Google’s Home Assistant Lands in the U.K.

Google Home, the hands-free connected speaker that debuted in the U.S. late last year, will soon be available in the United Kingdom, according to a company blog post.

The company also said it’s bringing its Google WiFi product, which works with existing routers to boost wireless connectivity throughout the home, to the U.K. as well.

Google’s Home device competes with the wildly popular Amazon Echo smart speaker. Both gadgets operate via spoken command to play music, check the weather, check or revise calendars, and handle other tasks.

The “brain” of Google Home is Google Assistant, a technology that is analogous to Echo’s Alexa persona. Both use natural language processing to understand what someone is asking and return the result verbally.

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Both products should be available April 6 from the Google Store and retailers like Argos, Dixons, John Lewis and Maplin. Both will list for £129 although Google WiFi is also available in a “two-pack” for £229. Google Wifi, at least, will also show up on Amazon (AMZN) as well, according to the post. There’s no mention of Amazon selling Google Home.

Google’s advantage is that it can apply the accumulated knowledge of Google Search, Google Maps, and Google Translate to requests. As the blog post notes, Google Home/Assistant can brief users on news from the BBC, The Guardian, The Financial Times, The Sun, Huffington Post, and other sources. Amazon’s strength lies more in considering requests that involve shopping or potential transactions. If you want to buy or research a product, for example, Alexa may offer more relevant information based on Amazon’s deep data on selling things.

Other voice-activated helpers include Apple’s (AAPL) trailblazing Siri, embedded in tens of millions of iPhones and Microsoft (MSFT) Cortana, which comes with Windows 10 and can run on Android and iOS devices.

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