Google has beaten its rival Amazon in launching its Google Home domestic voice assistant speaker in the Australian market, claiming it has been fully programmed to deal with the local accent.
While Amazon Echo speakers with the Amazon Alexa voice assistant is the market leader in the United States, the technology is not expected to be released in Australia until the company launches local operations later this year or next year.
Google, with the release of its $199 device on Thursday, is pinning its hopes on being the first mover in the Australian market – and has claimed the device will understand the local accent and idioms.
“Ask it for ‘brekkie’ ideas or where the nearest ‘servo’ is. You can also ask it what sound a Kookaburra makes, and it’ll cue the laughter we all know and love,” the company wrote on a blog post.
“And of course, we’ve hidden a few Aussie treats for you to discover along the way. Why not try asking your Assistant on Google Home ‘Are you going to Bonnie Doon?'”
The Home device allows the user to verbally request anything that is Google-searchable, such as translations, traffic status, maths questions, word definitions, recipes and weather. The speaker will also read out news items, play streaming music and tell you personal information out of the user’s Google calendar or Google Maps.
Once smart home accessories are installed, Google Home can also control things like lights and heating. It can also connect to the Chromecast entertainment streaming dongle, which is already prevalent in Australian homes. More features will be added in the future via software updates over the internet.
Business Insider will report back on how well the Google Home speaker works in real-life situations.
Google is also releasing its wi-fi router on Thursday, which uses sophisticated mesh technology to ensure even coverage throughout the whole building. That will retail for $199 for a single unit or $499 for a three pack to place around the house.