At home with Google

Google home is here what is it

May 18 2016 saw the announcement of Google Home, a system that will bring a computerized personal assistant into your home.

Ever wanted interact with your devices without a keyboard or remote in sight?

That time is almost upon us, my friend, don your Starfleet uniform and make your way to the bridge – er – I mean kitchen.

It’s fifteen years late and comes in a compact little package, but HAL 9000 may finally be with us! The LED light is a bit less ax-murderer red and you get a choice of stylish materials for the base – but that’s still a talking computer in the corner!

Google Home and its competitor, Amazon Echo, are basically units with built-in speakers and microphones that allow you to interact with smart devices, in your home and this is going to go way beyond piping music into different rooms in your house.

Google Home will make reservations, answer questions, check traffic and act as electronic butler when it comes to ordering around the other wireless gadgets in the house.

Sounds great!

So what am I being so dramatic about?

I can’t help it, I’m just old enough to expect to hear:  “I can’t allow you to do that, Toby.” Every time I change a light bulb!

Jokes aside, Google’s announcement really does seem to be a peek into how the average household will change in the coming century. Just as it once seemed an impossible luxury to have electric lighting in every room, so the idea of your own voice activated, electronic personal assistant won’t remain the stuff of science fiction for very long.

There has been some speculation that we shouldn’t get our hopes up too much just yet, with some articles claiming that Google Home isn’t going to be much more than “a microphone, speaker, plastic top with LED lights and fabric or metal on the bottom – wrapped around a Chromecast.”

As yet we can only speculate as to how much Google Home will live up to the hype, but with units likely to be released at the end of this year we shouldn’t have too long to wait.

There’s no news on the likely price yet, but the Amazon Echo goes for around $180. Chances are the Google Home will be significantly cheaper and unlike the Echo, Google Home will not be exclusive to the US.

One thing that is clear from Google’s release is that it intends to take Home well beyond Chromecast’s capabilities.

The unit will obviously be able to stream media and communicate with your Wi-Fi devices, but there is also the whole aspect of being your personal assistant. Google Home will go beyond being a mere entertainment tool, it will be designed to become a lifestyle aid. In short your “plastic pal who’s fun to be with”.

As yet we only have the prototype and a slick release video to go on, but it’s clear that Google is aiming for a future where Google Home will become a fixture in everyone’s life. Even if they haven’t quite worked all the bugs out yet, they clearly feel confident enough to tell us that Google Home is coming.

And I’m not quite sure how I feel about it to be honest. Being able to talk to my computer anywhere in the house is the answer to many a childhood dream, but I can’t help wondering what the security and privacy implications are of a system that puts a microphone in every room and tries to learn about and help plan your life.

When your house assimilating data about you, will those with an interest in monitoring or marketing be far behind?

Here is the demo video.