Google just made it that much easier to access its massive search engine when your phone isn’t nearby.
The Mountain View, Calif. company unveiled a new product called Google Home on Wednesday during its annual I/O developer’s conference. The device is similar to the Amazon Echo smart speaker.
Google Home functions as a speaker that also houses Google’s powerful new voice-activated assistant. It’s launching later this year, but the company demonstrated a preview of the gadget on stage.
Google Home is customizable, so buyers can swap out the material based on their furniture and ambience. The device comes with an embedded speaker and microphone, and doesn’t include any buttons.
The company is flaunting its new gadget as a control center for your home. It can do everything from setting timers to integrating with popular home networking systems. This means users will be able to control smart lights and Nest thermostats, for instance. Google will eventually allow outside developers to add new functions to the device, as they can do with the Echo.
The Echo has been a surprise hit for Amazon. While the Seattle, Wash. company doesn’t break out sales numbers, outside analysts have estimated it has sold 3 million of the gadgets. While introducing Home, Google CEO Sundar Pichai gave a hat-tip to Amazon for its success in the smart home space.