After two years of waiting, Google is finally bringing its smart speakers and Home Assistant to India. The company has officially launched Google Home and its smaller variant Google Home Mini in India.
Google Home and Home Mini essentially a voice-activated smart speaker that brings the Google Assistant to any room in your house. It’s the exact same Assistant you could find in most of the android smartphones. But, with the full weight of Google’s natural language processing tech. It can easily do tasks like play music, answer questions, your daily routines, control Smart Home devices and more.
Before we get into the details of Google Home and Home mini, let’s fill up the price. The bigger and the better Google Home will retail at a price tag of Rs 9,999. Whereas, the smaller Google Home mini is priced at Rs 4,499. Both these devices are available exclusively via Flipkart and through selected offline stores across India.
Design and tech
Google Home is somewhat in cylindrical shape, with a white top which holds the touch surface, Mic(s) on the sides and a speaker base. The entire top area act as a touch surface, which can be used to turn up/down the volume, trigger Google Assistant manually, play/pause audio, alarms and responses.
Google Home boasts high-excursion speaker with 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators. To clearly listen to your commands from any corner of the room, the device packs dual microphones with far-field voice recognition technology. As for connectivity, it supports Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4 GHz/5 GHz) and Bluetooth. There only one physical button on the device, which allows you to mute the Mic disabling Google Assistant from listing to your voice.
Coming to Google Home Mini, it’s basically a smaller variant of Google Home. It is pebble shaped measuring 98mm in diameter, 42mm in height and weighing just 173g. Its entire enclosure is made of fabric, which is soft, durable and transparent enough to let through light and sound. The top portion act as a touch surface to control functions like play, pause, volume, mic, wake Assistant etc.
Google Home Mini boasts a 40mm drive which helps it to project 360-degree sound. Its mics are equipped with far-field voice recognition technology which can detect the wake word even in noisy scenarios. It is also equipped with Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) and Bluetooth 4.1 for connectivity and streaming. The mini is available in 3 colour choices – coral, chalk and charcoal.
Both Smart Speakers support operating systems Android 4.2 onwards and iOS 9.1 onwards. It can handle the following audio formats HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC with high-resolution streams.
Google Home and Home Mini Features
What can Google Home do? It can play music, much louder than your normal speakers. Thanks to the recent addition of Saavn and Gaana to the Assistant, along with Google Play Music support, you could search and listen to any Indian and International songs. If you’ve Google Chromecast at home connected to your TV, then you could ask Google Home cast any movie, TV shows or music to your big screen or speaker (with Chromecast Audio).
Then there is the smarter personalised help from Google Assistant. Google Home can recognize individual voices (up to six people) in your home and can offer personalised help to each. Thus everyone will get their own schedule, routines, reminders, calls, news and more. It can answer the simple one-to-one question to detailed and conversational type questions. In addition, it can easily offer live cricket or football updates, detailed recipes with each step to follow, real-time translation, Podcasts, read aloud audiobooks and much more. You could even play games like trivia and other fun games on Google Home.
Google Home can also be used to control Smart Home products with your voice like the smart lights, plugs and switch controls. Smart Home products from top brands like Philips, SYSKA LED, Oakter, TP-Link and more are already supported.
Launch offers on Google Home and Home Mini
If you’re looking to purchase the Google Home smart speakers, then stores are offering special launch day deals. On purchase of the smart speakers online via Flipkart, you would get a free JioFi device. If you’re purchasing the smart speakers from Reliance Digital Stores or Jio stores then you would get a JioFi WiFi router along with 100GB of free 4G data worth Rs 2,499. This offer will be valid until 30th April 2018.
ACT Fibernet users can actually get Google Home Mini for free if they subscribe to an early plan of 90mbps or more. If you plan to purchase these smart speakers from Philips store or Croma outlets, then you would get bundled discount with Philips Hue lights. Finally, HDFC Credit Cardholders can get extra 10 percent cash back on the purchase of these devices.
Coming to freebies, Google will offer free Play Music subscription for six months on purchase of these smart speakers. There is also special subscription offers on Saavn and Gaana between 10th April 2018 to 31st October 2018.
With Google Home launching in India, the competition in the smart speakers and home assistant space has got heated up. Just a few months ago only Amazon went full-fledged in the Indian home assistant market with its range of Echo smart speakers. This includes Amazon Echo, Echo Dot and Echo Plus. Now its the turn for Smart Home vendors to comes with affordable devices, mainly the smart lights, plugs and switch controls to build up the entire ecosystem.