SAN FRANCISCO—Google unveiled an entire line of products today, and, as part of that push, the company is taking on the Amazon Echo with a voice assistant box of its own. "Google Home" packs all of Google's voice-command technology into an unassuming white cylinder.
The $129 Google Home answers factual questions, controls smart home devices, and plays music. It handles all the same "OK Google" voice commands that the Google smartphone can handle, but in an AC-powered, stay-at-home appliance. The hope is that an AC version is faster and more reliable than a power-sipping smartphone implementation.
Along with Google Allo, Google Home marks the launch of the "Google Assistant." The Assistant is a revamp of Google's search technology into a more human "chat bot" presentation. If you personify Google's collection of ones and zeros and ask a silly question, it will play along and offer a quirky answer.