Yes, the word google has become synonymous with searching for anything on the Internet. Today Google is making it easier for everyone including my daughter to search or make a command using our voice with their latest product, Google Home.
To understand what Google Home is, think of it as Google’s version of the Amazon Echo. It’s a speaker connected to your WiFi network that responds to your voice commands. So in effect, you can command Google Home to play your music, get the latest news and weather updates, and even get answers to questions like, how to make pancakes?
Over the years our interactions with Google and products from other technology companies have always been around screens but this is changing as predictions of moving away from keyboards and tapping on screens are coming to pass. It is not surprising to see Google move in this direction as futurists continue to demand less screen and more voice-command technologies. At this time the way Google is providing this service is through Google Home, a $129 voice-controlled connected WiFi speaker.
Google Home is a little device that provides an access point to Google’s services and can be placed anywhere in your living space to use whenever you want to, even if your hands are full or you’re not in front of your tablet or phone. The Home was designed to blend in with the rest of your décor products and has the appearance of an air freshener. So it doesn’t have that speaker-like or gadgetry look which makes it easy to place anywhere in your home like your kitchen, bedroom, living room, without being an eyesore.
How does it work? Google Home is very simple to use and install. All you have to do is just plug it in, open up the new Google Home app on your phone, connect the speaker to your WiFi network, and log into your Google account. You are now ready to make your first voice command.
To wake Google Home you will need to use either, “OK Google” or “Hey Google” as the wake-up phrase and then ask your questions. So if you would like to know what the weather is like, you can say, “Hey Google, What’s the weather today?” This may not sound natural speaking this out loud but with time it will become a part of your command. Google says it is working on different wake words and phrases.
There is a really neat feature called Good Morning, which provides a rundown of your day based on information stored in your Google account. For example, when you say “OK Google, Good morning.” Immediately you will get information on the weather, the commute time to your workplace, appointments in your calendar for the day, and a snapshot of the news.
The Home works the same way as Amazon Echo’s smart home control and can regulate a wide range of smart home appliances like the Nest thermostat, Phillips Hue lights, and other gadgets. Just state your command and the Home will execute commands like, turning off lights and setting the thermostat.
Even with all of these features, the biggest selling point Google has is the vast amount of data and information that is available to the tech giant which when combined with its services like Google Calendar and Gmail will provide a more personalized and customized helper or assistant.
But with technology, there is always the issue of privacy. Having the always-listening feature set to “on” is what makes Google Home so beneficial, but with that comes the concern of privacy. After a command is made Google Home sends the information to Google’s cloud for processing but according to Google only information that is requested after the wake-up phase is being sent to the cloud and not every sound or conversation that takes place in your living space. If you want to be more careful there’s a mute button on the back of the device that turns off the listening feature entirely.
The information that the device provides to Google is then stored with your other data in your Google account. This can be viewed by going to myactivity.google.com.
So now, instead of my daughter asking for me to google it, she can just ask the question and the Home will provide the answer. What a rapid technological advancing world we are living in!
Google Home Specifications
Diameter: 3.79 in (96.4 mm)
Height: 5.62 in (142.8 mm)
Device: 1.05 lbs (477 g)
Base: Standard base is slate fabric.
- Supported Audio Formats
HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC with support for high-resolution streams
802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5Ghz) Wi-Fi for high-performance streaming
High excursion speaker with 2″ driver + dual 2″ passive radiators delivers clear highs and rich bass
Far-field voice recognition supports hands-free use
Required 16.5V, 2A included
- Power Adapter
- Ports & Connectors
DC power jack
Micro-USB port (for service only)
- Supported Operating Systems
Android 4.1 and higher
iOS 8.0 and higher
To learn more about Google Home, go here.
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