Google Home is here and we’ve put together an in-depth review for you to enjoy. Want to pick one up? Unless you live in NY, you can get one tax free here: http://bit.ly/GoogleHomeonBH
Google Home is a bit similar to the Amazon Echo, but with a few additional features which we think you might enjoy. In this review, Mark Collier will show you all his favorite commands to give to Google Home, show you how to control your TV using Google Home (via Chromecast), and so much more.
The Google Home is a voice activated speaker powered by Google Assistant and because it has the resources of Google behind it, the number of questions it can answer is pretty impressive – and of course, it’s always growing.
It can tell you about the weather, measurement conversions, recipes, where movies are showing, pop culture, the latest news, your schedule for the week, where businesses are located and even if they’re open right now – and a whole lot more!
And answering questions isn’t the only thing it can do. It can also control a number of smart items throughout your house including thermostats, tvs, lights, and an ever growing list of other things.
So here’s what I am going to do today:
- Start by giving you a closer look at the product itself and how it’s made.
- Give you examples of questions it can answer.
- Show you how it can show videos and pictures on your TV using a Chromecast
- Then I’ll give you my overall impressions and ratings.
- Finally, I’ll close with giving you more examples of questions it can answer as well as a few fun things it can do.
If you have any devices running Google Assistant around you, you’ll want to either turn them off or use headphones for the rest of this video so I don’t trigger them over and over.
Quick tour around the Google Home.
The Google Home is pretty small at about 5 1/2” tall and less than 4” across and it looks kind of like a large air freshener. The simple and clean look allows it to pretty much disappear wherever it’s sitting and just become part of the background.
It does have to be plugged in, though, so you’ll need to have it fairly close to an outlet.
The top looks like a clean and empty surface, but built into the touch-sensitive surface are LEDsGoogle that light up when it’s listening or thinking and you can tap it to pause or mute and you can also adjust the volume by swiping in a small circle in one direction or the other. One the top are also a pair of far-field microphones that do a pretty great job hearing commands from a distance or even in a noisy room.
On the back is a mute button that you can push any time you want it to stop listening for the activation phrase and below that is a monochrome Google G icon.
The bottom unscrews to reveal the set of 2” speakers beneath. While they aren’t incredibly high quality speakers like Bose or other high-end competitors, I find that they sound great in my office and fill up the room nicely.
The Google Home connects to your home wifi and is ridiculously simple to set up using the Google Home app on your iPhone or Android.
Here are some of the questions I asked Google Home in the review video:
- What’s the weather going to be like tomorrow?
- Will I need an umbrella on Thursday?
- Play that song from Hamiton
- Where is Rogue One playing near me?
- Where is the closest pharmacy?
- When does that one close?
- How many tablespoons are in a cup?
- I want some seafood
- Play 92.9 FM
- Play ESPN radio
- How many calories are in a McDonald’s cheeseburger?
- Play some jazz music
- Play Michael Buble
- What’s the weather like tomorrow in Provincetown?
- Will it be windy?
- Play Smarter Every Day on the TV
- Play Sherlock on the TV
- Show pictures of Mark on the TV
So those are just a few of the things that Google Home can do. Here are my overall impressions:
In terms of build quality, it’s solid and feels well made. Since it’s not made to be moved, I suspect it will last for many years without any problems at all.
At first I thought that the appearance was kinda funny and a bit plain, but then I realized that I don’t really want an item like this to stand out. I’d rather it be a part of my room that blends in easily and just does it’s job — so I have actually forgotten it’s there, and I think that’s a good thing. You can also buy different colored bases to switch them out if you want to. Google has around 6-7 available now for $20 each.
Let’s talk features and functions.
If you have smart items in your house like lights, I think that you’ll get even more use out of it – but for now, the things that I used it for most often was to play music and to play videos on the TV that I wanted my family to see. I also used it to set timers when I was cooking.
It also syncs with a Google app called Keep – which is similar to Evernote – to keep track of a shopping list. I used that quite often as well.
It does an excellent job at answering questions – and controlling the items it syncs with. The big question for me for the long term is “how much will I ACTUALLY use it?” The jury is still out on that one. I really like the IDEA of having this – but I don’t use it as much as I thought and hoped I would. Perhaps if I get more smart home items, I might use it more.
Does everyone need a Google Home? No, probably not. But I have had a lot of fun with it and I think a lot of people would too. If you get one, let me know what you think in the comments below.