Google takes on Amazon with 2 new smart home speakers

Screengrab via Google

You have two new ways to Google-fy your living room.

Google now has not one but two new entrants to its smart home speaker family. If you want music and Google smarts in your living room, you can soon grab the long-rumored Google Home Mini. You can also snag a larger, music-centric Google Home Max.

Google first introduced its Home speaker at last year’s Google I/O conference. Google Home was the company’s first stab at an Amazon Echo competitor—a smart home speaker imbued with a digital assistant. Now, the company will soon offer a trio of options for consumers.

Google Home Max

Google Home Max is a larger smart home speaker focused on delivering a great music experience. Inside, it’s got two 4.5-inch woofers and custom .7-inch tweeters. It also has far-field microphones so that it can pick up your voice from across the room. Outside, this stereo speaker has a fabric-covered front grille.

With its focus on high-end audio, volume, and music, the Max feels like a direct competitor to Apple’s upcoming  HomePod speaker. Like the HomePod, the Google Home Max can also automatically tune itself for its position in a room. (Google has a machine-learning model trained on thousands of different room configurations.) The speaker will adjust itself dynamically if you move its position. You can choose to place it horizontally on its side, or vertically, on its magnetic base.

It’ll also adapt to context over time. For example, it could keep the volume lower in the mornings and know to raise the volume if the dishwasher is running while you’re trying to listen. The speaker also can identify your specific voice and can pull up your favorite playlists or stations.

As for music, it can play from Spotify (and several other streaming services), YouTube Music, Google Cast, and 3.55mm audio input. The speaker comes with a 12-month subscription to YouTube Red, which includes YouTube Music ad-free.

The Google Home Max goes on sale in December for $399. It comes in two colors: chalk and charcoal.

Google Home Mini

Smaller Google Home 2017 unit Photo via Google/Twitter

With leaks dating back months, and most details accidentally revealed by Walmart yesterday, the launch of the Google Home Mini did not surprise us today. Priced at $49, it’s much like the petite Amazon Echo Dot speaker.

The spherical puck measures roughly 4.5 inches in diameter and is 4.72 inches tall. While the Max is designed for music, the Mini is more about offering access to Google Assistant in your home. You just can’t pack much of an audio bunch in a package that small.

The Home Mini goes on sale October 19 for $49 in three colors: chalk, charcoal, and coral (a reddish orange).

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington

Christina Bonnington is a tech reporter who specializes in consumer gadgets, apps, and the trends shaping the technology industry. Her work has also appeared in Gizmodo, Wired, Refinery29, Slate, Bicycling, and Outside Magazine. She is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and has a background in electrical engineering.