Report: Google to debut ‘Home Mini’ smart speaker for $49 on October 4

Google is set to reveal the Pixel 2 smartphone and potentially other hardware at an event on October 4, in time for holiday shopping. While the Pixel 2 is set to be the star of the event, a prominent supporting role will be played by the new “Google Home Mini.”
This is apparently Google’s answer to the low-cost Amazon Echo Dot. According to Droid Life, it will be priced comparably at $49 and be available in three colors.

Image credit: Droid Life
The device will support the Google Assistant and reportedly will provide the same functionality as Google Home. It’s all but certain the sound quality won’t be as good. And there may be other hardware compromises to bring costs down. It will very likely broaden the market for Google Home and the Google Assistant.
Amazon has created multiple Alexa devices for different budgets:

Dot — $49
Echo Tap — $129
Echo — $179
Echo Show — $229

Amazon often discounts the devices and offers multiple purchase

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Walmart offering voice shopping via Google Assistant and Home

Google and Walmart have announced a partnership to bring Walmart voice shopping to the Google Assistant and Google Home. Free delivery will also be available through Google Express, which is changing its pricing structure.
Though not discussed in either company’s blog post, the move is likely a response to Amazon voice shopping via Alexa devices. It’s also part of Walmart’s efforts to increase its e-commerce business and reach new audiences.
The initial use case will be product reordering, but beyond that, Walmart intends to use its data to make personalized shopping recommendations based on purchase history. The company also has ambitious plans for voice shopping and offline fulfillment:
One of the primary use cases for voice shopping will be the ability to build a basket of previously purchased everyday essentials. That’s why we decided to deeply integrate our Easy Reorder feature into Google Express. This will enable us to deliver highly personalized shopping recommendations based on customers’ previous purchases, including those

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Google rolling out hands-free calling on Google Home to US and Canada

At Google I/O, the company announced that it was going to allow calling via Google Home. Now, Mountain View is rolling out the capability for the US and Canada in English, with Canadian French coming soon.
The device will permit calling to your Google contacts and businesses by voice alone. Alexa devices can call one another or users with Alexa apps on their smartphones. Microsoft’s Cortana has also promised calling capabilities via Skype. However, Google Home’s calling range is broader and more useful than the Amazon feature because it doesn’t require a corresponding app on the other end. Most business owners, for example, aren’t going to have Alexa devices to receive calls.
I wasn’t able to test the new calling feature because my Google Home told me, “Sorry, I can’t make calls yet.” Once it fully rolls out, users are supposed to be able to initiate calls by simply saying, “Hey Google, call…” Calls will then be routed over

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Voice search becomes voice action: A key talking point at SMX London

From combining search and social to leveraging moments that matter, last week’s attendees at SMX London gained a deeper understanding of the numerous ways they can optimize their search strategies.
Described as the “ultimate survival guide to the dynamic and tumultuous world of search marketing,” SMX  — run by Search Engine Land’s parent, Third Door Media — is a conference series designed to highlight the reach and opportunities that can be achieved through search advertising and outline search’s position in the wider marketing mix.
From my own perspective, one of the more enlightening sessions of the London event featured a presentation by Pete Campbell, founder and managing director of Kaizen, on the subject of voice search — a prominent theme given the ongoing battle of the AI assistants.
Despite existing for half a decade — Siri has been around since 2011 — voice search has only recently surged in popularity, with over a quarter (27 percent) of US smartphone users now utilizing voice

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[Podcast] The Google I/O 2017 recap: Lens, Assistant & more

The Google news was fast and furious last week, with numerous announcements coming from its annual developers’ conference, Google I/O 2017. The latest episode of our Marketing Land Live podcast offers a look back at some of the bigger announcements that will impact online marketers.
Much of the focus was on Google Assistant, the company’s smart/virtual assistant that originally powered Google Home devices and has since expanded to Android phones and — as of last week — the iPhone, too. Google made a number of updates to Assistant’s capabilities, including an interesting tie-in with yet another new Google product called Google Lens. That’s an AI-powered visual search tool that turns your smartphone camera into a pretty powerful search box.
We have audio explaining these new developments directly from last Wednesday’s Google I/O keynote, featuring Google CEO Sundar Pichai, along with Scott Huffman and Rishi Chandra.
This episode runs a little more than 15 minutes. You can listen here or use

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Google Assistant comes to iPhone, adds alerts, hands-free calling & more

