In a recent Variety exclusive Google revealed key details of this plan during a closed-door meeting with industry insiders about a month after publicly unveiling Google Home at Google I/O. The meeting was only between about 50 people and was at Google HQ in Mountain View. After working with vendors/OEMs on cast enabled products Google Home is the next home product niche to be conquered.
Now what’s the secret weapon? According to Variety Google Cast is that weapon, some of the companies that attended the meeting may be ready to unveil speakers with integrated microphones and a connection to Google’s assistant as early as next summer. With this Google is keeping its tech open but still under control so that a consistent experience is held across all devices. With Amazon’s Echo line they’re the only vendor and while having SDK to build on it’s not the experience that Google is aiming to give, instead allowing it to work with others and it’s bringing more than the Echo has to offer.
Google Home is more than an Echo clone it’s a Home Companion and automation machine. As seen in the video above it does what you expect it to do then it does more like sending a video to a cast device like Chromecast or Android TV and that’s something that personally blew me away, sending a video to another device without a UI, just your voice. Also multi-room audio with what I expect to be cast enabled devices from sources such as Spotify, Tunein, Pandora, NPR One, and SoundCloud all through the power of what was Google Now and is now Google Assistant.
Amazon has worked to secure partnerships to prep for this by having deals with Sonos, DTS, and Play-Fi. Google has flexed their muscles by telling home audio vendors that they won’t be allowed to add any other digital assistants than Google’s own to their hardware if they want to continue to use Google Cast, which is a bit harsh but I can see why they want to do it. In the end Google may be able to use their Chromecast and Cast platform as a Trojan horse along with a $130 price tag which is a $50 undercut of Echo to attract a user base. I guess we’ll see tomorrow and in the next few months if they took the right path and who wins the holidays.