With new hardware trio, Google makes major play for your home

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google home speaker
Google Home is taking on the Amazon Echo.
Photo: Google

Not only does Google want to replace your iPhone with a Pixel, the search giant revealed today that it plans to invade homes with three new products that directly compete with offerings from Apple and Amazon.

During an event in San Francisco today, Google unveiled a new Wi-Fi router, an improved Chromecast and a new Google Home device that’s a lot like Amazon’s Echo smart speaker, only it’s powered by Google Assistant.

Google has dabbled with hardware before, but the company showed today that it’s ready to be taken seriously as both a software and hardware marker. And its first integrated ecosystem looks pretty incredible.

Google Home: A speaker that understands you

Google Home allows owners to use voice commands to do stuff like play music on YouTube, Google Play Music or Spotify. You can also ask Google Home to play podcasts or news feeds.

The smart speaker connects directly to Google to get you answers to your questions. It can also help you stay on top of your tasks by keeping track of your schedule to give you daily briefings with important info like if you’ll run into traffic on your commute.

Google Home interacts with other Google devices, like the new Pixel phones and Chromecast. And the company is adding support for third-party apps. Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue and IFTTT will be the initial partners, with more to be added in the future.

You can also use multiple Google Home devices together to play music throughout your house. The smart speaker will cost $129. It comes with a free six-month trial of YouTube Red, Google’s ad-free video service.

Google Home will be available in seven different color combinations. Fabric bases will come in the standard slate, mango, marine and violet. Metal bases will come in carbon, snow and copper.

Preorders start today, with units shipping November 4.

Google Wifi and Chromecast Ultra

Google’s Chromecast lineup was updated today with a new Ultra model that supports 4K video. Performance has been improved so that it’s 1.8 times faster than the old model. And an added Ethernet port means you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi anymore.

Speaking of Wi-Fi, Google wants to blanket your home with it. The new Google Wifi router packs advanced features that Apple’s AirPort Express and other conventional routers can’t match.

The Google Wifi routers can be connected together to form a mesh network, letting you get a speedy connection no matter where you are in the house. Google Wifi will cost $129 for a single unit, or you can buy a three pack for $299 when preorders open in November. Google Wifi won’t ship until December