Google wants to be in your home more than ever

Home is where the Hub is.
Home is where the Hub is.
Image: AP Photo/Richard Drew
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Google cut the price of its Home Hub smart display nearly in half this Christmas season, only months after the device debuted in October.

While deals for the device briefly reached $79.20, almost half of the display’s original $150 price tag, it can now be found on sale for $99 at retailers like Target. Google’s Home Mini—initially sold for $50—is also regularly on sale for $25.

Google likely isn’t trying to unload slow-selling merchandise, or clear its warehouses for another model. The company just wants to be in your home.

Smart speakers have proven for Amazon to be an indicator of brand loyalty and a source of recurring revenue from a customer. Research earlier this year found that Echo owners spent an average of $1,700 per year on Amazon.com, $400 more than Amazon Prime members. While Google has a different business model, selling ads to business rather than a wide range of products, it has its own services like Google Play Music to upsell. And Google can use the data it gathers in your home to better target you with advertisements. Even if Google makes pennies off the sale of its device, it can make much more profit from that addition stream of information coming from inside your home.

Google’s bets have paid off in the past. The company saw immense growth in 2018, with estimates of 449% year-over-year growth in quarterly shipments of Home speakers. Amazon still holds the leadership position in terms of overall market share, with 38% globally as of this summer. Google is catching up, notching 27% of the global market—up from nothing just two years ago.