Google has announced the first major update to its Google Home device since its launch in November last year. In a bid to stay competitive with market leader Amazon, Google has added a dozen new partners to its smart home project. With these new partnerships, the company has dramatically increased the device’s capabilities.
The full list includes:
- Logitech Harmony
- First Alert
- Best Buy Insignia
- Electrolux Frigidaire
For anyone unfamiliar with the concept, a smart home is comprised of an internal network, home automation, and intelligent control. It is equipped with advanced and automated digital devices, home appliances, and equipment that are interconnected to each other. This facilitates sophisticated monitoring and control over the building's functions. According to the Global Smart Home M2M Market report, it is a market that’s forecast to grow at a huge CAGR of 32.22% during the period 2017-2021.
Google’s latest announcement is great news for Google Home owners because it extends the capabilities of the smart speaker. Until now, it only had device integrations from five companies: Philips Hue, SmartThings, WeMo, Honeywell, and Nest. It was only really compatible with lights, plugs, switches, and thermostats, but the latest editions contain lock makers, sprinkler systems, air conditioners and more. Now, Google Home users can control the lights with Wink Hub, control the brightness of lights with LIFX or control their sprinkler system by voice with Rachio. Google said it plans to add more partners in the future but did not say which ones.
Whether this actually helps them to close the gap on Amazon is up for debate. Amazon’s intelligent personal assistant Alexa already boasts more than 10,000 “skills.” But it’s definitely a step in the right direction for the company.
The company also announced Google Home will be launched in the UK in April. The device will cost £129 and be available in a range of colours. The search-engine will also launch its Wifi router, Google Wifi, in the UK this year. It will also cost £129 and uses technology called mesh Wifi, which the firm says uses multiple routers to evenly spread internet signal throughout the home.
Google Home will be available in stores from 6 April.
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