Google homes in on Irish market with smart speakers

“Hey Google, isn’t there a grand stretch in the evenings?”

Ireland has become the latest country to receive Google’s hands-free smart speakers — and the tech giant has developed features for Google Home that are specific to the Irish market.

Powered by Google Assistant, Google Home is a voice-activated device that can search the web, check a calendar, get directions, and play radio or music while also providing voice control over compatible smart home devices such as thermostats, lighting systems, and televisions.

Users can start a request by saying “OK Google…” or “Hey Google” and the Google Home will provide information, weather, traffic, recipes, news, directions, flight details, and more.

Yesterday, Ireland became one of 13 countries worldwide in which Google Home has become available.

While early adopters have imported both the Google Home and smaller Google Home Mini from the UK, the development now means that users here will start to enjoy Irish-specific benefits.

In the UK, for example, users can ask their Google Home to advise about their day, and the device will run through their calendar, informing them of their appointments and reminders, before telling them about the day’s weather and playing a short news bulletin from the BBC.

Google has confirmed RTÉ will be an official media partner to support the device, with other outlets expected to join in the coming months.

The devices are programmed with jokes, games, and funny responses to users’ questions.

Google has confirmed the speakers have Irish-specific answers to prompts such as “What’s the craic?”, “Isn’t there a grand stretch in the evenings?”, and “Mayo for Sam”.

Tipperary native Tríona Butler, who works as a Google Home user experience lead in the US, launched Google Home in Dublin this week.

I’m honoured to attend the Irish launch of Google Home — it’s great to be back in Ireland and to see the product I’ve been working on, these last few years, in Irish shops,” she said.

“Ireland has always openly embraced new technology and I’m excited to see Google Homes in Irish homes very soon.”

Google Home and Home Mini are available in stores such as DID Electrical, Harvey Norman, Curry’s PC World, Expert Electrical, and Power City for €149 and €59, respectively, as well as the online Google Store.

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