Google Home and Home Mini, the virtual assistant speakers by the tech giant, have been launched in India. The smart speakers are available online on Flipkart with the regular Google Home priced at Rs 9,999 and the Mini at Rs 4,999. TechCrunch reports that the speakers are also available in retail 750 retail stores.
Users are also getting a complimentary six-month subscription of Play Music (which isn’t very impressive) on buying either of the products. It will also have pre-installed Indian streaming services Saavn and Gaana. Notably, the smart speakers are not compatible with Indic languages. Even though the Google Assistant can be used in Hindi, the Home range cannot. Its US-based owner did however say that the speakers understand the Indian accent and voices and will respond “with uniquely Indian contexts”.
Google is also adding Jio’s wireless data card to its launch offer. While Google Mini is available in chalk and charcoal coloured variants, Google Home is available only in white.
Amazon vs Google
Google Home is the latest to enter India with the virtual assistant powered smart speaker offering. Amazon’s Echo, Echo Plus and Echo Dot have been available in India on an invitation basis since last year, while the company launched it for all in February this year. Google Home and Echo are priced exactly the same. Echo Plus(Rs 14,999) is a more expensive model and Echo Dot (Rs 4,499) is the budget offering. Amazon’s early presence may give it an edge over Google in the market, but both companies are likely to be at a big disadvantage without support to local Indian languages. Indic language have been a major driver of content consumption online and internet penetration overall, as 88% of India’s population is non-English speaking.
The two massive tech companies compete in other segments as well. Both have music streaming services, Play Music for Google and Prime Music by Amazon. Google also recently launched Shopping Actions which allows users to purchase items through Google Assistant and shopping ads in search results. This move directly took on Amazon and challenged its dominance in e-commerce.