It’s barely been five months since Google Home arrived to take over homes and there are already whispers of version 2.0.
According to a report from The Information, Google’s working on an upgraded version of Home that’ll also double as a Wi-Fi router and mesh network.
To put it in simpler terms, the next-gen Google Home could be half speaker/Google Assistant (what it currently is) and half Google Wifi. Instead of buying and setting up two devices, you’d only need one.
By including Wi-Fi router capabilities, Google would be able to “make its Assistant service faster” the report claims. It’s unclear if faster means more responsive; I had no issues with using Google Assistant on Home when I reviewed it, and didn’t find it to be slow at all (at least on decent Wi-Fi connections).
Instead of just being another smart device on your home network, the next version of Home could be the network. And if you have, say, a Google OnHub router or a Google Wifi router, the next-gen Home could extend the Wi-Fi network and blanket deadzones, essentially fixing areas within your home that have poor connections.
Instead of just being another smart device on your home network, the next version of Home could be the network.
The report also claims Google wanted to include a microphone, speaker, and the Assistant on its Google Wifi routers, but decided against it as it could have created confusion with Home.
“They want to have complete coverage of Wi-Fi in the house,” an anonymous source told The Information. “Alphabet’s goal is to get more devices in the home that do more. Coverage of Wi-Fi is a huge pain point.”
If you’re a consumer looking to pick between the Echo and Google Home, you might find there’s very little one can do that the other can’t. Sure, Alexa has tens of thousands more “skills,” but Google Home’s quickly closing the gap when it comes to connecting to devices that matter. A Home that dishes out Wi-Fi could be the one thing that’ll help Google leapfrog Amazon. That is assuming, of course, Amazon isn’t working on the same exact thing and beats them first.