to potentially offer other similar products to Google Home that are smaller and designed to be carried around like Amazon has done with the Tap Portable speaker and the Echo Dot. Both devices are functionally not as equipped as the original Echo, but they obtain the ability to travel around with their owners. Google has designed the home not to be as functional as the Echo in the beginning so it’s able to build out its ability to interact with users more naturally, and while they expand on this, they may choose to leave other products, smaller, more portable products, or an integration into Android for another Google Home solution, out of the mix.