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Google Cast App Rebranded to Coincide With Impending Launch of Google Home

Google has officially rebranded its "Google Cast" iOS and Android apps to "Google Home," getting the mobile apps ready for the launch of its hands-free smart home speaker, similarly named Google Home. The new name also comes with a new app icon, new features, and some slight UI tweaks that make "the app easier to use." The old Google Cast icon (left) compared with the new Google Home version (right) The "Home" launchpad in the app now has a "Watch" and "Discover" section that lets you watch videos on any of the Chromecast-enabled apps you already have installed, or discover thousands of new apps available for Chromecast, respectively. Additionally, a floating magnifying glass button enables video search across multiple apps to make it easy to find the videos you want. Once Google Home launches next week, on November 4, the new app will be the single location for users to control all of their Chromecast and Google Home devices. A "Devices" button in the top right corner will guide users through easily pairing a new product to the app, and after pairing is complete they can adjust its settings, control audio and video playback, and more. Google Home is available to download for free from the iOS App Store [Direct Link], and users can pre-order the Google Home smart speaker itself for $129.00 from the Google Store, Best Buy, Target, and

Google Unveils Pixel Phone, Smart Home Hub, and More at AI-Focused Event

At its media event today in San Francisco, Google announced a few new pieces of hardware, mainly centering around the company's artificial intelligence initiatives and the confirmation of a new pair of smartphones called the Pixel and Pixel XL. Additionally, the company revealed the new Chromecast Ultra streaming dongle, a VR headset called Google Daydream, and gave more details about its connected smart home hub device, Google Home. Bits and pieces of information on the Pixel smartphones and Google Home have surfaced online over the past few weeks, correctly predicting most of today's announcements. Google Assistant The company started off by providing details on its artificial intelligence platform, called Google Assistant, which the company says is like "your own personal Google." The assistant can perform normal tasks like playing music, performing search queries, and providing navigation directions, as well as carrying on a normal conversation with the user. The company showed this by providing an example of a user asking for directions, then inquiring about restaurants at the destination's end, and finally setting a reservation at one. Google CEO Sundar Pichai also discussed a few intelligent updates coming to the company's search system, including improvements to image descriptions, better translation fueled by machine learning technology, and more human-like text-to-speech abilities. Pichai said that the assistant will "constantly get better" as the company introduces it to more and more users, which it's started doing with the recent launch of

Google's Own Echo-Like Device 'Google Home' Rumored to Cost $130

Google will formally announced its Wi-Fi enabled smart home device, Google Home, at its upcoming October 4 press event, according to a new report by Android Police. The device is rumored to cost $129 and the company will sell different color plates so users can personalize the look of Home. At $129, Google Home would be $50 cheaper than Amazon Echo, which offers a selection of similar services and features to users. Google originally discussed Home at its I/O Conference in May, detailing how users will be able to make voice-enabled Google searches, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. Continuing in the vein of other smart home speakers, Home can play and control music, sync with various online services that provide traffic reports and weather forecasts, and interact with other smart home products like Nest. It's believed that Google could use a version of its intelligent chat AI Google Assistant -- which it uses in Allo -- to fuel Home's voice-control abilities. The October 4 event is thought to be the launch pad of a few other Google products, including the $69 Chromecast Ultra (with 4K and HDR streaming), a new Daydream VR headset, and the company's new lineup of Android phones. The connected smart home speaker device is slowly becoming a popular platform following Amazon's success with Echo and Echo Dot. Apple is rumored to be entering the space with a Siri-enabled alternative, which might have facial recognition but is otherwise thought to offer many of the same search inquiries,

Google's Echo Rival is a 'Dressed-up' Version of Chromecast

Last month, Google announced plans for its upcoming Amazon Echo rival, Google Home, a Wi-Fi enabled personal assistant that enables people to ask Google search queries, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. Yesterday, a few more details emerged about Google Home, which will potentially go directly up against the smart device Apple is rumored to be working on. According to technology news site The Information, Google Home will share many of the hardware components of the company's popular internet-connected TV streaming device, Chromecast, relying on the same dual-core ARM-based microprocessor, 4GB of RAM, and a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi chip. The similarities are apparently so close between the two devices because the same team responsible for the Chromecast headed up development of the Google Home. As a result, it is being described as "dressed-up version" of the company's existing device, with the addition of a microphone, speaker, plastic top with LED lights, and a fabric or metal bottom.  The Home is also expected to run the same Linux-based OS used on the Chromecast, though Google has discussed powering future versions with its Android mobile platform.  The upshot of all this is that the device could be extremely inexpensive to produce, given that the Chromecast currently sells at $35. That would mean Google being able to significantly undercut the $179 Amazon Echo. Notably, the Chromecast is also one of Google's most successful hardware products, selling 3 million units in the

Google I/O 2016: Assistant, Home, Allo, Duo, Android N, and More

Google hosted its annual I/O developers keynote at the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California today, announcing multiple new products and services related to Android, search, messaging, home automation, and more. Google Assistant Google Assistant is described as a "conversational assistant" that builds upon Google Now based on two-way dialog. The tool can be used, for example, to ask who directed the movie Avatar, and to ask which other movies he has directed, and Google should be able to isolate the questions from the conversation and provide answers. The new Siri and Alexa rival, compatible with both voice and chat, will be widely available on Android, iOS, in the home, and elsewhere later this year. Google Home Google Home is a new Wi-Fi-enabled personal assistant device for the home that enables people to ask Google search queries, manage everyday tasks, enjoy music and entertainment, and more using hands-free "OK Google" voice commands. The Amazon Echo rival features a clean, color-changing design with no buttons, a speaker on the bottom, multiple room support, remote control of Chromecast and other speakers, compatibility with Nest and other popular home automation platforms, and more. Google Home can be used to make general searches, check flight statuses, track shipments, set dinner reservations, turn on lights or play music in certain rooms, receive real-time traffic and routing information, check your appointments, and more. Google Home will be available later this year. Pricing was not