At its core, Google Home is a smart speaker and simple device powered by the Google Assistant. Want an answer to a random question? Just say “Ok Google” and you’ve got a world of information at your fingertips. On top of that, the nifty little device can differentiate your voice from other people in your home, so you can personalise your experience.
Here, we’re going to take a look at the true potential of the Google Home device, and what it can offer in terms of features and functionality. Keep in mind that the opinions I offer here are my own, and I’m not being paid by Google for this review. Feel free to share your own thoughts with me in the comments below.
Design and Setup
The first thing you’ll notice about Google Home is its design. Sleek and simple, the device is charming enough to fit seamlessly into almost any room. On top of that, you can choose your “Home” product in a range of colours, so there’s no need to worry about clashing décor.
Setting up Home is simple enough. Within less than a minute, you can connect it to your phone and Wi-Fi. If you’re looking for real-time answers to your questions without having to type something into your phone, you can start quizzing Google basically straight away.
At its simplest, the Home device is a fun Wi-Fi speaker that you can “cast” your entertainments needs too. That means that you can simply send podcasts and music from your phone over to your speaker. The sound quality is great, and you can also play music directly from a range of apps, so you don’t have to have your phone on-hand to use it.
The Google “Home” device comes with the smart assistant built in. You can educate your assistant as much, or as little as you like to provide it with information about you, your background, and what you’re doing for the rest of the week. Right now, you can link the Home to six separate Google accounts, so it’s easy to share the device with your entire family. The “Home” can:
- Give you quick answers to all your questions, including local data about weather and traffic, and insights into your calendar.
- Offer games and fun through trivia, quizzes, and other quirky solutions.
- Provide music services that are personalised to each individual user: just use a simple voice command to start podcasts or tunes playing.
- Manage your everyday tasks by setting timers, alarms, and adding items to a shopping list.
- Control the other smart-devices in your home, such as thermostats, switches, lights, and anything else that might be connected to the internet.
- Use Chromecast to stream videos, movies, and shows directly on your TV.
It might be a speaker first-and-foremost, but the Google Home is so much more than that. It can hear your voice commands when you’re whispering on the other side of the room, read you the news when you wake up first thing in a morning or cast YouTube straight to your TV. When it comes to impressive solutions for connectivity, you’re looking at:
- Far-field voice recognition and natural language processing to ensure you’re always heard.
- Multi-room capabilities
- Customisable bases
- Touch control
- High-quality sound
Although Amazon might be leading the world of home smart devices in terms of third-party integration, the Home still has plenty to offer for those who already use the G-Suite as a regular part of their lives. It offers a fun and interesting little addition to your home, and I think it’s one of the most appealing gadgets I’ve had the chance to play with this year.
Rob is Founder & Publisher of UC Today, a leading news publication specialising in Unified Communications & Collaboration technologies.