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March 29, 2017updated 30 Mar 2017 11:49am

Will Google Home put Amazon’s Alexa on the backfoot?

Google Home, the search engine’s hands-free voice activated smart assistant will be unveiled next month.

Those who purchase the device for £129 ($160) will be able to ask it questions and receive answers in real-time on topics ranging from the weather to sports updates.

Media publications including the Guardian and the Financial Times teamed up with the tech giant to provide on-demand news to all Google Home users.

With a simple voice command, Google Home will also play music, manage everyday tasks, control other smart devices and stream movies.

You can even add or remove items from your shopping list.

Google’s assistant, shaped somewhere between a cylinder and a pear, rivals market competitors including Amazon’s Alexa.

The speaker and assistant, which launched in the US in November, can be purchased in different colourways and materials — fabric bases will be on sale for £18, while metal bases will retail at £36.

“A combination of our natural language processing, machine learning and voice-recognition expertise allow users to interact naturally with the assistant,” said Suveer Kothari, director of product planning at Google in a blog post. “And of course, we’ve hidden a few British treats for you to discover. Just try asking Google Home about its hobbies or favourite foods.”

Google Home will be available for purchase across the UK at Argos, John Lewis, Dixons and Maplin from 6 April.

Samsung today unveiled its latest flagship phones, the Galaxy S8 and S8+, which come with a virtual voice assistant Bixby helping users navigate the new Android software.

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