Google Home Review

Introduction


With technology evolving as quickly as it does, it can be so difficult to predict which new trends will really catch on, and which are destined to fizzle out. Smartphones had already introduced us to the power of voice-controlled digital assistants, through services like Siri, Google Now, and Cortana, and you'd be forgiven for thinking that this tech would remain a mobile-focused development.

But then Amazon introduced its Echo smart appliance, and suddenly we were all captivated by the idea of taking that voice-powered goodness and giving it a permanent fixture in our homes. It didn't take long before other companies followed with their own versions of the same idea (and for Amazon itself to expand its product lineup with additional variations on the theme), and last fall Google entered the fray with Google Home.

Is Google Home more than just an Android smartphone hooked up to a speaker? Can its capabilities really bring something new and worthwhile to your home? Let's a take a look at just what this smart speaker can do.

The package contains:

  • Google Home
  • Power adapter
  • Quick-start cards

Design

Clean, functional, and beautiful, Google Home looks as good as it works


If you're already familiar with the original Amazon Echo, the first thing that's likely to strike you about Google Home is its comparatively compact size. The Home hardware forms a bit of a tapered cylinder, with its speakers at the bottom protected by an attractive cloth grille, while the top half of the cylinder appears quite featureless, terminating with a slightly sloped surface. But plug Google Home in and that blank expanse quickly springs to life, as the sloped top becomes illuminated by a ring of multi-colored LEDs embedded within.

The top surface doesn't just dance with light to animate your interactions with Home's voice assistant, and also conceals a capacitive touchpad. Tapping that interface can quickly pause music playback, and tracing a circle acts like volume knob (with helpful LED feedback) – it's all quite intuitive. On the back you'll find a mute button for when you don't want Home listening in on your conversations.

The speaker grille itself pops off quite easily, held on only by magnets, revealing the speaker array that pumps out both music and Google Home's spoken responses to your commands and questions. There's a hidden micro USB port in there for you hacker types, but most users will just be interested in the alternative grille colors. Both metal and extra fabric options are available, priced between $20 and $40.

The only physical connection to the outside world is the flat power cord. As a result, Google Home looks like the sort of modern, minimalist appliance that will fit in easily with a variety of home decors.



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9 Comments

2. rob5150

Posts: 183; Member since: Oct 31, 2011

i should have returned this to google before the the return window closed. pretty useless. i hear more,, " i'm sorry i dont know how to help you with that" and let us change the hotword google. every android in the house starts to beep and tries to listen when i start a "hey google" and worse thing of all is when i want to talk to my phones google to set reminders or any of the other things i know that google home is incapable of answering or doing, google home takes the query and i have to then try to whipser to my phone, "ok google" to get the phone google to do what i want

3. Andr01d

Posts: 63; Member since: Mar 08, 2016

Sounds like lots of fun...

4. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3ETXEuRpoI You can use IFTTT to overcome this problem for now till Google officially support adding event or reminder to calendar. In fact IFTTT is a very handy tool to master.

7. Tomgabriele

Posts: 30; Member since: Feb 25, 2016

So your Google Home responds to both "Hey Google" and "Okay Google"? It should only be one or the other...

9. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Yes, it will response to either Hey Google or Okay Google.

* Some comments have been hidden, because they don't meet the discussions rules.

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