During yesterday's keynote in San Francisco, Google announced that the Google Home voice-activated speaker will be hitting the market in just under a month, on November 4th. The Mountain View-based tech giant isn't hiding the fact that Home is meant to compete with the Amazon Echo speaker which makes use of Alexa, the online retailer's own voice assistant. In addition to being priced at only $129, Home and its Google Assistant also have some other features which seemingly blow Alexa out of the water.
Given how this is primarily a speaker, one of the first big selling points is that Google Home actually supports YouTube Music streaming for YouTube Red subscribers, Just in case you're on the edge of whether that subscription is worth it, you get a six-month free trial period for each speaker you purchase. If you can't remember the name of the song you want to listen to, you'll be happy to know that the Google Assistant understands context rather well and remembers your preferences so telling it to "play that new Eminem song in which there's a female on the chorus" isn't an order that's too convoluted for Google Assistant to understand. Google Home also boasts native support for Chromecast and can act as an audio receiver for Google's media player in just a few taps. In addition to that, you can use the speaker as a controller for all of your Chromecast devices which is another big advantage that Home has over Echo. Last but not least, interconnecting multiple Home speakers and Chromecasts is incredibly easy, which is something Amazon Echo simply can't compete with as Alexa-infused speakers aren't designed with capabilities to form a surround system -while Google's smart speaker is.
Regarding other features, Google Home is also better in the physical control department as it's equipped with a high-quality touchpad that can do everything Amazon Echo's buttons can but with less effort from the user. Of course, you mostly won't need this and will probably prefer to actually talk to the speaker's Google Assistant. Actual conversations with the Assistant feel much more natural and more akin to what a person is actually used to, as Home's AI is not only better at figuring things out but also understands contextual questions – which you can ask as follow-ups to your initial queries. It works kind of like Google Now which always takes into account the screen you're currently looking at when coming up with answers to your questions, except that Google Assistant formulates answers in accordance to previous questions, which is much more human-like than how Alexa operates.
Not surprisingly, Google Home can communicate with both the Google Pixel and the Pixel XL, the first two smartphones with a built-in Google Assistant. That means you can ask the speaker to send information and multimedia to your phone, which is super convenient. Finally, while Amazon is yet to offer a smart speaker in a color that isn't black or white, Google Home will launch in seven base colors so you should be able to find the perfect color to match the Google Home's new surroundings.