Google is the first of the digital giants to offer a home assistant in France – Google Home – which will be available in August, first online then in stores. The system has already been available in the USA since the beginning of the year, but users will now be able to give out instructions to a connected speaker which controls the smart objects in their home via a French version.
The French version of Google Home will be available in mainland France from 3 August via Google Store and 8 August on the high street. And while the Californian tech giant’s home assistant will speak French to its owners, there is plenty more besides a mere linguistic adaptation of models used in other countries.
The bleu-blanc-rouge version of Google Home will have Netflix, Deezer, Spotify, TuneIn, Europe 1, Radio France and RTL compatibility, as well as LIFX, Nest, Philips Hue and Wemo, Google announced last Thursday.
Until now, French users had been able to use the US version, on sale since the beginning of the year. There is also a French-Canadian version for those who are not fans of the English language, but this does not enable the use of certain of the assistant’s functions, including controlling household objects, reports Numerama.
Google ahead of the competition
The launch will put Google ahead of the competition in France, since its intelligent speaker will be available before the Amazon Echo and the Apple HomePod. According to Le Figaro, the only countries where the Echo is currently available outside the USA is Germany and the UK, since Alexa – the Seattle-based company’s artificial intelligence system – does not exist in French at the moment.
Apple meanwhile are not struggling with language issues but are simply lagging behind in terms of getting the HomePod onto the market, which is scheduled for the end of this year in the USA and not before 2018 in France.
French users ready to say "OK Google"
French users are therefore going to have to use Google’s connected speaker to control smart objects around their home with voice-activated command. Once they have uttered the famous phrase "OK Google", Home users will be able to select and listen to music and have access to information that the system will look up for them on the web, as well as programming and setting alarms, lights and TV programmes in their homes.
Amazon Echo the US market leader
Will the Google speaker – a cylindrical object some six inches high – prove popular in France? from the main competition will certainly give it a first-mover advantage on the French market, but things may prove more complicated after that for the company.
A study by eMarketer published last May showed that in the USA, Amazon Echo accounts for 70% of smart speakers on the market compared with just 24% for the Google assistant.
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