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Google Home Mini and Home Max speakers with Google Assistant launched

Google Home Mini and Home Max speakers with Google Assistant launched

Google kicked off its hardware event today with a couple of new additions to its line of connected speaker products for the home.

The Google Home Mini is covered in fabric, just like the original Google Home smart speaker.

The Google Home Mini is a small puck-shaped device upholstered in a special cloth fabric and features 4 LEDs that shine through the fabric and let the user know it is listening or thinking. This compact device projects 360 degree sound and makes use of far-field microphones.

The Google Home Mini carries almost the same features as the Google Home.

It's available for pre-order right away, and available in seven countries: Australia, Canada, France, Germany, UK and United States, including Japan - the new country that was announced at the Google event.

The Google Home Max is priced at $399 and will be available in two different shades of grey starting December 2017 in the US. They are calling this feature "Smart Sound".

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Google also souped up the already highly rated camera on the Pixel, boasting that it will take even better photos than the iPhone. The standard Google Home speaker costs nearly $130.

The command "Hey Google, goodnight!" can turn off all the lights, turn down the temperature and remind the user of their first meeting next day.

Like Apple with the HomePod, Google is promising that its Max speaker will learn your musical tastes so it can become a digital DJ that automatically selects tunes that you'll enjoy. It costs $249 in the United States and will be made available soon.

The smaller size of course means it fits in more places - Google suggested using it as an alarm clock, or as a means of controlling a device by voice.

That puts it in direct competition with Apple's forthcoming HomePod, which is also leaning on sound quality as a differentiator, as well as the new Amazon Echo Plus. The speaker itself can be used in various positions and configurations allowing it to be placed vertically, horizontally, or even paired with another Home Max for enhanced stereo mode. You can also stream from a device to the speaker via Bluetooth, or plug in any device with an auxiliary input.