Earlier this year, back during Google I/O the Internet giant unveiled a raft of new software and teased some upcoming hardware. The software came as two apps, Allo and Duo, both of which are now available for all Android users – running Android 4.4 KitKat and above – to download and try out. The hardware was the Google Home speaker, which is essentially a competitor to Amazon's Echo line of devices. We say that because the Google Home speaker is more or less a way of getting the new Google Assistant through the door of homes all over the world. So far, we've only been able to chat with the Assistant in Allo, and while it appears to be pretty powerful, its real strengths are in leveraging Google's natural language detection, and basically getting things done for you. Now, the Google Home has been announced as a very real product that is available to pre-order today for $129, which includes a free 6 months' subscription to YouTube Red, too.
During demos at Google I/O this Summer, Google showed off just what the Assistant could do when used with the Google Home speaker, and it was all pretty powerful stuff. Now, Google is officially launching the speaker-cum-assistant for people to purchase. The Google Home speaker is available for $129 and is offered in a range of different colors, while the overall aesthetic is designed to blend into the house and you could easily mistake it for some sort of ornament, which is pretty much exactly what Google want you to do. There are two kinds of bases that people can change out to change the look of their Google Home speaker, fabric as well as metal. The former is available in Mango, Marine and Violet while the latter is available in Copper, Snow and Carbon. There are a handful of LED lights worked into the top portion of the speaker, which provide visual feedback when it's "listening" to you in the familiar Google colors, and it appears to be sufficiently loud and have good enough microphones in order to hear over background noise as well as focus on the person speaking to it.
For Google, this little speaker is merely the lynch pin in bringing everything smart and connected together. In the demos that Google has provided, the Home speaker and Assistant will work together to allow you to control music in different rooms, control home lighting, pull up content onto a designated TV using a Chromecast or Android TV and it of course does everything that Google Now already does. Google have worked hard to make sure that multiple Google Home speakers in your house don't go off at the same time as each other, and with the Actions on Google platform, users can book a table, order and Uber and be told about the driver and when it's arriving, as well as control their Chromecasts and TVs with nothing but their voice. While this future of having absolutely everything connected together, and all come from Google, might be a ways off, the launch of the Google Home speaker – and at just $129 – means that we're a whole lot closer than we ever have been.