Google’s been busy battling to catch up with Amazon’s Alexa in the race to control the voice-activated smart. Its first-gen Google Home smart speaker has already made some progress to that effect, and now, the company is reportedly plotting ahead to generation two.
According to a report from The Information citing “a person with knowledge of the product,” Google is exploring the possibility of producing new, second-gen Google Home smart speakers that double as Wi-Fi range extenders. The idea is that each speaker would act as a repeater for your home Wi-Fi network and help to extend coverage to dead zones.
It would be a logical next step for Google after the recent launch of Google Wi-Fi, a multi-point mesh networking solution. Google clearly has as high hopes for that system as it has for Google Home — by adding in mesh networking, it creates a good deal of crossover appeal. In other words, Google Wi-Fi owners would be incentivized to try out Home, and vice versa.
Perhaps more important is that Alexa doesn’t offer anything like it — at least not yet. Amazon has shown some recent interest in mesh networking with its $12.5 million-dollar investment in a system called Luma. It’s possible that the next round of voice control competition could include mesh networking features on both sides. But with its own mesh networking hardware already on the market, Google would seem have an edge here.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the report — we’ll update this space if we hear back.
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