The content streaming wars come home: Who’ll win your living room – Google, Apple or Amazon?

This week, on the heels of Apple’s and Amazon’s product announcements, Google held its fall devices event, which introduced a handful of products that many people have highly anticipated for a long time.

What does it mean for consumers? My main takeaway from all of this, especially if you bring it into context with what Amazon and Apple have rolled out over the last month, is it’s evident that a content and services war is about to be waged. Consumers will have to make important decisions about what ecosystems they want to be part of and which services go along with those ecosystems. 

Let’s run down what the fronts of this upcoming war are going to look like — and it’s all going to be played out in your living room.

Google TV: Battle for your eyeballs against Apple, Roku, and Amazon

The first thing Google announced is an updated

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Nest Audio is the new Google Home. Everything you need to know

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The new Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home speaker.


Google/Screenshot by CNET

Google announced a new smart speaker on Wednesday, called the Nest Audio. There’s plenty we know about the fabric-coated device, and much we’ll still have to find out — such as whether the Nest Audio actually lives up to the hype and how it compares to the recently updated Amazon Echo. (If the Nest Audio’s specs are any indication, this could be the Alexa-killer Google has been hoping for.)

We’ll walk you through the most important things to learn about the Nest Audio’s price, colors, sale date and features. And we’ll explain what the new name means for other Google Home ($99 at Walmart) and Nest devices.

What is Nest Audio and which Google speaker does it replace?

Nest Audio replaces the original Google Home but, despite the similar name, it’s not the successor to

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Nest Audio: Google’s newest smart speaker is replacing the original Google Home

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The Nest Audio costs $100.


Google

The Nest Audio smart speaker, widely leaked and even spotted last week in stores, was announced Wednesday at the company’s Launch Night In event. It’s the successor to the Google Home smart speaker, the very first speaker the search giant launched in 2016.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we learned today:

  • Priced at $100 (£90, AU$149)
  • Five colors: Chalk, charcoal, sand, sky and sage
  • Designed with 70% sustainable materials
  • 19mm tweeter for high frequency coverage and clear vocals
  • 75mm midwoofer for better bass

Google says the Nest Audio is 75% louder with a 50% stronger bass than the original Google Home. 


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When it comes to features, the Nest Audio keeps up with all the latest Google updates like real-time, multiroom audio, voice calling with Google Duo and

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Google Chromecast with Google TV review: 4K HDR streaming dongle

  • The new, $50 Chromecast with Google TV offers a sizable upgrade over previous models.
  • Unlike older versions, the new Chromecast can play apps right from the device, rather than having to rely on casting from a separate smartphone.
  • A handy voice remote is also included, and the Chromecast is capable of 4K, HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision.
  • On the downside, I’ve run into some minor glitches, and a few key apps are currently missing HDR support.
  • Still, at $50, the new Chromecast presents a good value and is a worthy competitor to the Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick+.

When it comes to streaming devices, Google’s Chromecast has always been a bit of an odd man out. Instead of offering app support directly from the device, traditional Chromecast models allow you to wirelessly stream apps from a smartphone or computer to your TV. 

Though that feature is

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Chromecast with Google TV, Nest Audio and Pixel 5 with Hold for Me: Today’s Google announcements

Chromecast with Google TV

Juan Garzon/CNET

Last week Amazon dropped its annual armada of new products on us — now it’s Google’s turn. The company’s Launch Night In stream Wednesday follows its unveiling of the Pixel 4A budget phone in August. That event confirmed the existence of its next flagship phone, the Pixel 5, and the Pixel 4A 5G. They were launched today, along with a new Chromecast and a new Nest-branded smart speaker, the Nest Audio. There were few surprises, however, other than the Hold for Me phone feature, which puts those awful you’re-on-hold-forever calls in Google Assistant’s hands.

The Pixel 5 announcement, as with Google’s previous flagship phones, has been leakier than ancient plumbing (or perhaps, as CNET’s Lynn La suspects, the “leaks” are part of Google’s marketing strategy).


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Google’s latest flagship adds 5G support

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The Home Depot is selling a new Google Chromecast that hasn’t been announced

Google’s Pixel 5 event is scheduled for this Wednesday, but some of the company’s other new gadgets are already appearing on store shelves. That includes its all-new Chromecast, which some savvy buyers have been able to purchase directly in-store from retailers like Walmart and The Home Depot over the course of the last week.

The Verge has purchased one such device from The Home Depot and can confirm the retailer is not stopping customers from checking out and taking the pre-release product home.

Not all stores appear to be selling the item; we tried two and only found the new Chromecast at a second location. And inputting the universal product code listed on the receipt into the retailer’s website returns no results, so it would appear you can only purchase it early in person.

The receipt doesn’t even say Chromecast

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Google Chromecast hits Home Depot shelves ahead of official launch, report says

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We’re just two days away from the new Chromecast, but some have been able to buy it already. 


XDA Developers

Two days before Google’s Pixel 5 event, Google’s rumored new Chromecast has been spotted for sale at Home Depot for $50. People on social media as well as tech site The Verge said they were able to purchase the still unannounced streaming device at the home improvement retailer. The receipt listed the new Chromecast as “Sabrina-Abbey Rock Candy,” the hardware’s codename, according to The Verge. 

Read more: Best streaming device of 2020: Roku, Apple TV, Fire Stick, Nvidia Shield and more compared

CNET reached out to Google for comment and we’ll update when we hear back.

The new device apparently isn’t available at all Home Depot locations, so you might not

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai Calls For A ‘Hybrid’ Work-From-Home Model

In an interview with Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai at the TIME100 Honorees: Visions for the Future event, the chief executive said that the search engine giant will be more “flexible” with its workers and offer a “hybrid” model that will include a blend of both remote and in-office methods of working. Pichai, who was recognized by TIME as one of the world’s most influential people, acknowledged that his employees have distinct needs, as it relates to their work style and preferences. 

In an attempt to offer a worker-friendly environment, Pichai said, “We firmly believe that in-person, being together, having a sense of community is super important when you have to solve hard problems and create something new so we don’t see that changing. But we do think we need to create more flexibility and more hybrid models.” He feels that this approach

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These 3 Google Home tips will save you from voice match anguish

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Google Home uses Voice Match to figure out who’s talking and deliver personalized results.


Chris Monroe/CNET

My Google Home knows me like a friend — maybe even better. It knows my favorite music, my grocery list and what my schedule looks like from now until eternity. But the one thing tying all these tidbits together is perhaps the most personal thing Google Home knows about me: the sound of my voice. Google Home uses what’s called Voice Match to recognize who’s speaking to it and to deliver personalized results, and if you’re not using it yet, you should — especially if you live with others.

Voice Match is a great way to access your personal information while still allowing other people in your household and guests to use Google Home, but the system isn’t perfect. That said, even though there are a couple of pitfalls you’ll want to avoid with

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How To Hide Your Home From Creepy Google Street View Snooping

The news this week that Google has removed images from Street View that allowed virtual hikes to the summit of Uluru, a sacred location in Australia’s Northern Territory, raises a serious question. Where does this mapping-meets-real-world service shift from being a genuinely useful guide to an invasion of personal privacy or, worse, an insensitive and inappropriate compromise of the rights and freedoms of others?

What started more than a decade ago as a demonstration of Google’s prowess has gotten out of hand. Yes, Street View can be useful, but if today you touted the idea of sending surveillance cars past our houses to take photos to share with the world, if you allowed users to upload their own photos “where Street View cars have never driven before,” you’d prompt a backlash. And rightly so.

Right now, you can ask Google to blur out your house—if

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