It’s kick-off time at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View for the software developer-focused I/O conference, and right off the bat, Google just dropped a bombshell on its home automation-obsessed fans.

After giving due credit to Amazon for pioneering a whole new tech segment with the Alexa-powered Echo, Sundar Pichai took the wraps off Google Home, as rumored earlier today. Unfortunately, the product is still a work in progress, and will only see actual daylight sometime by the end of the year, at which point Amazon is expected to sell an even more complex Echo with a tablet-like screen.

Google Home is designed to blend in your background, be it in the living room, bedroom and kitchen, and it of course relies heavily on the also just-unveiled Google Assistant. With no physical buttons and a perfectly minimalistic exterior, the smart speaker/IoT controller is fully operated through voice.

The built-in speaker streams audio directly from the cloud, and plenty of popular music services should be supported, although we don’t have a full list yet. While it obviously lacks a display, Google Home lets you play videos on your TV, and even syncs to Chromecast Audio to control other speakers in your house.


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