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Google Home Brings AI To Home & Office On April 6

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Google Home AI voice activated assistant will cost £129 and will arrive alongside a smart router called the Google WiFi on April 6

Google’s voice activated smart assistant and smart router will be released in the UK on 6 April, extending the search giant’s reach from the web to the home. 

Google Home was first shown off last year and comes with Google Assistant, the AI powered personal assistant included in the Pixel smartphone, which will also arrive on other Android smartphones later this year. 

The device is designed to mimic the aesthetics of other household objects, such as candles or wine glasses and features interchangeable bases.

Users simply say a command, such as ‘play music’, and the device uses machine learning to determine the correct noise levels and suggest ideal playlists for certain activities or days. It will even learn your preferred streaming service, such as Spotify or BBC iPlayer. 

Google Home

Google Home UK 

Google Home will also return queries from the Google search engine and if it can’t find it on the Knowledge Graph, it will return a snippet from the web. Information from Google Maps, such as traffic, can also be determined, and the aforementioned natural language and text-to-speech functionality enables better translation. Needless to say it can also control smart home devices around the house. 

“Google’s been working on helping people and delivering answers for many years but were at a tipping point now with machine learning,” said Suveer Kothari, director of product partnerships and planning at Google Home at a launch event in London. “It takes advantage of technology that we’ve been working on for a decade” 

He was also keen to point out that the only button on the Google Home is a microphone mute button, helping safeguard sensitive conversations. 

“It makes sure we can maintain your privacy and puts you in full control of your queries,” he explained. 

Google Home costs £129 and will debut alongside a second smart device – Google Wi-Fi – which is a smart wireless router.  

Google Home 3

Kothari claimed it would extend Wi-Fi coverage across the home, with two or more devices acting as one network. An application lets users prioritise certain devices, such as a main work PC, and promises to set up in minutes using machine learning techniques. 

“Traditionally routers haven’t been designed with HD video in mind or multiple devices,” he said. “We’ve designed this device from the ground up using mesh network normally used in offices.”  

Google WiFi will cost £129 for one or £229 for a set of two. 

 Google competes with Apple’s Siri, Microsoft’s Cortana and Amazon’s Alexa in the AI assistant space. Amazon has launched something similar to the Home in the form of the Amazon Echo and is now working to integrate its technology into Android smartphones and even connected vehicles, representing a significant threat to Google.

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