Google launches its Amazon Echo competitor, Google Home, for $129

Unlike Google Now, which is present only on Android and iOS devices, the Assistant will be integrated into the company's smartphones, tablets, Google Home digital assistant device, messaging apps and other future hardware products.

Google's new Pixel phone was built around the Assistant, in a response to Siri, which remains primarily a feature of Apple's iPhone. The Assistant is created to let users interact with Google using conversational speech in the home and outside it, with and without their smartphones and tablets. Good question. In its simplest form, it's a voice-controlled speaker that brings Google to your house. It integrates with the Google Photos service, for example, so you can ask things like "Show me my photos of snow from last December".

You can say, "OK, Google, play Stranger Things" and Google Home will connect to your Chromecast, fire up Netflix and start playing the series on your Chromecast connected TV.

Google is one of the world's most valuable companies. It also has a natural language interface like Alexa.

The announcements, then, mark a shift in how Google seeks to get information to users, which it hopes will pay off in the long run.

On the surface, Google Home is the same as Amazon's Echo. However, Amazon has won over Google in introducing artificially intelligent devices to the market as Marketing professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University, Scott Galloway said: "Amazon is the accidental victor here". Since every home has a different interior design, Google Home can be customized to match its surroundings. It is an evolution of the existing Google Now technology and is the result of the considerable time and money the company has spent on machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies in recent years.

Pichai indicated that just as the Google search page was people's homepage on PCs, the web and mobile, it wants Google Assistant to be always there in the next era of computing.

Google Home and the assistant are rolling out almost two years after the Amazon Echo and its equivalent virtual assistant, Alexa, came to market.

Key to the success or failure of Google Home will be its ability to interact with other smart-home devices and services, said Ovum consumer-technology analyst Ronan de Renesse. It would be able to perform tasks such as set reminders, turn on TV, control music as well as everything smart connected devices.

Now, the company is rebranding the app again, and simply calling it Google Home. And because Google can easily access almost all the information on the internet, its hardware will be able to deliver a "personal Google to each and every user", according to Chief Executive Sundar Pichai.