The voice controlled smart speaker market is really taking off and Google have jumped on the band wagon and brought out GOOGLE HOME. Amazon's rival product 'Echo' which came out in 2015 still holds the top spot.
Smart assistants or virtual assistants such as Apple Suri, Google Assistant or Windows Cortana are basically a form of artificial intelligence. The installed software agent carrys out tasks given by voice command and integrates with other smart devices around the home. You can tell it to play music, report on the weather, check cinema listings and so on. I don’t believe it can make a cup of tea or pour a pint just yet. It looks like the machines are finally taking over!
Smart speakers are the next step forward in the technology where the device sits anywhere in the home ready to perform tasks again by voice command. Here we look a bit more closely at GOOGLE HOME.
Dimensions: Diameter: 3.79 in (96.4 mm), Height: 5.62 in (142.8 mm)
Wi-Fi: supports 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz)
Speaker system High excursion speaker with 2" driver + dual 2" passive radiators
Operating systems: supports Android 4.2 and above and iOS 8.0 and above
Connects power by DC standard jack and Micro USB port
Integrates well with your Google account and apps
Good quality speaker inbuilt
Can integrate with music streaming services such as Spotify
Customisation options to change the colour of the casing to match the sofa
A bit cheaper than Amazon Echo
Uses the Google search engine (of course, what else would it use)
Not so good bits
Two far-field microphones (Amazon Echo has seven)
Only connects to one Google account at a time
No Bluetooth pairing
Not yet fully compatible with popular smart home products e.g HIVE
Priced at £129.00 (Currys at the time of writing) this product is slightly cheaper and more versatile than its arch nemesis Amazon Echo. GOOGLE HOME looks promising especially as it evolves with updates for compatibility with more services. The touch sensitive pod-like unit sits nicely in any household and integrates with all Google’s services especially its world dominating search engine uncle. Smart speakers have come under scrutiny when it comes to security. GOGGLE HOME’s ‘always listening’ feature does raise privacy questions but this wouldn’t put me off buying it.
After carrying out my comparison with Amazon Echo (as ya do), GOOGLE HOME came out slightly ahead in the range of functions it can perform. However, I have noticed it doesn’t yet fully integrate with other smart home systems (namely HIVE which I have at home). Google have indicated they will be updating HOME’s compatible services in the near future so I will wait in the wings until it does.
*I will be reviewing Amazon Echo in a separate post soon.