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Google Home hopes to take on Amazon Echo

Could this be the thing to popularize the smart home with consumers?

Competition continues to heat up in the smart home world: Yesterday, Google launched preorders for its voice-activated smart home assistant, Google Home. The unit, which will retail for $129—a full $50 less than the Amazon Echo—when it is available on Friday, November 4, will surely benefit from being so darned cute: While the Echo has a dark, Darth Vader-esque aesthetic (of which this editor is a fan), Google Home units are the lovable Star Wars droids of the smart home world, and the look is likely to win over at least some smart home skeptics.

Fans of design will likely also dig the ability to switch out the speaker grilles along the base of the unit, which come in seven colors, and the overall sleek, unobtrusive look of the units. While voice activation is the favored mode of interacting with smart home stuff these days, the top of a Google Home device is also touch sensitive, and you can interact with it in that way, too, should talking at your technology still be an uncanny sensation for you.

Like the Echo, Google Home offers an all-in-one system for checking the weather, cueing up music, listening to the radio, interfacing with your home’s heating and cooling system (as long as it is connected to a Nest smart thermostat), and more. Already have a few smart home products? Google Home comes out of the box compatible with Nest products, Philips Hue bulbs, and, naturally, Google Chromecast. In a piece earlier this year, published right after Google announced that it was entering the smart home fray, our sister site the Verge pointed out that Google Home is actually compatible with fewer products

You can find a snazzy full review of Google Home over at our sister site, the Verge, as well as more intel on the Amazon Echo/Google Home divide. Looking for tips and tricks to turn your dumb apartment into a smart home? You’ve come to the right place.