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Wednesday October 19, 2016
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Google Home is due out in the US in November 2016. — AFP picGoogle Home is due out in the US in November 2016. — AFP picNEW YORK, Oct 19 — Amazon Echo and Google Home bring artificial intelligence into the home with connected voice assistants on hand to help out with various tasks and queries.

Google Home is a voice-control system that brings Google’s intelligent personal assistant to any room of the house. 

It responds to simple voice commands, starting with the traditional “OK Google”, whether for putting on some music, getting tomorrow's weather forecast or adjusting a connected thermostat. 

It’s due to go on sale in the USA priced US$129 (RM541).

Launched in 2014, Amazon Echo was a pioneer in the field. 

It’s based on exactly the same principle, but here Amazon’s Alexa AI assistant is in control. 

Although first reserved for the US market (US$179.99), the system is now distributed in selected countries worldwide, such as the UK and Germany. 

This fall sees Amazon release a new-generation home-based voice assistant called Echo Dot. 

This is a more compact and more affordable device, at just US$49.99.

Voice controls for home automation

As well as playing music on demand, answering day-to-day queries like sports results or translating phrases into foreign languages, home-based voice assistant services are above all billed as control centers for all of a home’s connected devices. 

With the right kit, it would, for example, be possible to control the lighting or the temperature in each room without getting up from the couch or from under the duvet (if the device is in the bedroom). 

Achieving this requires ensuring compatibility with as many partners as possible.

Google and Amazon assistants can already be used with Nest products and Philips Hue lighting, for example. 

Specific scenarios can even be programmed thanks to compatibility with the IFTTT application, which can automate certain tasks.

It’s still early days for this kind of device, but they're sure to gain ground over time as voice assistants become commonplace across smartphone platforms and become increasingly well-known and used. 

Current intelligent voice assistants include Google Assistant (replacing Google Now), Siri (Apple), Cortana (Microsoft) and Viv, coming soon to Samsung connected devices. — AFP-Relaxnews



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