Google heads home to take on Amazon

MOUNTAIN VIEW — Google has decided to echo Amazon.

The search giant is developing an in-home voice-activated Internet device that will be able to answer users’ queries, play music and control smart home devices, the company announced at its I/O developer conference Wednesday. Dubbed Google Home, the device, which will be out later this year, looks like it’s targeted straight at Amazon’s Echo.

Home will serve as a showcase for Google’s new intelligent assistant technology, prosaically named “the Google assistant.” As with Echo, it won’t have a screen or a keypad; instead, users will interact with it using their voice. Google representatives at the conference indicated that consumers will be able to use the device to make or cancel dinner reservations, check flight information, look up sports scores and turn on lights in their home.

The device will have a built-in speaker, and owners will be able to use it in coordination with Google’s Chromecast Audio product to play music throughout their house.

Google didn’t say what Home will cost or when exactly it will be available. Amazon’s Echo, which the company debuted in late 2014, costs $180.

Photo: Google’s Home product viewed on a screen above the stage at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View during the keynote presentation at Google’s I/O developer on Wednesday, May 18, 2016. (Troy Wolverton, Mercury News.)


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