Tuesday , 17 July 2018
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Google unveils Home Mini virtual assistant and Google Home Max speaker

Google’s well-leaked launch last night managed to retain one significant surprise: the release of a Google Home Max ‘intelligent’ loudspeaker. 

It came as the company also unveiled the Home Mini, Google Pixel smartphone and the Pixel XL – all well-trailed in advance. 

The company also talked a lot about artificial intelligence, but didn’t delve into much details, leaving an impression that it was more hype than reality. 

Although today’s event was billed as a hardware event, the two are inextricably linked, and so it goes that Google’s second generation of Google Assistant devices are supposedly even more AI-savvy and ‘radically helpful’.

Google is keen to emphasise that the design of software hardware and AI together has allowed them to stay ahead of the game.

Hands-free calling ‘later this year’, bringing it into line with Amazon which launched the feature this year.

The first announcement is the widely expected Google Home Mini, as a rival to Amazon Echo Dot, only even smaller, and covered in a Google-designed fabric. 

It comes in Red, Grey and Black only. Google claimed that it took 157 tries to find the right shade of grey, although maybe that’s just marketing keeping themselves busy? It’s priced at £49 here in the UK.

Nevertheless, this feels like a proper “this changes everything” moment for Google Assistant, and with a promise that it is coming to all markets (including the UK), it should be possible to kit out the entire house for a couple of hundred quid.

However, you might be left feeling annoyed if you’d bought a bunch of Google Homes already.  

In a surprise move, Google also announced the Google Home Max (pictured), a room-filling speaker with ‘Smartsound’, an AI-powered graphic equaliser that apparently tunes to the acoustic it finds itself in, without you doing a thing.

It supports Google and YouTube Music (of course), Spotify (Free and Premium) as well as Bluetooth and an Aux input. There was no mention of Apple Music… 

The device, though, can even adjust to ambient sounds like turning on the vacuum cleaner. The Max will be available in December in the US for a mere $399, with a years subscription to YouTube Red – which isn’t currently available in the UK. 

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