oogle's smart home may be about to grow up, and I'd like to see it gain some independence in the process. As Google announces the next Pixel on Wednesday, rumors abound that the search giant will also unveil a smaller, more affordable version of its Google Home smart speaker dubbed Google Home Mini. Google could also debut a possible premium version of Google Home and maybe even a Google Home with a screen.
While I like the idea of Google expanding its smart speaker lineup, I want to see Google announce a smart home product that's not just another version of an Amazon Echo device. Google Home was obviously inspired by the similar Amazon Echo and the Google Home Mini should replicate the Echo Dot. A Home with a screen would line up with the Echo Show and the more powerful premium version of the Home could remind customers of the Echo Plus as well as Apple's upcoming HomePod.
Google has done an admirable job of developing its current Home speaker. Even though the Echo is two years older, Google Home now has a comparable number of smart home partners and abilities. That said, to truly bring the Home out of Amazon's shadow, Google needs to stop chasing Amazon and surprise us with a unique device of its own.
The thrill of the chase
Last week, Amazon announced six new products in the Echo family, including the Echo Plus and a smaller Echo with a screen. Even as Google Home has largely caught up with the Echo in terms of features, Amazon leads in device versatility, especially after its announcements last week.