November 11, 2019 / 1:27 PM / a month ago

Google launches smart device in Brazil in new challenge to Amazon.com

FILE PHOTO: A sign is pictured outs a Google office near the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California, U.S., May 8, 2019. REUTERS/Dave Paresh

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Alphabet Inc’s Google is bringing to Brazil the latest version of its Google Nest Mini smart speaker, with plans to start selling it in major online and brick-and-mortar retailers in the country on Tuesday.

The move comes just weeks after U.S. e-commerce giant ‪Amazon.com introduced its Alexa virtual assistant to Brazilian customers, with three different gadgets available.

Google priced its Nest Mini device with Google Virtual Assistant integrated at 349 reais ($85) in Brazil.

Local retailers Magazine Luiza, Lojas Americanas and Via Varejo’s Casas Bahia are among the online and brick-and-mortar chains chosen to sell Google’s gadget, as well as Argentina’s MercadoLibre Inc.

Like rival Amazon, Google is considering bringing other products to Brazil, Latin America’s largest economy.

“We see Brazil growing in this segment, and other launches may happen in the future given the priority given to the country,” said Vinicius Dib, head of partnerships in devices for Google in Brazil.

Citing data from IHS Markit, the company said the global market for smart speakers is expected to grow by four times by 2023, reaching over $30 billion.

The launch of Nest Mini is likely to intensify competition between Google and Amazon, which have also been going head-to-head in cloud computing services.

Google started its own cloud operation in Brazil in 2017, challenging Amazon Web Services.

Reporting by Gabriela Mello; editing by Louise Heavens

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