Google’s Connected Home

By Sam Moser ’19
Google HomeIn its latest move, the technology giant Google enters the connected hardware sector with Google Home, a posh desktop speaker utilizing the Google Assistant conversational AI. Open for pre-order as of Tuesday, this product comes amid a race to develop the premier medium for seamlessly integrating virtual intelligence into everyday life. Amazon has up until now dominated the space with Amazon Echo, a desktop speaker powered by Alexa, Amazon’s take on Apple’s Siri or Google’s Assistant.

Google first announced Home at its I/O developer conference this past spring. The speaker appears strikingly similar to Amazon Echo, designed to blend into the atmosphere of the home while passively listening for commands. Out of the box, Google Home comes packaged with Google’s Assistant, an essentially rebranded version of Google Now. Upon hearing “Ok Google,” the device will spring to life, actively listening to answer questions such as “What should I wear today?” or “What is the capital of Nebraska?” It also works with music services such as YouTube Music, Spotify, and Pandora.

However, Google would like consumers to utilize Google Home as a universal remote for all things connected. It is compatible with smart products such as the Nest Thermostat and Phillips Hue, allowing users to control actions around their homes through simple voice commands. The vision here is to have a Google Home in every room of the house, enabling the device to take advantage of contextual awareness, with only the nearest device activating upon hearing “Ok Google.”

With the release of Home, Google is making massive strides in the interconnected space. Home will soon have the capability to send any Netflix video to Chromecast-enabled televisions, but the big picture is greater than just a connected household. User data is already synced across a multitude of Android enabled devices. As artificial intelligence improves, specifically Google’s Assistant, Google aims to create a seamlessly searchable database of personal information that connected devices may tap into to add convenience to everyday life. This involves a network of sensors, appliances, and applications all communicating about user habits, then predicting the most probable course of action. Although there are still unaddressed privacy concerns in this type of active data collection, the market has seen users trade away their privacy for convenience time and time again.

Home stands to successfully begin Google’s transition into the internet of things space. Home costs $129 and comes in a variety of colors. Pre-orders are open now with an estimated ship date of early November.



Filed in: Featured content, Technology

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