Google announces UK release date for Google Home
Google has revealed that it will be launching its Google Home voice-activated speaker in the UK in the second quarter of 2017 in a bid to rival Amazon Echo.
Amazon may have had a head start on the voice market, and has already released Echo and Dot in the UK and Germany, however Google is hoping its AI skills and data stores can offer competition for Bing and Wikipedia-powered Alexa devices with its own search engine-powered voice device.
The company’s senior vice president of hardware, Rick Osterloh, reportedly informed the BBC that the device will become available in the UK sometime between April and June, following the device being first announced at Google I/O 2016 last May. Google Home has so far only been released in the US (in October 2016).
Google say Google Assistant, its more advanced extension of Google Now is a key differentiating factor from other voice-controlled technology – meaning it can process queries more contextually and provide responses based on previous conversations with the user.
“We've got so much history with people using our search products and people using voice queries through Android phones… that we're able to much better answer these types of questions," Osterloh told the BBC at Mobile World Congress earlier this month in Barcelona. "All this data really helps us in making sure we understand what the user is looking for."
Activated by the command “Okay Google” or “Hey Google,” the device offers the ability to connect with Chromecast, allowing homeowners to control content they’re watching via a voice command. Google Home can also be daisychained with other wireless Chromecast Audio compatible speakers in the home, as well as play songs via Google Play Music.
Google Home is currently priced at $130 (£107) in the US, with the Amazon Echo priced slightly higher $180 (available for £149.99 in the UK and €179.99 in Germany).
UPDATE: Google has since announced the release date of 6 April 2017 for Google Home.