Google’s I/O developer conference is well underway, and there’s already some big news coming from the California event. We’ve already covered what’s been revealed about the upcoming Android O, but there’s plenty more to get excited about for Aussie Google fans.
At long last, the Google Home smart speaker will be making its way to Australia. While no official date has been announced, Google is promising to make Home available in Australia, Canada, France, Germany and Japan in the US summer – so hopefully mid-2017.
Home gets proactive
Alongside finally bringing Home to Australia, Google is adding even more features to the voice-controlled device.
American users will now be able to make hands-free calls to any mobile number in the US or Canada, without the need for additional set-up. Home will recognise a speaker’s voice and respond to requests to call specific contacts, with all calls registering as a private number on the recipient’s end.
Google is also expanding Home’s entertainment capabilities, with music streaming services Spotify, SoundCloud and Deezer all set to support the device. And if you love storing music on your Android or Apple smartphone, you’ll now be able to stream tunes to Home via Bluetooth.
TV and movie junkies will enjoy support for Google Play Movies, HBO Now, Hulu, Crackle and more, and if you’ve got a Chromecast, you’ll now be able to send visual responses to queries straight to your connected TV.
Finally, Google has added a ‘Proactive’ feature to its Assistant for Home, meaning the device will automatically notify users of important info by lighting up. A simple ‘Google, what’s up?’ will prompt up-to-date info from Home on the things it thinks you need to know, such as upcoming appointments or heavy traffic on regular routes.
Pricing and availability
Of course, not all of these new features will be available to Australian buyers when Home finally hits our shores. But it’s an exciting preview of what to expect from Google’s super-powered speaker, opening up a whole new world of voice-activated searching and home automation.
Pricing hasn’t been revealed for the Australian Google Home, but expect to pay around $200 if costs equal the current USD $129 retail price. We’ll be sure to keep readers informed as to when Google Home will be available locally.