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Smart speaker showdown? Google Home braces for battle with Amazon's Alexa

Google's new voice-activated smart home speaker is the first legitimate challenger to the Amazon Echo.

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Ry Crist

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The Google Home smart speaker is one of the the tech-titan's latest gadgets. It's a voice activated speaker with an internet connection, and you'll be able to ask it all sorts of things.

Sound familiar? It should, because Google Home is designed to go head-to-head with the Amazon Echo smart speaker, and with Alexa, the Echo's increasingly popular virtual assistant. Today, at a special event in San Francisco, Google gave us a closer look at how Home plans to compete. Click through for all of the latest.

This is a developing story. Watch the live stream for real-time video, and check out all of today's Google news.

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The device

Here's a close look at the device. Google says they modeled it after things commonly found in people's homes, like wine glasses.

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Touch controls

The top of the speaker will light up with multi-colored lights as it listens to your command. It's also a touch interface, letting you wake it up with a tap, or adjust the volume with a swipe.

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The basic features

The pitch sounds a lot like Amazon Echo -- voice-controlled music, internet searches, smart home control, and task management.

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The speaker

Inside, you'll find a speaker designed to fill the room with high-fidelity audio.

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Here's a closer look at that omnidirectional speaker.

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The bases

If you want, you can swap out the base casing for another color.

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Color choices

You have six color choices in total.

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Works with Chromecast

Google Home works with Chromecast, letting you play videos on your TV using voice commands. At launch, it'll draw from YouTube, but Netflix support is coming soon, too.

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Smart home control

At launch, the Google Home will be offer smart home controls for Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, and IFTTT.

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The price

The Google Home smart speaker is available for pre-order today in the US only. It'll cost $129 (about £100, or AU$170), and come with a six-month YouTube Red subscription.

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Coming very soon

Devices are expected to start arriving on November 4th -- you can expect a full review (and a lot of comparisons with Alexa) closer to that date.

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Color control

You'll be able to ask Google Home to change the colors of your Philips Hue bulbs -- Alexa can still only turn them on and off or dim them up and down.

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