Google today announced that its Google Home system is going to be available in Canada late June, so you can stop being jealous of those U.S. commercials.
Google Home is a voice activated smart speaker system which has the ability to control things around your house, and it will be available to do just that for you starting June 26th. Or if you’re a fan of pre-orders you can pre-order yours right now through the Google Store or Best Buy.
“Spending quality time with our family and friends at home is important. What if technology could make the most of those special moments by helping us get things done?” reads Google’s blog post.
The specialized speaker runs using Google Assistant, which is similar to Amazon’s Alexa. It offers the ability to ask questions and receive answers, whether it be directions or who won last nights game, or what happened on “Mr. Robot” last night. Google has the answer and all you need to say is “Okay Google”. You can ask Home nicely to play music for you, set alarms or start timers, and make reminders. It can be used to control lighting and appliances around your house (as long as they can be controlled from your smartphone). And it can hear you all around your home thanks to its high tech microphone. But don’t worry big brother isn’t listening. Probably. We hope.
The nascent Smart Speaker market has been dominated by the Amazon Echo, which still hasn’t been released in Canada but isn’t too hard to get your hands on if you really wanted to. According to eMarketer 70.6 per cent of the established American Smart Speaker market is owned by Amazon, leaving 23.8 per cent for Google, and a 5.6 per cent slice for everyone else. Sales have also increased 130 per cent since last year and are expected to rise again this year.
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“Consumers are becoming increasingly comfortable with the technology, which is driving engagement. As prices decrease and functionality increases, consumers are finding more reasons to adopt these devices,” says Martín Utreras, vice president of forecasting at eMarketer.
Although the market for Smart Speakers is expanding, it is expected that a large portion will be buying into Google’s platform instead of Amazon’s.
Google said it is committed to the product.
“We are going to invest a lot in it over 2017, I think there is a lot of work ahead to make all of this work well for users. And this is the core area where we’ve invested in for the very long term,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai to investors on Alphabet’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
Amazon Echo users also use their devices to make shopping on Amazon easier, and they are doing it enough that RBC analyst Mark Mahaney expects that Amazon sales through the Echo will reach $5 billion by the year 2020. That being said, Google has no such platform and no apparent ability to monetize the Google Home system in place. Hopefully they don’t end up broadcasting advertisements for hot local singles near you at 5am while your family is trying to sleep.