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Google Home release date, features and price: Google Home can now recognise individual voices

Google Home is the tech giant’s answer to the question of how to bring you the smart home of tomorrow today.

The device, which was revealed at Google’s I/O conference in May 2016, leverages Google’s latest virtual assistant to provide you with a real-world search tool, media centre, and IoT controller all in one.

The device competes directly with Amazon Echo – as well as Apple HomeKit.

Google Home was officially launced in the UK on the 6 April, priced at £129. Here you will find all the latest information about the device, including its features, colour variants and the latest news.

At-a-glance

  • Google Home is a voice-activated smart assistant for your home
  • It launched on 6 April 2017 in the UK
  • It is cheaper than the Amazon Echo

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Google Home news

21/04/2017: Google’s voice activated smart assistant is now able to recognise who is speaking to it, allowing the device to create personalised messages and alerts for different users.

The new functionality arrived through an update on Thursday, improving the ability for Google Home to learn voices, allowing up to six users to be stored on the device.

Although Home is only capable of listening to one user at a time, it is able to provide personalised alerts, for example detailed traffic reports for a commute for one user, and a list of daily tasks for another.

When you connect your account to Google Home, the device will ask you to say the phrases “Ok Google” and “Hey Google” twice each. The Home will then analyse the person’s voice and compare the sound to previous recordings to determine who is speaking.

The update has been rolled out for Google Home devices in the US, but UK users will have to wait for a few more months for the feature. Google has yet to specify an exact date.

Although the same voice assistant appears on the Google Pixel and a number of other Android smartphones, it appears Google has no plans to offer the update on those devices.

It is certainly a standout feature for a device attempting to compete against Amazon’s popular Echo assistant, featuring its own assistant Alexa. Currently the Echo isn’t able to recognise different voices, and although users can ask Alexa to switch accounts, it can only store up to two voice profiles.

Gif courtesy of Google

06/04/2017: Google Home launched today

Google Home has finally launched in the UK today for the price of £129.

In a blog post released last month, director of Google Hardware Suveer Kothari said Google Home is a personal assistant which can carry out translations, calculations, play music, control your smart devices and more. The Home can also access your personal details to plan your day based on your calendar details or flight entries from your Google account, although this can be turned off at any time.

“We’ll partner with more of your favourite apps and services to help you do more with Google Home over time. And of course, we’ve hidden a few British treats for you to discover. Just try asking Google Home about it’s hobbies or favourite foods” said Kothari.

Google Home is priced at £129, which is cheaper than the Amazon Echo (£149) and will be available from the Google Store, Argos, Currys and PC World, John Lewis, Maplin and will soon be coming to EE. It has a range of coloured bases available for £18 for fabric and £36 for metal so you can customise it to fit your home.

The cone shaped personal assistant has taken 5 months to make the crossing across the Atlantic from the US, where it was launched in November 2016.

The device is a direct competitor to Amazon’s Echo so you won’t be able to buy it from the online retail giant. Indeed, if you search for the Home on Amazon it brings up the Echo in the first few results.

Google Home release date

Google Home launched in the US on 4 November, 2016, and 6 April 2017 in the UK. No official announcement has been made on its worldwide release

Google Home price

Google focused on undercutting its biggest rival, the Amazon Echo, both in the UK and the US. Home costs $129 in the US, much cheaper than the Echo’s $179.99 price. In the UK, meanwhile, the Home costs £129, compared to the Echo’s £149.99 price.

Google Home features

Google Home is a web-enabled digital assistant to help you complete day-to-day tasks and entertain yourself at home.

The voice-activated product is powered by Google Assistant, the company’s latest breakthrough in conversational artificial intelligence. Similar to Google Now, you can use the jug-sized device to play music and control streaming video playback of films and TV programmes via built-in support for the Google Cast protocol.

You can also ask questions and get answers, just as you do on your smartphone. You could check cinema showtimes, check your flight details and plenty more, according to Google.

The assistant can translate foreign languages or perform calculations, and users can also get news briefings from various news sources. At the time of launch, those included the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Sun, The Telegraph, Huffington Post, Sky News, Sky Sports and others.

Users will hope Google has tightened up the algorithms that back up Home’s ability to answer questions, after it pulled in some questionable news sources to tell a BBC journalist that former US President Barack Obama may be planning a Communist coup.

“The Assistant can also have fun—it can tell you jokes, play trivia or make animal sounds,” Google adds.

In addition to entertainment and answering questions, the device also acts as a smart IoT controller. So you could set a timer for you oven. On a more advanced level – and with further set up required – Google says you could turn on your lights, among other things. Google Home is also planned to have integration with other smart home IoT systems, starting with the Google-owned Nest, though this feature is set for the future and isn’t expected to be supported at launch.

Google Home versions, colours and accessories

While Google Home is only available in white, there are a variety of different interchangeable base options available. Fabric bases cost £18 on the Google Store, are available in mango, marine, and violet colour options. Metal bases are also available, costing £36 on the store. These currently only come in carbon (black), although copper and snow options will also soon arrive.

If you’d like to find out more about how Google Home stacks up against its rivals, Amazon Echo anad Apple HomeKit, see our comparison article.

You can find the official Google Home site here.

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