The Smart Speaker That Knows You Better: Google Home Review

Google Home has definitely added convenience to my daily life. It is more than just a speaker, it’s a personal assistant that keeps getting better. Though there are occasional misunderstandings and it could definitely use improvement in its integration with Google’s own services, I have found it to be an essential smart device in my home.

In the contemporary landscape of smart speakers, Google Home is a noteworthy contender. With regular updates and constant evolution, it strives to redefine the boundaries of AI technology. Through this extensive review, we aim to explore Google Home in terms of its price, design, smart features, audio quality, and draw an ultimate verdict on its worthiness as a purchase.

Price and Availability

Google Home retails at a competitive price of $89. It positions itself among the array of smart speakers, particularly in competition with Amazon Echo. It is widely available across various retail outlets and online platforms. The price bracket it falls in makes it an affordable yet powerful option for those looking to step into the smart home ecosystem without a heavy investment. Considering the functionality it offers, which we will delve into, the pricing is aggressive and customer-friendly.

Design and Connectivity

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Google

Google Home boasts an appealing design resembling a small vase or air freshener. Its dimensions stand at 5.62 x 3.79 inches, with a wide bottom and tapered top. This compact size makes it blend easily with any interior décor. It comes with a standard grey fabric base with a rubber bottom, which can be swapped for different materials or colors for approximately $20. You have the choice between metallic bases in copper, snow, or carbon colors, and fabric bases in mango, marine, and violet, in addition to the standard white mesh.

The inclined top surface of Google Home functions as a touch-capacitive panel, allowing you to change volume, play or pause music, or activate the Google Home assistant with a tap. Upon activation, four multi-colored lights animate, indicating that it is listening.

When it comes to connectivity, Google Home supports Wi-Fi and Google Cast but has faced issues with Bluetooth connectivity, which Google is working to resolve. As for voice recognition, it is equipped with two built-in microphones. However, sometimes it fails to pick up commands accurately, which could be due to the limited number of microphones compared to Amazon Echo’s seven.

Smart Features

At its core, Google Home is powered by Google Assistant. The integration with Google Assistant is a key selling point, as it’s perpetually evolving through machine learning and regular updates. You can now even train Google Assistant to recognize your voice better for personalized responses.

The Google Home app has undergone a redesign for better ease of use, allowing you to control other smart home devices. Google Home supports integration with Nest, Philips, Samsung’s SmartThings, Netatmo, Tado, and more. However, it lacks integration with Google’s own services like Gmail, Voice, and Docs, which could significantly enhance its utility.

It offers remarkable streaming capabilities, with support for Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, Pandora, and more. Moreover, with built-in Google Cast, it’s not just an audio device; you can also send video streams to any Google Cast-compatible connected devices.

One noteworthy feature is the ability to assign reminders to different members of your household, making task management efficient. Google Home is also planning to enable mobile calling, with rollouts starting in Australia.

Despite its smart features, Google Home faces criticism for lack of contextual awareness in communication and rigid language comprehension. Another drawback is the removal of the Guest Mode feature, which allowed casting media without sharing Wi-Fi.

Audio Quality

Google Home has a fairly competent audio performance. Its integration with various streaming services is complemented by an impressive library of songs. However, it sometimes struggles with recognizing band names that sound similar, Your Google Home is continuously evolving, as new updates are added to Google Assistant on a regular basis. One of the newest updates allows Google Assistant to better recognize your voice and provide personalized responses to your commands and questions.

Moreover, Google is redesigning the Google Home app for a more user-friendly experience and introducing simpler controls for Nest smart displays. One downside is the removal of the Google Home feature, Guest Mode.

Despite these enhancements, there have been reports of Google Home speakers experiencing issues with Bluetooth connectivity. On a positive note, Google announced that Assistant has been integrated into more than 500 million devices, offering compatibility with a wide range of devices from cars to phones.

Additional features have been introduced, such as the ability to assign reminders to different household members, mobile calling features, and support for Pandora Premium.

From a design perspective, Google Home is available in a range of colors and finishes with two types of bases – metallic and fabric. It also serves as a decent audio device, streaming from multiple services like Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, and Pandora.

Verdict

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google

As of now, Google Home may not perfectly recognize and play every song or band requested, but its capability to stream a vast library of songs is commendable. In terms of hardware integration, Google Home works well with smart devices from brands like Nest, Philips, and Samsung’s SmartThings.

However, there are some issues with Google Home. It lacks integration with many of Google’s own services like Gmail, Google Voice, and Google Docs. Also, you need to be quite precise while asking questions as Google Assistant might fail to comprehend if the query isn’t put up properly.

Even with these shortcomings, Google Home is expected to improve and become more robust over time, given Google’s commitment to enhancing its AI voice assistant technology. As it stands now, Google Home is a novel smart device with YouTube Music access, built-in Google Cast, and the capability to control various smart home devices.

Who it’s for

Google Home is for individuals or families looking to add an intelligent voice-activated assistant to their homes, those who are familiar with Google’s ecosystem, and individuals who have or are planning to install compatible smart home devices.

However, it might not be the best fit for those who prioritize superior audio quality in a speaker, those who prefer other voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, and individuals who need more comprehensive integration with Google’s own services.

Where To Buy

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FAQ

Is the audio quality of Google Nest speakers comparable to dedicated Bluetooth speakers?

While the audio quality is not on par with high-end Bluetooth speakers, Google Nest speakers provide satisfactory sound performance for casual listening.

Can Google Nest speakers control other smart devices in my home?

 Yes, Google Nest speakers can integrate with a variety of smart home devices, including those from Nest, Philips, and Samsung’s SmartThings.

Does Google Nest support Google Cast and Chromecast functionality?

Yes, Google Nest speakers support Google Cast, allowing you to stream music and video to compatible devices. However, some users may experience occasional issues with playback control and context awareness.

Can Google Nest speakers play music from various streaming services?

Yes, Google Nest speakers can access popular streaming services like Google Play Music, YouTube Music, Spotify, and Pandora.

Does Google Home support Bluetooth connectivity?

Yes, but some users have reported issues with this feature. Google is working on addressing these.

7.6 Total Score
Final Verdict

If you're looking to dip your toes into the smart home world and are fond of Google's ecosystem, Google Home is a good starting point. It has a good range of features, but it needs to enhance its contextual understanding and expand its compatibility with Google's own services. Despite its limitations, with constant updates and improvements, it has the potential to become a central hub for smart homes.

PROS
  • Easy to blend into home decor with its stylish design
  • Ability to answer complex questions with the aid of Google's Search Engine
  • Compatible with a wide range of smart home devices
  • Regular updates make the device smarter over time
  • Google Cast integration allows for multimedia control
CONS
  • Occasional miscommunication with Google Assistant
  • Bluetooth connectivity issues have been reported
  • Absence of integration with many of Google's own services
  • Lack of contextual awareness in conversations
  • The sound quality could be better for a device in this price range
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