Google Home is Google's answer to Amazon's Echo voice actuated assistant. Like the Echo, it's a small plug-in speaker with multiple far-field microphones that pick voice commands from anywhere in the room. You can have Google Home turn on the lights, set a timer, schedule an event, answer questions, stream music, or control other compatible devices. It uses Google's Cast standard so you can have it can stream music to Home units in other rooms or talk to the Chromecast unit plugged into your TV to play video clips. A customizable case will let you choose colors and materials to suit your décor.
Google Home won't be available until later this year, but Google announced it at their I/O conference yesterday to give developers, and those considering purchasing a competitor's product, a heads up.
If you own an Amazon Echo you know you can ask its voice actuated assistant, Alexa, to help you from everything to maintaining your shopping list to choosing your listening music. The limitation was that Alexa couldn't reach out to other apps, but that's now changed.
IFTTT (acronymn for If This Then That) has announced the Alexa Channel that hosts "recipies" (scripts) that allow Alexa to interact with other apps. You can have Alexa email your shopping list when you ask Alexa what's on it or you can have Alexa add the list to your Evernote app for example. No doubt even more useful recipies will be available soon.