Google Assistant and Google Home: Amazon Echo, but from Google
At its I/O developer conference today, Google unveiled Google Home, a hardware device shipping later this year, and Google Assistant, a conversational digital personal assistant. With this pair of announcements, the company is going head-to-head with Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana, and most significantly, Amazon’s Echo and its Alexis voice agent.
The Home is a small round gadget with microphones and speakers that’s always listening for your questions and commands. It will plumb into home automation, including Google’s own Nest, and it will broadcast video and audio to Chromecast sticks; this is all driven by an always-listening voice interface.
Google’s conversational assistant is in the same vein as Cortana and Siri. Google Assistant will be on phones and wearables, too, and Google says that it will be better at picking out the context of what you’re doing than any of its competitors. For example, when standing near Cloud Gate, better known as The Bean, in Chicago, you can ask Google Assistant “Who designed this?” Based on your location alone, Assistant will understand that you’re probably referring to the large shiny sculpture in front of you and answer “Anish Kapoor.”
Voice won’t be the only way you can use Assistant. Google showed a textual conversation with Assistant in its new Allo chat service. Assistant can answer questions and perform searches, and it also supports some games.
Initially, Google says that it will not be creating APIs for Assistant and Home and that as such, any integrations with services and other devices will have to come from Google first. This approach is a contrast with the Echo, which is designed to be extensible.
The Home will be available later this year, though no pricing or availability have been announced yet.
Via: Ars Technica | Peter Bright