Google Home

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Google announced this week a voice-activated home device, similar to Amazon Echo, to launch later this year. The device syncs to a smartphone version called Assistant, and links to streaming device Chromecast and smart home brand Nest.

Mario Queiroz, Google’s vice president of product management, showed off the small white conical object at Google’s annual developer event. What sets the product apart, Queiroz said, is the device’s direct link to all the capabilities of Google search.

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Google Home is a speaker that can keep music and entertainment streaming directly from the cloud to insure top-notch quality. The device offers Google Cast support, so you can group it with your other speakers for multi-room audio or start playing videos on your television with Chromecast. And yes, both of those are voice-controlled tasks. You can even tell Home to play music on another piece of audio gear in another room, as opposed to the whole group or just Home itself.

In addition, Google Home will serve as your Internet of Things hub, linking all of your connected devices like lights, cameras, thermostats and small appliances. You can also swap out the base to better match your decor, but the LEDs that provide a visual status update will remain on the bottom of the speaker. Home gives you access to Google Assistant as well, allowing you to ask follow-up questions until you get the answers you’re after. It will also browse your schedule to give you an idea of what your day looks like as you’re heading out the door.

Google Home will launch later this year.

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