Google Home Coming to India in April 2018
Gadgets 360 first reported the rumor last Thurdsay that Google Home was coming to India in April 2018. That’s right. This month. The scoop came from a partner of retailer Redington India. Google itself has now semi-confirmed the rumor with a tweet today from the Google India Twitter account. The Tweet has an image of a Google Home and Google Home Mini with the phrase “Help at home coming soon.” So, it doesn’t exactly say April, but combined with the earlier report we can surmise that Indian consumers will be able to start purchasing Google Home devices this month.
— Google India (@GoogleIndia) April 2, 2018
India is the Next Big Battleground for Amazon and Google
Amazon and Google are following each other around the globe introducing their respective smart speakers. The initial targets were U.S. and European markets, but more recent effort have focused on the Pacific Rim and Asia. Both companies offer language localized offerings in Japan and Australia. Amazon launched its Echo smart speaker in October 2017 in India by invitation and expanded to general consumer availability in February 2018. At the time, the company also introduced calling and messaging features and more recently enlisted Chinese smartphone maker Coolpad to offer Alexa on mobile devices in India. Harman Kardon also began selling an Alexa-enabled smart speaker in India this past December.
Google hasn’t exactly been ignoring India during this period. In November 2017 it announced that Google Assistant could be localized to Indian English. A US$23 feature phone announced in December 2017 that it would support Google Assistant for Indian consumers, followed by another feature phone from Nokia in February 2018. Also in February, Google announced it would support 30 languages through Google Assistant in 2018 including Hindi.
Neither Amazon nor Google have an obvious path to success in China. The presence of Chinese tech giants and government restrictions severely limit opportunities for any foreign company. By contrast, India is an open market where both companies have established and growing operations. The country also claims the world’s second largest population. If you want to capture a lot of users for your voice assistant, India may be the fastest market to drive growth. You should expect to see a lot more activity in India in the coming months as each company attempts to curry favor with local consumers.