Tech giant Google recently announced its plan to join the home speaker market, unveiling a new personal assistant the company says will allow people to control their homes, surf the internet, book movies, and sort through photos using voice command.
The new Google Home will place the company in the middle of the competition between other tech giants like Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook, who all have their own version of a personal assistant.
Unlike the other companies, Google refuses to give its assistant a gendered name, and has instead decided to call it Google Assistant. The physical form is a small white speaker without buttons called Google Home. It is similar in appearance to the Amazon Echo, which is powered by Alexa.
According to Google, what differentiates its personal assistant from the competitors is the fact that the company has been cataloging the internet and physical world for 17 years, which means its assistant is smarter and easier to use since Google already makes software for smartphones, smartwatches, and regular computers.
Google says users will be able to communicate with multiple machines at the same time thanks to its new assistant.
While speaking on stage, Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave the example of how Google Home works, asking his assistant what movie he and his wife should go see. After being given a first set of choices, Pichai added that he wants to bring the kids. The assistant then gave him a choice of three kids’ movies, including Disney’s Jungle Book remake.
Pinchai, who became Google’s CEO after its recent restructuring, is a known artificial intelligence geek. Over the years, he has devoted a lot of resources to making machines think more like humans, and he envisions greater uses for the technology in the future.
During his presentation, Pichai highlighted how Google’s intelligence recently defeated a world champion at Go, a Korean board game that is considered to be more difficult than chess.
There was a video shown on stage that showed a family going through their morning routine. The father was making coffee, while telling Google Home to turn the light on and to start playing music in the children’s room. The mother asked of her package had shipped and google confirmed it had, and the daughter asked Google for help with her Spanish homework.
After announcing the new Google Home, the company also announced plans for an updated virtual reality headset that comes with a hand controller and a new messaging app called Allo. The headset is also going to use the Google machine learning tools.