Other Gadgets

Google Home launched in India for ₹9,999

Our Bureau | | Updated on: Apr 10, 2018
Rishi Chandra, Vice President-Product Management and General Manager-Home Products, Google, unveiling the Google Home, in New Delhi, on Tuesday.

Rishi Chandra, Vice President-Product Management and General Manager-Home Products, Google, unveiling the Google Home, in New Delhi, on Tuesday.

Rishi Chandra, Google’s Vice-President of Product Management and GM of Home Products, at the
launch of Google Home and Google Home Mini in New Delhi on Tuesday. - KAMAL NARANG

Rishi Chandra, Google’s Vice-President of Product Management and GM of Home Products, at the launch of Google Home and Google Home Mini in New Delhi on Tuesday. - KAMAL NARANG

 

Google’s smart speaker, Google Home, is now available in India, three years after it was first announced at the company’s I/O developer conference. The range of speakers includes the Max, Home and the Mini, of which the Max with its greater emphasis on music sound quality, is not part of the portfolio brought to India.

The Google Home speaker for ₹9,999 and the Mini for ₹4,499 will be available immediately on Flipkart and at several offline outlets, such as Croma and Reliance Digital. These are available in white and grey but the changeable base covers are not currently being launched in India.

Google Home, like the Alexa that Indian users have recently become familiar with, has a wake word — none other than the OK that Google users use on their Android phones. The virtual assistant, housed in the speaker, responds and awaits commands. A user can request a favourite Bollywood song or indeed the latest Jazz hits and Google will pick it up from one of the linked music services, including Saavn and Ghana. Or, one could take the speaker into the kitchen, plug it in, and be walked through a recipe including for Indian food step-by-step.

Much as is done when using the Google Assistant on an Android phone (or even an Apple iOS phone after downloading the Google Assistant app) one can ask for directions, traffic conditions, and likely time to commute. Weather, news and questions put to Google search will also work on the speaker. Google Home will be connected with a user’s Google ID and so will access schedule though it will not read out email, messages or make calls. Up to six people can connect their account to one Google Home, so if a user asks the Assistant to tell them about their day, it can distinguish one voice from another in the family and give personalised answers.

Speaking at the launch event, Rishi Chandra, VP of Product Management and General Manager of Home Products, Google, said; “We are delighted to bring our best-in-class Home products to India. These products have been customised to match the needs of the Indian consumer and you will see that Google Home is truly desi . It understands Indian accents, and will respond to you with uniquely Indian contexts. Another unmatched feature of our product is that the Google Assistant can work across all your devices - giving you a personalised Assistant experience in its truest sense.”

Coupled with Google’s Chromecast, the Google Home and Mini will play content from Netflix and YouTube on a television. The speakers can also be used to control Philips Hue lights, wherever they may be in the house.

In India, Amazon’s Alexa has a considerable head-start, specially with the intense advertising campaigns launched recently on television channels. While Google has the advantage of its search engine, Amazon has spent about three years customising content and interaction for its virtual assistant to fit into Indian culture. Google Home may have the advantage of knowledge about local businesses, locations and traffic, but Alexa is able to do voice shopping, read out your book, or order your food or a cab.

Published on April 10, 2018

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