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Google Looking to Add Multi-Touch to Next-Gen Google Home Hardware (EXCLUSIVE)

Google is looking to add multi-touch input features to future Google Home hardware, according to a job offering posted by the company this week. The job listing details that the company is looking to fill the position of a “Touch Sensor Hardware Engineer, Google Home,” and describes the job the following way:

“In this role, you’ll work on the next generation of Google Hardware to enable the best multi-touch user experience. You will lead the touch module development and integration for Google Hardware from concept to mass production.”

Google didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Google’s original Google Home smart speaker features touch input for volume controls and play/pause commands, but no multi-touch functionality. The Google Home Max speaker, which is due to be released later this month, comes with similar basic touch input features.

The recently-released Google Home Mini had some rudimentary tap-to-pause input at launch, but Google decided to permanently disable the feature due to privacy concerns after it was found to trigger non-stop voice recordings in some review units.

Adding multi-touch to a smart speaker could allow Google to unlock additional functionality, and perhaps allow users to control other devices in their homes through multi-touch gestures. It could also help Google to differentiate its own hardware from audio devices made by competitors like Amazon and Apple, which currently don’t offer multi-touch.

Google has reportedly also been working on a speaker with an integrated multi-touch display, similar to Amazon’s Echo Show. Asked about such a project, Google Home VP Rishi Chandra recently told Variety that the company was still “thinking through” ways to make such an experience unique and compelling. “We want to make sure we get it right” before introducing any such product, he said.

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