Google’s Echo-Killer May Be Very Similar to Its Streaming Device
Google is set to release a rival to Internet-connected, home automation device Amazon Echo later this year, and details are already being leaked—including the technology powering the new device.
In May, the Internet giant debuted Google Home, an Internet-connected device for the home, enabling users to search for information, ask for directions, and play music from this module. Google Home will eventually be able to turn lights on and off, control home thermostats, and retrieve personalized information, such as travel itineraries, from Gmail accounts.
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According to a new report from technology news site The Information, Google Home is a “dressed up” version of the search engine’s popular streaming device, Chromecast.
Google Chromecast, which has sold over 20 million units, is the size of a USB thumb drive and streams content from providers such as Netflix (NFLX) or Hulu Plus when plugged into an Internet-connected TV.
According to The Information, Google Home, like Chromecast, will sport an ARM-based microprocessor and Wi-Fi chip. Of course, Home will also include a microphone, LED lights, speakers, and a plastic or metal encasing. But the guts of the device will essentially be the same as Chromecast. Google (GOOG) has also considered powering the device with a form of its own mobile operating system, Android.
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What this means for Google is that perhaps Home isn’t going to be terribly difficult or time-intensive to manufacture considering the Chromecast only costs $35. It could also mean that Home could be less expensive than Amazon Echo, which currently retails for $179.99.
But Home also comes with a lot more bells and whistles than Chromecast. People can use vocal commands to search for information using simple language. The device is powered by Google’s new voice recognition technology, Google Assistant, which responds back with answers.
“It’s like having your personal Google around the house,” said Mario Quieroz from the Chromecast team, while at Google’s annual developer conference, Google I/O, where Home was first unveiled earlier this month.