Google Home to Take on Amazon Echo Later This Year

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Later this year, a device called Google Home will answer that question for you. Google Home, announced today here at the I/O developer conference, is the search giant's answer to Amazon's Echo, and Google wants it to be the first place you go to do a wide variety of home tasks and entertainment experiences.

Chromecast head Mario Querioz unveiled the new connected home device, calling it a "beautiful product" that's powered by more than 10 years of Google's research into voice automation. He sees it being useful in three areas. The first is entertainment, something at which Chromecast has already excelled. Google Home will be compatible with Cast, so you can stream video or audio from another Cast-enabled device to play on your home audio system. It will also link directly to streaming services like Google Play Music.

Google Home's second area of expertise is task completion. It can do everything from adding a lunch date to your calendar to dimming the living room lights and turning off the heat. That's thanks to its integration with smart home products from Nest, like thermostats. Querioz says Home will expand compatibility to other home automation protocols after it launches.

Google HomeFinally, Home will integrate with what Google does best: Internet search. While you can ask it to give you simple information like movie times, it will also be able to search your photos, emails, and more to tell you when a package will arrive or if your flight is delayed.

As for the device itself, Querioz didn't offer many details. He held up the small white cylinder, with colorful lights on the top that mirror the Google logo. He said it the speaker will deliver rich bass and defined highs in a small package.

Price and availability is also fuzzy. Querioz said Home will be available later this year. You can sign up for updates at Google.com/home.

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