The following is an excerpt from Will Oremus | May 18, 2016 | Slate.com |
For more than a year now, there has been a popular tech gadget that is the only one of its kind on the market. The Amazon Echo, a “smart speaker” that you control by voice, was the company’s end run around the smartphone industry, which it failed to break into with the Fire Phone. Widely viewed as quixotic upon release, the Echo gradually won over many of its critics, and a surprising number of consumers, with its dead-simple interface and just enough practical use cases to insinuate itself into one’s daily routines. It was only a matter of time before one of the other big companies copied it. And now Google has.
At its annual developer conference Wednesday, the company announced Google Home, a “smart speaker” that—well, I probably don’t need to repeat it. It does basically the same stuff the Echo does, plus or minus a few features. It’s also very similar in design, if perhaps a little friendlier-looking. It bears some resemblance to an air freshener, or perhaps a modernist salt shaker.
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