Google Home, Home Mini smart speakers were launched in India on Tuesday at an event in New Delhi. The larger of the two Google Assistant-powered smart speakers was unveiled at Google's first hardware event in October 2016, whilst the smaller of the two was unveiled at the Mountain View company's second hardware event in October 2017. The Google Home and Google Home Mini will be available to buy online in the country exclusively via Flipkart, and will also be made available via offline stores. In India, speakers will support Google Play Music, YouTube, Netflix, Saavn, and Gaana. Hindi support will be added to Google Home speakers later this year. There are no immediate plans to bring the larger Google Home Max speaker to India at the moment.
The Google Home price in India has been set at Rs. 9,999, a price that sees it compete directly with the Amazon Echo smart speaker - powered by the Alexa voice-based virtual assistant - in the country. Google Home will come in a Chalk fabric base, and Coral will come soon. To recall, the Amazon Echo is priced at Rs. 9,999 as well. Likewise, the Google Home Mini takes on the Amazon Echo Dot, and features a Rs. 4,499 price - the same as the Echo Dot. Google Home Mini is available in Chalk and Charcoal fabric colours.
Flipkart will be initially be the exclusive online sales partner, and the speakers will also be made available through various offline channels, including Reliance Digital, Croma, Bajaj Electronics, Vijay Sales, Sangeetha, and Poorvika. Sales via Flipkart and the offline stores will begin from today.
Customers buying the Google Home or Google Home Mini from Flipkart will get a free JioFi router and when buying a Google Home from a Reliance Digital or MyJio stores, a JioFi router will be included along with 100GB of 4G data worth Rs. 2,499. On a recharge of Rs. 149 or above (Rs. 99 Jio Prime membership purchased separately), customers will get 100GB of additional data, provided in the form of 10 vouchers with 10GB data each; validity of the vouchers will be 1 year from the date of credit. The offers will last until April 30.
At select Philips Hue and Croma outlets, buyers will get the Philips Hue and Google Home Mini at a special bundled price. Also, ACT Fibernet retail customers subscribing to 12-month advance rental plans of 90Mbps and above will receive a Google Home Mini. Those who make the purchase via HDFC Bank credit cards will get 10 percent cashback. Buyers will also get free subscription to Gaana up to October 31, 2018; paying Re. 1 will provide them ad-free subscription to the service for an additional 1.5 years. Similarly, Saavn subscription will be free till October 31, and an ad-free subscription for another 1.5 years will be provided at Re. 1.
Speaking at the launch event, Rishi Chandra, VP of Product Management and General Manager of Home Products, Google said; “We are delighted to bring our best-in-class Home products to India. These products have been customised to match the needs of the Indian consumer and you will see that Google Home is truly ‘desi'. It understands Indian accents, and will respond to you with uniquely Indian contexts. Another unmatched feature of our product is that the Google Assistant can work across all your devices - giving you a personalised Assistant experience in its truest sense.”
Google Home specifications
The Google Home features a touch surface on top, which can be used to control playback, volume, and also activate the Google Assistant. Its mic - which offers far-field voice recognition and identifies different voices with Voice Match technology - is also located on the top panel, while its mic mute button and power status light are located at the back. The top panel also features the lights that change patterns and colours depending on the action being formed.
Google Home sports a high-excursion speaker with a 2-inch driver and dual 2-inch passive radiators. It will only be available with a White body, but come with different-coloured speaker material - the default it ships with is Slate fabric. It supports devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and higher, and iOS 9.1 and higher.
For connectivity, the Google Home offers just dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11ac, and can only be used as a Wi-Fi connected speaker with no Bluetooth capabilities. It also needs to be powered by wall socket, and comes with an AC power adapter. As for supported audio formats, the Google Home supports HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), and FLAC. The speaker also supports Chromecast, letting users stream movies, shows, and music onto their connected TVs or Google Cast speakers. It also works with over 1,000 smart home devices from over 150 brands. It measures 142.8mm in height and has a diameter of 96.4mm. It has a weight of 477 grams, and its power cable measures 1.8 metres.
The Google Home Mini has four lights on top, which show the speaker is working and turn orange when the mic is muted - there is a mic mute switch near the power (Micro-USB) port on the back. Control mechanisms are on the left and right of the Google Home Mini's lights, which can be used to change volume and start or stop alarms, timers, and calls. The speaker is only available with fabric-based designs. It sports a non-skid silicone base. Its speaker is touted to deliver 360-degree sound and bears a 40mm driver, whilst it mic supports far-field voice recognition. It supports devices running Android 4.4 KitKat and higher, and iOS 9.1 and higher.
For connectivity, the Google Home Mini offers dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi 802.11ac as well as Bluetooth v4.1, letting it be used as both a Wi-Fi connected speaker and a Bluetooth speaker. It also needs to be powered by wall socket, and comes with an AC power adapter. As for supported audio formats, the Google Home supports HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), and FLAC. The speaker also supports Chromecast, letting users stream movies, shows, and music onto their connected TVs or Google Cast speakers. It also works with over 1,000 smart home devices from over 150 brands. It measures 42mm in height and has a diameter of 98mm. It has a weight of 173 grams, and its power cable measures 1.5 metres.