We wrote about an insane deal on the Google Home back in the beginning of May that saw the original Google-made smart speaker on sale for a ridiculous $29. It was an insane deal that made me think almost immediately that the first-ever Google Home may be on its death bed. While I don’t doubt that support will continue for the original Google Home, I was pretty convinced that the writing was on the wall that we’d no longer see it on store shelves in the not-so-distant future.
Well, that future has arrived and, as spotted by Android Police, the Google Home is now listed as ‘No longer available’ on the Google Store. That stands in stark contrast to listings like ‘unavailable’, ‘out of stock’, or ‘coming soon.’ Instead, a label of ‘No longer available’ feels and is quite final. The originator of Google Assistant, one of the first pieces of #madebyGoogle hardware, and still my favorite version of a smart speaker will no longer be sold in stores. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit sad.
But I don’t think it has to be. While my first reaction to this news was sadness, it was quickly followed by ‘what if…’ thoughts. What if this means a new version is coming? What if it is wireless? What if the Bluetooth is better? What if it has better speakers? All of these questions are likely to be answered by what will undoubtedly be Google’s follow-up to the speaker that started it all.
For a moment I wondered if Google would just relent and sell the new Nest Mini alongside the Home Max, Nest Hub and Nest Hub Max while simply forgetting about the mid-range speaker segment. The new Nest Mini is a pretty decent speaker, after all, so I don’t suppose they have to replace the original with a new version. However, the more I thought on it, the more I feel convinced that Google will make a good, solid speaker in the $79-$129 range that can do a lot of things we’ve wanted from the original Google Home.
Imagine a similarly-sized speaker that has a Sonos-level audio quality, great touch controls, a battery, easy Bluetooth hookup, and WiFi 6 inside. A device like that could go with you to events and be a great room-filling speaker without the need of hooking it up to the guest WiFi when it leaves the house. But it could also be a great companion out on the porch or in the basement when you need that connected, Assistant-driven speaker for a temporary time frame, still connected to your local network.
If Google takes what is great about the Home Max (wonderful sound), what is great about the new Nest Mini (portability, touch controls, and discretion) and simply adds a way to easily leverage Bluetooth and a cordless battery, they’d have a very compelling, very useful speaker on their hands.
Now, it needs to be stated that we have no inside track here and we have no way of even knowing that Google is planning on actually replacing the Google Home. It may not. But my gut tells me there’s a good chance that we see a V2 of the Google Home with most of the features mentioned above, and I can easily tell you that if this comes to pass, I will be first in line to plunk down the money for one. I love the Google Home Max, but it is just too big and too much speaker for most homes. A smaller, cordless version of that speaker with simple Bluetooth setup would be a speaker I’d use in a large variety of scenarios, and I’m so hopeful that the exit of the original is simply paving the way for something like what I’m dreaming up.