Google Assistant was one of the stars of Wednesday’s keynote at I/O 2017. It’s gained a number of new features and expanded beyond its Android-based roots.
As expected, Google is making Assistant available on the iPhone, where it’ll compete with Apple’s built-in Siri — the original smartphone assistant — and Microsoft’s Cortana, which has its own iOS app. Assistant will be a standalone app that’s compatible with iPhones running iOS 9.1 or better.
Assistant is also getting a number of new features that I’ll describe below.
Notifications: Home will alert users when it has important information to share, beginning with things like traffic delays, flight statuses and reminders. The device won’t talk on its own but will light up when an alert is ready — much like the Alexa notifications that Amazon just announced for its devices.
Type to Assistant: Recognizing that not every situation is appropriate for talking out loud, users will be able to communicate with Assistant by typing

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SMX West keynote: Google talks about ranking, more in Google Assistant

Good morning from day one of SMX West 2017! We’re in San Jose, Calif., where the opening keynote conversation is set to begin at 9 a.m. PT. Jason Douglas, PM Director for Actions on Google, will be talking about Google Assistant with Search Engine Land’s Chris Sherman and Greg Sterling.
Douglas will be talking about the developer ecosystem that’s growing around Google Assistant, and specifically about “Actions” — Google’s term for tools and features that let brands, marketers, developers and others interact with users through Google Assistant. Think of Actions kinda like apps for a smartphone or tablet.
The keynote conversation is set to begin at the top of the hour, and we’ll be live-blogging right here once it gets started. So come back then, or just stay tuned, and feel free to refresh the page for the latest from SMX West!
Okay, we’re set to go. I’ll be using JD for Jason Douglas, CS for Chris Sherman and GS

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Google Home gets ‘Beauty & The Beast’ promo, but Google says it’s not an ad

Ask Google Home what your day is like today, and it will remind you that Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is opening. Google says this isn’t an ad. But it’s definitely an out-of-the-ordinary cooperation with a Google Home “partner.”
The promotion was spotted by Bryson Meunier, whose child was definitely excited to hear the news delivered by Google Home (Listen for the cute “yeah!” at the end):

New Beauty & the Beast promo is one way Google could monetize Home. cc: @gsterling @dannysullivan
— brysonmeunier (@brysonmeunier) March 16, 2017

Here it is on my own Google Home:

Google Home is telling people Beauty & The Beast opens today but says it’s not an ad, just working with a “partner”
— Danny Sullivan (@dannysullivan) March 16, 2017

Google sent Search Engine Land this statement:
This isn’t an ad; the beauty in the Assistant is that it invites our partners to be our guest and share their tales.
That’s a head-scratcher. Disney is the company behind

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Move over Amazon Echo & Google Home: Here comes Microsoft Cortana

Can’t decide which voice-activated home assistant you want, Amazon Echo or Google Home? Next year, you’ll have a third choice — Microsoft’s Cortana.
Unlike Amazon and Google, Microsoft isn’t making a Cortana device itself. Rather, today it announced a way for anyone to integrate its Cortana agent into devices, through the Cortana Devices SDK.
That’s apparently going to be used by Harman Kardon to make a speaker with Cortana smarts to be released next year. Microsoft shared the news in a blog post today, along with a short teaser video:

No pricing, exact release date or even a name has been announced. Presumably, other manufacturers could also come out with their own Cortana devices — and it’s a fair bet that Microsoft will likely make its own, too.
The post Move over Amazon Echo & Google Home: Here comes Microsoft Cortana appeared first on Search Engine Land.

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SEO without SERPs is here with Google Assistant, Home and Amazon Echo. Here’s how to survive.

On the first full day that we had a Google Home in our house, we interacted with it 473 times over the course of the day. Four hundred of those were my two-year-old asking it to play “Cherry Bomb” by The Runaways, followed by his mother or me interrupting with, “Hey Google! Stop!”
(Look, I love that song, too, but enough is enough, you know?)
The point is, watching the way that my family interacts with the device, and how often they interact with it, I’m more inclined to believe the forecast that sales of Amazon Echo and Google Home type devices will go from 1.8 million this year to 15.1 million in 2020.
Have you seen this demo video from Google I/O?:

It really can do all of those things, like turn on your lights and help you plan your day. There are many times where it gets stumped and says “Sorry, I’m not sure how to help with that,”

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