Google Home to launch in the UK next week

March 29, 2017
| Report Focus News

Launch of rival to Amazon Echo takes fight to Jeff Bezos’s Seattle-based company, but experts say it’s still Google’s to lose

Google Home, the search giant’s smart assistant that rivals Amazon’s Alexa, will be launched in the UK in April.

Google said it had “hidden a few British treats” in the device.

| Report Focus NewsThe speaker and assistant, which launched in the US in November, is part of a growing trend to make artificial intelligence available in homes.

The firm is also launching its own wi-fi service in the UK, in an attempt to solve the “frustration when wireless connectivity fails at home”.

Like Amazon’s Echo, Home can answer basic queries as well as control smart home devices, such as lights.

It can also help with translations, offer weather and traffic updates and deliver news updates from publications such as the BBC, the Guardian and the Financial Times.

“A combination of our natural language processing, machine learning and voice-recognition expertise allow users to interact naturally with the assistant,” said Suveer Kothari, director of product planning at Google in a blog post.

“And of course, we’ve hidden a few British treats for you to discover. Just try asking Google Home about its hobbies or favourite foods.”

The US version of Google Home proved controversial when it began playing information about the new film, Beauty and the Beast, unprompted.

Google apologised and denied that it was an advertisement, saying it was experimenting with “new ways to surface unique content”.

Google Home will be available in stores such as Argos, John Lewis, Dixons and Maplin from 6 April, and will cost £129.

Google Wi-fi will be available at the same time and will also cost £129.

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