At a press event in San Francisco today, Google announced a completely new product, the Google Wifi router. The introduction comes a few weeks after Android Police published an article documenting Google’s plan to launch the product at today’s event.
A single Google Wifi router will cost $129, as Android Police said it would. A three-pack will cost $299. Preorders begin in November, and they’ll start shipping in early December.
But unlike the OnHub routers that Google introduced alongside manufacturers TP-LINK and Asus last year, multiple Google Wifi routers can be networked together in order to form a mesh network. And that means it will compete with Eero routers, which buyers can set up easily through a mobile app. Google’s app will let parents limit wireless access for kids through the touch of a button. A Network Assist feature is onboard, too.
“It’s modular, so you can get the right fit for your home’s shape and sizes. Simply add wifi points to expand coverage,” said Mario Queiroz, lead of the product management group within Google’s hardware division.
Routers haven’t historically been sexy hardware, even though Apple continues to offer AirPort routers, and even after Cisco’s acquisition of Meraki. Eero, a venture-backed startup, has managed to change that a bit. Google is Google, though. The company may be able to build on Eero’s progress and make easily managed routers more interesting to average consumers. Perhaps some people will be willing to ditch what they have now and adopt Google Wifi. Should that happen, it would be an early win for Google’s recently formed division.