Google Home

Google Home: Everything You Need to Know

Imagine waking up in your home and talking with it like an assistant. You ask your home for the news and to make coffee. This could be a reality and we are one step closer thanks to Google Home, Google’s new home assistant device.

 At $129 the Google Home is an affordable luxury. This product looks like an air freshener and can blend into your home seamlessly. Sit it on your kitchen counter top, your living room coffee table, or your computer desk, the Google Home will look like it belongs there.

The Google Home is a device that allows you to use many features from Google with your voice. The same activities you would do with your phone or computer like check the weather, check your calendar, or search something, you could do with your voice thanks to the Google Home.

Want to know the traffic on the way to work? Say “Hey Google, what’s the traffic like to work?” And Google Home will tell you that information with its voice.

Want to convert 15 ounces to grams? Ask Google Home and you’ll hear the same information you could find from a Google search.

Some of the cool features include: Flight information, IFTTT (If This Then That), Delight (fun requests like “tell me something interesting” or “make me laugh”) and more

Google Home was released in the United States in November 2016 and so it’s a relatively new product. Because it’s so new, many reviews have said the product seems incomplete.

Fortunately for Google Home owners, Google releases constant updates to its software. This is done quietly and without interruption. This means that as time goes on, the Google Home will become better with new features, without buying a new product.

Google has recently updated its feature set to allow multiple user accounts to the Google Home. The earlier versions of this product only allowed one user per device. This wouldn’t be a set-back for phones but for a home device, multiple user support is a crucial feature.

                    The only other product that can compare with the Google Home is the Amazon Echo, a product which came before the Google Home.

There are benefits and negatives to using each device but what the Google Home brings is its brand: Google. The Amazon Echo uses the Bing search engine which for most people is a search engine they wouldn’t choose to use. For most people, using Google is a no brainer.

Because The Google Home uses the Google Search engine, that is a serious advantage that the Amazon Echo cannot compare to.

                  If you’re looking for the first step towards a futuristic smart home, buying a Google Home is a smart choice. It’s affordable at $129, it can blend into your home easily, and it will be constantly updated.

Google is known for its versatile technology, and it’s making its first step into smart home territory with its Google Home speaker.

Google Home is the tech giant’s answer to the formidable Amazon Echo. The foundation of Home is the Google Assistant, which offers support for multiple users and, of course, hands-free operation.

At first glance, the Home looks similar to Amazon’s Echo offerings, but once you get down to the specs, the two companies actually provide different pros and cons. We’re going to take an in-depth look at the Home and help you decide if it’s the right smart speaker for you.

Google Home: The Basics

On the most basic level, Google Home does pretty much what the Amazon Echo line does. A virtual assistant broadcasts through the speaker and takes vocal commands from users.

It has the usual functions that a virtual assistant provides. You can access the alarm, calculator, calendar, and news. You can also ask Google about your day, and it will respond with the forecast and any events or tasks you have scheduled.

For smart home use, you can use it to control lighting, multi-room audio, thermostat settings, TV control, and smart plugs and switches. Many reviewers have noted the superior audio quality of the Home compared to the Echo.

As of this writing, Google also plans to add hands free calling in the near future. Google may continue to expand the capabilities of the Home, but it already offers some versatile features.

The Home has some other features that could be useful or gimmicky, such as the Delight function, designed to tell you something funny or interesting. Overall, the Home has a nice feature list that definitely competes with the Echo.

At $129, it’s clear that Google is trying to beat out the Echo’s higher price of $179. (However, if we’re just talking about cost, the Home can’t compete with the Echo Dot’s low price of $49.)

All in all, the Home is a mid-level smart speaker. But there’s more than meets the eye, so let’s take a closer look at the specifics of the Home.

How flexible is Google Home?

If you’re considering a Home for your smart home setup, there’s an important question: Just how many smart home devices work with the Home?

Naturally, plenty of the Google world works flawlessly with Home. The popular Chromecast can be used with the Home for both voice-activated controls and audio broadcast.

Your Google account will unsurprisingly work with the Home, as will Android phones. But you can also use iOS with the device thanks to a dedicated app. It’s a smart move on Google’s part that makes Google Home accessible for a much larger audience.

In terms of smart home devices, Google Home works with many leading brands and popular products, including Nest thermometers, the Philips Hue system, and WEMO. You can see the full list of partnering brands here.

The Home supports some of our favorite smart home accessories, including the Philips Hue system and the August Smart Lock. Overall, it’s a fairly flexible device that works with many of the best smart home products on the market today.

 

How can you use Google Home in your smart home?

 

If you’ve seen any advertisements for the Google Home, you’ve probably noticed they talk a lot about entertainment. The Home was designed with media use in mind, so Google’s emphasizing video and music streaming.

But how well does it stack up in a smart home setting? Let’s find out by looking at three categories: thermostats, smart lights, and miscellaneous.

Thermostats

Two of the biggest players in the smart thermostat space are Nest and Ecobee. Both are sleek, streamlined takes on the thermostat that will look excellent with any contemporary home decor.

Nest’s popular Learning Thermostat is compatible with Google Home, and it’s an excellent choice. While it’s on the pricier side of things (currently $241 to $248 on Amazon), it offers precise control and seamless integration with the Home.

Another good choice is any ecobee thermostat. These have similar aesthetics to the Nest thermostat, so you can choose the Nest or ecobee based on your personal preferences. While the new ecobee4 sells at around the same price point as the Nest ($248), the older ecobee3 is just $207, and it’s every bit as capable as the newer version.

While ecobee thermostats aren’t directly compatible with Google Home, you can connect them to the Home with a Samsung SmartThings hub. The SmartThings hub can also be used to connect other smart home devices to the Home, so it might be a good choice for you if you plan on expanding your smart home setup.

Alternatively, you can use the highly regarded IFTTT software to connect the devices. Here’s a video demonstrating how to do that.

Smart lights

The obvious choice here is the Philips Hue kit. At just $64.99, the kit is perfect for the budding smart home enthusiast or the smart home veteran looking for a simple and effective lighting solution.

There are lots of other lighting options, but none of them are as convenient as the Philips Hue. It’s our pick for best overall system, and it’ll easily work with your Home.

Miscellaneous

One of the must-have general accessories for any smart home is a smart plug, also called a smart outlet. You can use these to power most smart devices using any regular outlet.

For the Home, the TP-Link Smart Plug is a great choice, and at $29.90, it’s a bargain. A smart plug is the Swiss army knife of the smart home, so you owe it to yourself to pick one up.

Conclusion

For the price and feature set, the Home is a nice addition to the list of available smart device options. It’s not as comprehensive as something like the Apple HomeKit, but it rivals Amazon’s Echo and even beats it in some regards. The Home is worth serious consideration if you’re putting together a smart home.

 

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