Google Home to take on Amazon Echo in November for $129


Google revealed more information about their upcoming Amazon Echo competitor, the Google Home speaker. The device will be launching on November 4th and is available to pre-order now for $129 with 6 month’s of YouTube Red included. It’s very similar to the Amazon Echo speaker, with a few distinct differences.

Like the Amazon Echo, Google Home is a speaker with an array of always listening microphones. It listens for and responds to the phrase “Ok Google” before executing requests. You can use it to do the usual assortment of things like play music, answer questions, and control smart home devices.


One of Google Home’s unique aspects is its integration with Chromecast. Using only your voice, you can ask Google Home to begin playing content on your Chromecast equipped television. At first this will only work with YouTube, but Netflix will be adding support for this feature in the near future. Saying “Ok Google, play _____ on my TV” will perform a YouTube search and start playing the top video automatically. Saying “… from Netflix on my TV” instead will eventually do the same for Netflix content.

For this to work smoothly, your TV will need to have HDMI-CEC support so that the Chromecast can turn on the TV if it’s off and change to the correct input. Without HDMI-CEC support, this feature of Google Home is only usable if your TV is already on and set to your Chromecast’s input. Many Fire TV owners have been wanting this type of integration with Echo devices, but it’s just not feasible unless you have a newer television.


The top of the Google Home speaker is a capacitive touch panel used to adjust the device’s volume by running a finger in a circular pattern or to trigger the voice assistant. It also has 4 illuminated LED dots to indicate it heard you and is working on a response. On the back is a mute button to prevent the device from hearing you, and the base can be swapped for 6 color options to match your home’s decor.

Similar to the new ESP feature announced by Amazon for the Echo and Echo Dot, multiple Google Home devices will be aware of each other so only the closest one to you responds. Although, at $129 each, I don’t imagine many will fill their homes with Google Home speakers like Google invisions. Something like that is much more feasible with Echo Dots, since you can buy a 6-pack of Echo Dots for less than the price of 2 Google Home speakers. Obviously sound quality on Echo Dots is not sufficient for music, like an array of Google Home speakers would be, but for having voice control of smart home devices in every room, Amazon’s Echo Dot makes more sense.

Speaking of smart home devices, Google Home will work with devices from Nest, Samsung SmartThings, and Philips Hue at launch, but an API for other manufacturers and developers to integrate with Google Home will not be released until next year, so it will still be a long while before Google Home can control the wide assortment of smart home devices that the Amazon Echo can control.

Google’s biggest advantage with Google Home over Amazon’s Echo is its knowledge graph. Google has been working on and improving their natural voice recognition technology much longer than Amazon, and it will be evident through the assortment of questions that Google Home can answer. One example is Google Home’s ability to understand what you want when you say something like “play that Shakira song from Zootopia,” which is an example demonstrated at Google’s event today.

Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices have had a great head start to the voice controlled future that all the major tech companies are working towards. Google Home is Google’s first dedicated device to grab a piece of that future, but I’m sure it won’t be their last.

  1. Joe D says:

    2 years late but OK Google on my cell is better at answering random questions than Alexa is today.

  2. NashGuy says:

    Google has such an advantage in terms of real-world knowledge, plus integration with Google Maps, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Photos (with the ability to recognize/search within images), YouTube, plus your, of course, your phone (esp. if it’s Android). Yes, it will take awhile for Google Home to catch up with Amazon Echo in terms of integration with various other hardware and services through APIs but in terms of being a personal assistant for general questions, scheduling and media with the ability to understand natural language, I think Google is probably already well ahead of Amazon here.

  3. Omar says:

    Just pre-ordered can’t wait I have 2 echos and 2 soon to be 4 dots and a google to add should be interesting

  4. manny pacq says:

    Google all the way

  5. Jack Astor says:

    With Echo I get Amazon Prime Music for no extra cost, with Google Home I will have to pay for Google Music.

    I will be sticking with Echo. Google’s Nexus Player was a bust, and so will Google Home.

    • Mark says:

      I think I agree.

    • Christopher Loughrey says:

      I agree, I’m skeptical about Google Home. Google Now isn’t intelligent and human-like as Alexa is. Alexa can change her tone of voice depending on the context, such as having an compassionate tone of voice when you tell her you’re sad. Google Now is uniformly robotic with a generic voice tone for everything. As an Android user I can just about tolerate Google Now for convenient google searches, but apart from that’s it’s horrible. It may have the upper hand with google’s search database but it’s nowhere near as advanced and human likr as Siri and Alexa are. I expect this to be a flop. They came into the game too late.

  6. boudyka says:

    $$$ is going to define which wins, neither Siri nor Google have that shopping infrastructure behind it. Ok google, what’s the weather today against alexa order me a guitar…hmmm even google knows it’s needs to build in its early costs into the unit price. Amazon can eventually loss lead this and still make a profit.

  7. William Hughes says:

    In my opinion Google Home will be a complete success. Echo is fantastic but I get frustrated at Alexa’s inability to answer simple questions without you phrasing the question perfectly. I want to ask a question and have Alexa answer it without me having to ask the same question 3 or 4 different ways before she understands what I asked. I don’t see any reason (besides not having the money) to have both of them in your service. OK Google on my phone answers any question I ask with me only asking once. I hope Google Home gives me the same experience. Both devices have their strengths and weaknesses. I am blessed to have a little extra money this month to pre-order Google Home and will use both devices as soon as get my Google Home shipped to me. I am so inpatient .

  8. Darren says:

    I feel like a lot of Google’s products are just hobbies to them, and they never take them seriously or support them. I wouldn’t be surprised if in a year from now, they don’t refresh the line and it just slowly fades away.

    Google TV
    Nexus Player
    Google Glass
    Google Wave
    Google +
    Google Buzz
    Google Talk

    All products and services that have either been discontinued, or just sitting out there begging for attention. They are always one of the firsts out in the market, but then they don’t do anything from there. A lot of their stuff has awesome potential, but I feel like they “half-ass it” a lot. Don’t get me wrong, they have a million of products that do work and are huge successes, but I just see this item on the “waste of time” list because it won’t be around in a year from now – part of the problem is their marketing… you have to look for it to find it.

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