Virtual reality and Android Wear wearables starred at Google’s annual developers conference, where the company also unveiled its Google Home voice-controlled wireless speaker and virtual digital assistant.
Google’s answer to Amazon’s Echo uses Wi-Fi to stream music from the cloud and from GoogleCast-enabled apps on mobile devices, offers wireless multiroom audio unavailable yet in the Echo, and controls smart-home devices, including but not limited to products from Google’s Nest group. It also delivers voice control of Google’s Chromecast dongle for TVs.
Google Home will also respond to natural-language voice queries, scouring the web for basic information such as weather but also answering “difficult questions” that product management VP Mario Queiroz said challenge other personal assistants, such as “How much fat is in an avocado?”
Consumers can also use their voice to set alarms and timers as well as manage to-do lists, and in the future, Google Home will let users order products through the Internet, including flowers and pizza.
The device, which plugs into an electrical outlet for power, brings Google Assistant voice technology with natural-language processing to the home from mobile devices, Queiroz said, and it offers far-field voice recognition to recognize voice commands spoken from across the room.
Google Home is due sometime later this year at an unannounced price, giving app developers time to integrate their apps with Google Home, Queiroz said.