One of the biggest reveals to come out of Google I/O two weeks ago was Google Home, a voice-activated virtual assistant meant to rival the likes of Amazon’s Echo. The device was met with a great deal of fanfare, but a new report from The Information might be enough to put a little damper on the excitement.
According to the report, Google Home is basically just a “dressed-up version” of the company’s video streaming Chromecast device. It uses the same ARM-based microprocessor as well as the same Wi-Fi chip, a source tells The Information.
In other words, it’s a Chromecast with a microphone and speaker glued on.
Your immediate reaction to this revelation might be negative, but as The Information points out, Google will likely be able to undercut the price of the $179 Echo significantly, especially considering the fact that a Chromecast costs just $35.
If Google can get the price of the Home down below $100, the choice is going to be easy for many consumers.
If there’s a drawback to Google Home being built on the same platform as Chromecast, it’s the challenge that will pose for app developers in the future. With Android, it would be an incredibly simple process, but the Linux-based OS is far less accessible for third-party developers attempting to add functionality to Home.
On the other hand, that’s not really what Google Home is meant to do — it’s supposed to be a portal to Google’s artificial intelligence, and it doesn’t take much processing power to do that. Chromecast already has enough guts to stream 4K video without a problem, so powering Spotify shouldn’t be too much of a challenge for the same components.
The virtual assistant still doesn’t have a price or release date.