Google Home: Alphabet Inc (GOOG, GOOGL) Is Coming After Amazon’s Echo

The big story coming out of Alphabet Inc.’s (GOOG, GOOGL) Google I/O 2016 conference isn’t Android N — although the next version of Android was shown off as well. It’s Google Home.

Google Home: Alphabet Inc (GOOG, GOOGL) Is Coming After Amazon’s Echo

Source: Google, Inc. (AMZN) has had a pretty amazing run with the Alexa-powered Echo, but that kind of success brings competition, and Google Home has the Echo firmly in its sights.

Google Home Is Alphabet’s Answer to Amazon Echo

The basic concept of Google Home will be very familiar to anyone who knows the Echo. It’s a small speaker equipped with an array of far-field microphones. Besides playing music, it’s an always-listening, voice activated personal assistant and offers integration with select smart home products — including, Nest.

Amazon’s Echo came pretty much out of left field and surprised many people with its success. Part of the reason it has done so well is there was no other real competition in the space. But Alphabet has obviously been watching carefully, and designed the Google Home to not just duplicate the Echo, but one-up its capabilities.

Google Home takes a more decorative visual approach than the Echo and includes the option of customizing the base shell. It has the advantage of built-in Google Cast support, meaning it can expand on the Echo’s capabilities on the music front by letting you control multiple Google Home speakers by commanding the one closest to you. This lets you can easily synchronize music playback throughout the home.

And while Alexa has performed very well with the Amazon Echo, Google Now and OK Google are formidable voice assistants and have all of Alphabet’s search and machine learning technology on tap.

Google Home should have a definite advantage over the Echo when it comes to “smarts,” especially if the questions have to do with nearby restaurants, baseball players or directions.

Less is More?

While the reception to the Amazon Echo has been largely positive, there are times when things simply don’t work the way consumers might like, especially when it comes to the Echo’s extensive third party integration. Alphabet says it is deliberating limiting the services and devices Google Home will integrate with — at least for now — to ensure that those it does support perform flawlessly.

Of course, Echo will retain the advantage of tight integration with Amazon for effortless ordering of products.

Google Home doesn’t yet have an official price or release date, other than the usual “later this year.” However, it’s safe to assume Google Home will be competitively priced and available to take on the Amazon Echo in time for the holiday shopping season.

As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.

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