Several weeks after the price reduction of the Amazon Echo Dot, Google has announced it’s answer to the home voice assistant market, Google Home. A clean white minimalist speaker powered by Google Assistant (the same knowledge base central to Google Pixel), the smart device is a learning, context-capable database that offers improved listening and functionality miles ahead of the Echo Dot.


Standard to the voice assistant arsenal, Google Home can trigger music, podcasts, or radio from a simple voice command, pulling your favorite playlists from services like Spotify and Pandora. Backed by the algorithms that made Google famous, Home is also privy to a growing list of questions, ranging from calculations, to nutrition facts, to asking for help in another language. Prompted by “Ok Google,” the speaker picks up your commands using Far-field voice recognition, without worry of having to repeat a phrase because you mumbled or stuttered. Further extending the trend of digitized assistants, you can let Google Home set timers, tell you the weather, relay traffic patterns, and even create to-do lists and events.

Google Home

As we enter the smart home era and the Internet of Things, Google Home has include multiple smart device control and compatibility, including a Google Home app for the smartphone, useful for adjusting volume from afar. Use Home to adjust your Nest Thermostat, or play YouTube videos from your living room. Additional speakers can also be synced for interactivity across multiple rooms. Beyond it’s interaction with other devices, Home is also designed with the user in mind. Interact with the speaker’s touch-top surface (which offers volume control and push requests), and easily mute with the touch of a button. You can decide when Google Home is listening or not, and the four multi-color lights at the top of the surface indicate when it’s waiting for a command. The bottom part of the speaker is also fully customizable, with a wide variety of colors, for $20 a piece.

A recent review of the voice assistant speaker on Gizmodo was positive towards Home’s ability to listen and the context driven nature of the prompts, which allow for more varied language. However, like most voice-command products, Home still takes things a little too literally; questions still need to be simple, and don’t expect it to understand everything you want it to do.

Google Home is pricier than the Echo, but in comparison, its improvements outweigh the price increase. For those looking to slowly extend their smart home capabilities, this is a recommended next step.

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