Google officially introduced Google Home, its answer to Amazon’s Echo smart Wifi speaker, at a press event in San Francisco Tuesday. Google Home will be available for pre-order starting Tuesday, and show up on store shelves on November 4. The device will retail for $129.
Google Home is essentially a Wifi-connected loudspeaker with multiple integrated microphones, which can give users direct access to their music and other audio via voice commands.
Some of the music services supported at launch include YouTube Music, Google Play Music, Spotify and Pandora. iHeartRadio support will be added in the near future. Users can set preferences for their favorite music services, so they don’t have to request songs from specific services. And music search is being powered by Google search, which means that users will be able to ask for a song from a certain movie without actually having to remember the song title.
The device also works in conjunction with Chromecast, Google’s streaming adapter. Users can simply use their voice to launch the playback of videos on their Chromecast-equipped television. At launch, this kind of “voice casting” will only work for YouTube videos, but support for Netflix will be added soon. Voice casting will also work for audio, meaning that users will be ale to control Chromecast Audio devices with voice commands.
Users can also ask Google for search requests, prompt it to translate phrases into different languages or look up businesses nearby. The device can also summarize a user’s calendar, add products to one’s shopping list or set timers.
Much of this is being powered by Google Assistant, the company’s attempt to make information discovery more conversational. Google wants to expand the functionality of Google Home as well as other devices and apps powered by the Assistant by giving third-party developers the ability to build so-called “actions.”
Google will also make it possible for hardware developers to add the Google Assistant to their own devices in the coming months.
Google first announced Google Home at its Google I/O developer conference in May. Variety was first to report last week that the company also has plans to add Google Home-like functionality to third-party speaker systems.