Google launches Google Home Mini and Google Home Max
Google's smaller Home speaker is getting smarter, while its Max speaker promises superb sound.
Alongside the launches of the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL, Google has also announced, as expected and heavily rumoured, a smaller Google Home speaker under the branding of "Google Home Mini".
Google also announced Google Home Max, a more audio-centric speaker with 2 4.5 inch woofers for extra bass. Google's claim is that it's 20 times more powerful than Google Home. Google's AI-driven "Smart Sound" feature will, according to the company allow the speaker to detect where it is and automatically adjust and tune for best possible audio quality.
Google says that the Smart Sound feature will work dynamically, so if you move it, it will be able to change its audio profile. Like most of Google's products, it's designed to learn your habits to adjust its sound profiles based on usage or time of day.
Google Home Max will launch in the US for $US399 outright in December, with other countries to follow in 2018.
Google's claim is that it's put extensive work into its Voice Match capabilities to properly identify users. Google says that Voice Match makes it the only personal assistant to properly identify users. While Voice match has previously been US-centric, from today, it's launching it in every Google Home-capable country. Google Home also offers calling capabilities in the US, and it will launch that feature later this year in the UK.
The Google Home Mini offers the same features and functionality as the existing (and already available in Australia) Google Home speaker, but in a smaller and lower-cost form factor. In the US it will retail for US$49 outright, which translates to around $75 in Australia, but that's a figure without sales taxes, so it's likely that when we do see the Google Home Mini, it'll be closer to $85-$100 after GST and shipping are taken into account. In the US, pre-orders start today, with instore availability from 19 October. Google Home Mini will come to Australia and all other Google Home countries, although Google hasn't announced specific availability dates yet.
Google will also allow the creation of Google accounts for under-13s, in order to enable new features such as voice recognition for kids, as well as educational opportunities for younger Google Home users. The command "Hey Google, Let's Learn" will enable educational experiences, while "Hey Google, let's play" will enable new game experiences. Google says it's working with Disney and Warner Bros for new experiences for families and kids. The new family features will roll out later this month.
Like the Google Home itself, the Google Home Mini is a smart speaker that incorporates standard Bluetooth audio for music playback alongside the Google Assistant for spoken voice queries. The Google Home Mini will cost $79 outright, and is available to order from Google's Australian online store at an outright price of $79 with shipping estimated at 2-3 weeks.