The inevitable showdown between Amazon Alexa and the Google Assistant has arrived, courtesy of Google Home.
The Alphabet-owned company’s voice-activated speaker, a new opponent to Amazon Echo’s dominance, will go on sale next month for USD129, or about USD50 cheaper than Echo. The purchase price also comes with a free six-month trial of YouTube Red, an ad-free version of the video sharing service.
Google Home is coming to the U.S. only at first, and will be sold in the online Google Play Store, as well as at Target, Walmart, and Best Buy; Google begins occupying preorders last weekday.
Home is a platform for the newly unleashed Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence-based virtual assistant that directs to one-up its peers, notably Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Alexa’s own primary residence is in the Echo speaker, though the AI-powered assistant is mounting into other devices.
In an echo of Siri, Google Assistant’s assignment is to let you fit into place in natural conversations in sort to get things done or get answers to questions. With Home, that means Google can play music through its own speaker, or through voice-enabled wireless connections to speakers coupled to Google’s Chromecast or Chromecast Audio devices.
And at your behest, Google Home can turn the lights on, set alarms, translate languages and so on. Or you might ask the Google Assistant to let you how to get relieved of fruit flies in your house, a query that was among those demonstrated to me.
In supplying various answers, Google Assistant can leverage the 50-billion fact Google Knowledge Graph database.
Assistant actually finished its introduction recently on the Google Allo messaging app on Android handsets and the iPhone and will guess a main role inside the Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones that Google unveiled today.
Google also declared an open platform for developers that will ask them into the conversations that you have with the Assistant through Google Home. For example, if you want to book a car with Uber or other services, a conversation will center around the kind of car you’re looking for, where you are going when the car is likely to reach the customer and so forth. Google plans to announce such conversation partners later in the year.