Google’s new smart home speaker is now available for pre-order — and may just give Amazon a run for its money
Google’s newest product is just dying to be heard.
This week, the company came out with its $49 Google Home Mini, a smaller, cheaper alternative to its Google Home speaker system that offers the same abilities as its larger counterpart.
Available to pre-order now at retailers including the Google Store, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Verizon, and more, Google Home Mini can stream Bluetooth music, answer questions, manage hands-free phone calls and give users step-by-step recipe directions. It also and has a broad range of apps, from Netflix to Domino’s Pizza, available for download.
Tech experts tell Moneyish that the Google Home Mini and its rival, the Amazon Echo Dot, can accomplish nearly the same things in terms of functionality. Both can control your light switches, lock your doors, and stream music from apps including Spotify and Pandora. They can make phone calls, raise or lower the air conditioning temperature, and update you on the news.
“The only difference between the two is the broadcast feature — it’s nifty,” said tech expert Rick Singer, the CEO of GreatApps.com. “Let’s say you have one of the Google Mini’s in your basement,” and you’re downstairs working, he offers as an example. You can broadcast your voice over the other Google Home Mini speaker systems spread throughout the various rooms of your home, enabling you to do everything from telling your kids it’s finally time to go to sleep, to asking your spouse to (please) bring you a snack, Singer explained.
Aside from this cool perk, why should consumers opt for the Amazon Echo Dot over the newcomer Google system, or vice versa? Experts agree that it’s about which brand you’re most loyal too, plain and simple.
“There aren’t a ton of differences in terms of the hardware,” concluded Ben Arnold, the tech industry consumer analyst for The NPD Group in New York. “The biggest difference is Alexa versus the Google Assistant. If you’re a Prime member and you’re ordering a lot of things [from Amazon] and you’re streaming audio books and paying for Amazon Music, you might want to stick with the Amazon collection of smart home products.
That said, “if you use the Google music service and things like your Google Calendar and GMail and search and you’re really tied into Google, the Home Mini is probably the option,” Arnold added.
The speakers look different from one another, so the design-savvy among you could pick based on that. The Google Home Mini is edgeless and covered in cloth and available in three colors, and the Amazon Echo Dot has a new futuristic look and comes with leather or cloth exteriors.
Should we expect the Google Home Mini to develop a cache within a marketplace long-dominated by Amazon Echo and the Echo Dot? Yes, Singer decisively predicted. Google “will clearly be able to get some type of traction with this. There’s no doubt in my mind,” he said.
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