Google announces Nest Wifi, a mesh router system with smart speakers inside

You want working, reliable Wi-Fi in every room of your house. Maybe you’d like every room of your house to properly hear your Google Assistant voice commands, too?

Now, Google is about to offer a way to extend both your internet and the range of your voice at once — with the just-announced Nest Wifi mesh router system.

We’re learning about it right now live at Google’s Pixel 4 hardware event: the two-pack is now composed of a new, bulbous “Router” and a separate “Point” that now extends your coverage 25 percent further than the previous generation, Google claims. Only the “Point” has a Google Assistant smart speaker built in, though.

The two-pack costs $269, and there’s a three-pack for $349, with preorders today and devices available on November 4th.

Google didn’t mention whether it supports the new Wi-Fi 6 standard, but the company does claim these new routers are twice as fast as the previous generation. They’ll also have Bluetooth Low Energy and support for the long-in-development-yet-still-nascent Thread smart home protocol that rival Eero has also been chasing a good long while.

We’ll fill in more details as we go — but since we were kind of expecting this announcement, I’ve already filled in some background you can read below.

Since Google first introduced its Google Wifi system three years ago at $299 for a three-pack, mesh routers have become a popular way to eliminate Wi-Fi dead zones in a house, with every major router company offering a set. Google says its Wifi has been the best selling router in the US and Canada.

But while many rivals offer higher speeds and more power user features, Google’s closest competition for a simpler Wi-Fi experience that blends into your house has been Eero — which also pioneered the idea of making mesh Wi-Fi cheaper and easier to install by replacing two of the three main routers and their cords with “beacons” that can hang right off the power outlets on your walls.

Amazon bought Eero earlier this year, giving Google’s greatest rival in voice assistants a foothold in the Wi-Fi market, too, and it quickly introduced a new $99 Eero router that lets you shut off internet to specific devices with Alexa voice control. But now it appears Google may leapfrog Amazon by adding actual microphones to its hardware, so you don’t need to additionally set up a Google smart speaker in that room of your house.

Developing. Check out our Google hardware event live blog for the latest updates!