Whenever there’s new technology on the horizon, Google isn’t far behind. So, when Amazon kicked off its range of smart speakers powered by its voice-controlled AI, Alexa, it was only a matter of time before Google got into the groove as well.
Back in 2016, Google launched its series of smart speakers, eponymously called the Google Home. These new smart speakers had the company’s already powerful AI, Google Assistant. Whether it’s navigating the route to your workplace, listening to your favorite music, or reminding you of your friend’s birthday, the Google Home has you covered!
There Are Three Types of Google Home Devices
While the Google Home speakers are primarily designed as smart virtual assistants, they’re also there to be the source of all your music. To this end, Google made sure that its consumers could enjoy all the benefits of its AI across a broad price spectrum. In a nutshell, Google has three different types of Home speakers: the Google Home Mini, the Google Home, and the Google Home Max.
With price tags ranging from $50 to $300, these devices are powered by the same Google Assistant as the one provided in the latest Android phones, like in the Pixel 3A. But as it might be expected, it’s the quality of the speakers in the three devices which informs their widely-differing prices. Not surprisingly, The Google Home Mini has relatively sloppy sound compared to the Home Max, which can almost compete with the best speakers in its price bracket.
But even if you’re not too impressed with the sound quality of these devices, you shouldn’t worry. That’s not their primary function, and Google understands this as well. Fortunately, Google has allowed its Home devices to be compatible with a host of third-party speakers like the JBL Link series and the TicHome Mini.
How Do Google Home Devices Work?
The currently available Google Home devices have the Google Assistant, a voice-controlled AI similar to Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri. The AI responds to a set of preprogrammed wake words like “OK, Google” or “Hey Google.”
You can alter these wake words and set up your Home devices so that they respond to your custom commands. What’s fascinating about the Home speakers is Google’s constant drive to make its virtual assistant more prolific.
For instance, the latest version of the Google Assistant can recognize up to six different voices. That means that if your family consists of six members, your Home speaker can configure itself to carry out custom, personalized conversations with each of them.
You can also do a host of other things with your Google Home, apart from giving it voice commands and listening to music. You can connect it to a Chromecast-enabled TV, giving you the ability to launch Netflix or YouTube with a simple voice command.
It can also respond to your questions, browse the internet for you, remind you of your planned activities and meetings, and be your very own personal secretary.
But perhaps the most attractive quality of the Home speakers is their ability to work in conjunction with other smart home devices. When used together with other Google products, these devices can do anything from setting timers and controlling lights to managing thermostats and playing trivia games.
The Google Assistant can already perform such a wide range of functions that it may become difficult for users to remember them all. Here’s how to see what your Home speaker can do. Open the Google Home app on your smartphone and then tap the hamburger icon in the top left. Next, tap the Explore option, and the app will list all the apps and skills the Google Home assistant can help you with.
Google Home as Your Source of Music
We have already discussed briefly the ability of Google Home devices to be the source of all your music. Whether you want to pair your device with a third-party Bluetooth speaker or play your music directly through the Home device, Google has got your back.
All you need to do is grab your Google Home’s attention with the preprogrammed wake word and tell it to play the song you want. The Google Assistant will pull up music from a variety of streaming sources, including Google Play Music, Spotify, Pandora, and YouTube. You can even pick your favorite streaming service so that the Google Home device goes looking for your music there first. In case a particular song is unavailable, the AI will try to search for it elsewhere.
Google Home in Your Home
Your choice of a smart speaker must eventually conform to what other devices you use. For instance, if you own an Android phone and a Chromecast-enabled TV, it’s only natural that you’d want to spend on a Google Home speaker. Similarly, if you own a Kindle tablet and use other Amazon services, you might want to buy an Echo.
We’d love to hear from Home users about their experiences with these smart speakers. Also, let us know what you think of Google’s Assistant.