Friday 21 September 2018

Google to challenge Amazon in Irish market with launch of its smart speakers here

Google Home and Google Home Mini. Photo by Adrian Weckler
Google Home and Google Home Mini. Photo by Adrian Weckler
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Google is to challenge Amazon in the Irish market with the launch of its Google Home smart speakers.

The two speakers — the Google Home and Google Home Mini — answer questions, play music and help control other smart home devices, such as alarms, lights and thermostats.

Google Home and Google Home Mini. Photo by Adrian Weckler
Google Home and Google Home Mini. Photo by Adrian Weckler

The larger Google Home speaker costs €150, while the smaller Google Home Mini costs €60.

The devices also allow people with Google accounts to check their calendars, get directions or play radio stations by using the command “okay Google”.

News updates and weather are also a common use for the gadgets.

The move marks an expansion of Google’s hardware products into Ireland.

Other products, including Google’s Pixel 2 phone, may be introduced in Ireland soon.

The Irish launch comes with a number of ‘Easter eggs’ focused for the Irish market.

For example, saying “okay Google, what’s the craic?” elicits responses from the machine such as “whenever we hang out, the craic always hits 90” or “I’m grand, just hanging out in the cloud, let me know if I can help you with anything.”

There’s even a sly dig at County Mayo. Using the phrase “okay Google, Mayo for Sam?” elicits the response: “yeah, right.”

A Google spokeswoman in Dublin said that there are no current plans to sell ads on the voice service at present.

However, the company will use data from conversations with the Assistant to build a more detailed profile of users to serve ads on other platforms.

“Just like other Google’s other products, we use data first and foremost to make our services faster, smarter, and more useful to you, such as by providing better search results and timely traffic updates,” said the spokeswoman.

“But we also use it to serve ads. Ads help us keep our services free for everyone and we use data from when you interact with Google to make the ads you see more relevant to you. It's important to note that the data will be stored in My Activity, giving you full transparency and control over your data and the power to delete records at any time. This is true for all devices you use to interact with the Assistant.”

Online Editors

Business Newsletter

Read the leading stories from the world of Business.

Also in Business