Amazon Echo has become one of the hottest smart home products available in the market. However, Google's latest step of moving Nest engineers to its Google Home department indicates that the company is planning to introduce a stiff rival to Amazon Echo.
Google announced the voice-activated home product called Google Home during the 2016 Google I/O in May this year. Google seems to have had plans of a smart home product since the company acquired Nest in 2014.
Alphabet has moved many Nest engineers to Google to work on the smart home offering. The engineers will work under Hiroshi Lockheimer, the current senior vice president of Android and the person in charge for Google's smart home products. Lockheimer will direct the team to create a unified Internet of Things (IoT) platform.
Google Home will offer very similar features to Amazon Echo. Google Home users will be able to get answers from Google Search, stream music from Google Play Music and manage many everyday tasks.
Google Home is also estimated to borrow Chromecast's technology as the device will be able to connect to more than one Home speakers wirelessly and reach more than one room at once.
Google Home will also include Google Assistant - the intelligent personal assistant - that will allow two-way conversation.
The movement of Nest staff to Google will not only help the company develop Google Home, it may also help Alphabet build third-party partnership with other companies. No third-party partnerships were announced during the Google Home announcement. However, market observers believe that third-party support for Google Home is needed in the near term as Amazon Echo offers built-in features that allow third-party devices to be connected to the system.
Google Home is expected to be launched in the next few months and Google will have to work hard to get partners to create compatible products so that the smart home system is at par with Amazon Echo.
Smart Home Market
The smart home market is still at a nascent stage but the demand for such products is increasing. Market research firms predict that the smart home market will reach $121.73 billion by 2022 and companies such as Google and Amazon will like to grab a major chunk of the pie.
Google's Android is the leading mobile operating system in the entire world. The company will want to capitalize on the huge following with the integration of Android in Google Home.
Future Of Nest Labs
Google is absorbing the majority of Nest's engineers but the subsidiary will continue to support its existing products such as internet-connected thermostats. It seems unlikely that the company will create new products as Google will be focusing more on Google Home.