“At its annual I/O developer conference, Google today unveiled a new hardware device and competitor to Amazon Echo, a portable speaker powered by voice assistance technology called Google Home,” Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch.

“Like Echo, Google Home will also include a virtual assistant you interact with via voice,” Perez reports. “Unveiled earlier today, Google Assistant is a bit of a rebranding of the Google Now voice search feature. However, the new Assistant is able to answer questions and have two-way conversations, as well as perform tasks like playing music, interact with smart home devices including Nest thermostats, and more.”

Google Home

Google Home

“Unlike Amazon Echo, Google has not yet opened up its Home platform to all third-party developers,” Perez reports. “The speaker lets you customize the base with a variety of colors to match the home’s style, and includes LED lights, speaker, and mic… The speaker ships later this year. Pricing has yet to be announced.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Google beats Apple – well, in announcements, at least – but we’ll see what Apple has up their sleeve at WWDC and when it ships before we proclaim a winner in the race to echo Echo.

As we wrote last month:

Something along the lines of Amazon Echo is what Apple should have done if run by competent, forward-thinking management. When Apple finally does do their version of Amazon Echo (and they will get around to doing such a product eventually) they will rightly be called a follower. The company had all of the ingredients to make their own Echo, before Amazon, except for the vision, it seems.

Where’s Apple’s answer to Amazon Echo? – March 31, 2016
Amazon Echo leads mindshare in smart home platform war – February 29, 2016