Google Home — a hybrid speaker, AI personal assistant, and smart controller — is one of the must-have products for 2017. Its fans have praised its design, sound quality, pricing, and ease of use. The conversational assistant is a particular treat. Other reviewers are less complimentary, highlighting certain issues with compatibility, the speakers, and plugging system. The neutrals are just happy to highlight some of the services that come with Google Home, including a built-in speaker, voice activation facilities, smart home controls, third party content, and the brand value of Google.
The development of Google Home is a rather successful attempt by the search engine giant to get in on the act in terms of the services that were originally offered by Amazon Echo. The voice-action is meant to add a new dimension of convenience for the consumer. Meanwhile, the connections are achieved via a computer so that the user can enjoy music from a variety of sources. You can configure it in such a way as to control any other smart home gadgets. The traditional search functions of Google, such as the answer lists, are available too. Above all, the Google Home device is capable of producing personalized information. The Al-powered assistant is credited with providing conversational and contextualized responses to user queries.
Google Home has been compared very favorably with the Amazon Echo product and comes up trumps with a lightweight body. The downside is that Google Home requires constant plugging. That means that it is unable to roam the galaxy on a wireless network. The design itself is interesting, with a single button that turns the microphone on and off. Otherwise, the surface of the device is touch-sensitive. For example, you can touch the button to pause or restart a file. If you want to activate the microphone, you make a long press. The volume is altered by swiping the device in a circular motion in either direction. Some users have reported that the movements are not as smooth as they might have liked.
Google Home comes with two microphones that are located far apart from each other. That does not seem to affect the commands and the responses of the device. You will only have to say “Ok” or “Hey” plus “Google” in order to activate the assistant. The device allows for extensive customization. For example, you may swap out the grille speaker, and there are alternative colors that are available from the store — hence, you can match the look of the device to the décor in your home.
The setup could not be easier: you simply plug in and download the app. (Make sure that you name the device appropriately and in a format that will be easy to synthesize when you later undertake an audit of activities.) It also requires you to configure the Wi-Fi network as well as setting up your Google Account. The instructions are fairly straightforward and focus on the most efficient way of getting services from Google Home.
✓ The use of Google data as opposed to Bing, hence giving you depth and variety.
✓ Great access to Amazon products and services.
✓ Coordination with a Gmail account, thus enabling scheduling.
❖ There is a restriction to a single Google account at any given moment.
❖ The constant plugging can be tedious and makes the device somewhat less portable.
This is a great addition to all the little perks and tools that are on the market today. Based on its practicality and range of services, it scores 4 points out of 5. Certainly the Google home device has shown great promise in its target niche.