Hey Honey I'm Google Home!

As a blogger you often get invites to events that are a bit vague as to what the event will be about, but when I received my first ever invite from Google it would have been rude to turn it down. 

Lucky enough the event Google were hosting was the launch of some new tech! The event held at the end of March was at a pop up house just over Tower Bridge! For me timing was perfect as the day job  already had me in London that day.  

Thanks to social media I managed to work out that a number of other bloggers I knew were also going, so met up briefly before with Darren from Photalife, Tom from Diary of a Dad and Thom from Unlikely Dad, who I hadn't met before.

Google had taken over an event space and transformed the outside into a Google Home......  After a nice introduction and some great food cooked by Billy Wright and Jack Layer, Master Chef UK finalists we finally got to see a demo of Google Home in action! 

I really liked the way Google had gone about showing of their newest product, they had a number of different rooms that you would expect to find around the house and proceeded to demo how they could be useful and entertaining.

Fast forward a couple of weeks and I was invited back to Google, on the UK launch date of Google Home to pick up my very own device!  Here is a quick little video of me unboxing this little beauty!

Now when I usually get a new piece of tech the family just give me that knowing look of lets indulge dad and his geeky way for a while, but with Google Home it appears to have been slightly different.  They have all taken an interest in the device.  If you haven't read or seen anything about the Google Home this is a brief list of what it can do:

  • Set Alarms and Timers (Handy when cooking)
  • Calculator (Not for the kids home work.....)
  • Calendar (Add new events as well as check out what is coming up)
  • Fun Stuff (Tell Jokes, be entertained if a little bored.... even have a song sang to you)
  • Dictionary (Very useful for me as my spelling is at atrocious)
  • Info .... be it information on a subject or how you cook something, very useful to get a brief summary and if you need to read more a link is waiting for you in the Google Home app.
  • News - Get a daily or up to date bulletin on current news which can be filtered to your taste 
  • Finance - Hand if you are into how the markets are doing or to find out current exchange rates quickly
  • Games - a film family favourite in the geek household.... we are loving the Lucky Trivia game, not to sure I like the nicknames Google Home gives you though, even if my recent one was Ace ha ha)
  • Smart Light control - I am lucky enough to have a couple of smart plugs around the house and Google Home is able to control these thanks to IFTTT, as my smart plugs aren't supported directly with the app, the youngest finds this especially useful if she has to come downstairs during the night she just asks Google to turn the light on!)
  • Local Guide - One very useful tool is the local guide which as you would expect for Google able to tell you your nearest shop etc including opening times and restaurants
  • Music - The built in speakers are pretty good for such a small device, but I am loving the fact Google Home can play Spotify playlists by just asking, you can also instruct where you want them played, as we have a number of Chromecast connected TV's you can choose.
  • Chromcast Control - As well as the music, you can also ask Google Home to play YouTube Channels, Netflix, BBC iPlayer etc.

This is just a few of the features that I have used but read a full list here.  I am liking the built in radio control via TuneIn Radio which makes it super easy when working from home to jump around radio stations without having to get up from my desk to sort, although I had heard a number of people had issues with this function which now appears to be resolved! 

I would say it is worth doing a bit of research before purchasing one though incase it doesn't work with services you use, for example anything Amazon related, as a direct competitor I can't see any of their streaming services being compatible anytime soon.

Having has an Amazon Echo Dot, I think the Google Home is a serious contender, as you would expect the speaker is better but have not compared this to the Amazon Echo, although I do feel the microphone isn't as good at picking up voices in a noisy room compared to that of the Echo which is a frustration sometimes.

The design of the Google Home is spot on, I especially like the control function which you can see in the below video, this is a lengthy video as it was the Instagram Live stream, unfortunately you can't see the questions I am being asked so it looks a little random but feel free to skip through it! 

Overall this is a very solid smart assistant which I feel will just get better!  I hate to say it, being an Apple Fan boy and all but I now really want to try out the Google Pixel phone, if the Google Home is this good how good would a mobile device be with Google Assistant on??  I can imagine the two together would be a powerful combo!

So if Google want to get in touch about testing one I have dropped enough hints ha ha

There are a couple of downsides to the device so far.  You are not able to stream music from your device (such as Apple Music or Audible) to the speaker using bluetooth, I suppose as this technically isn't a bluetooth speaker that shouldn't come as a surprise.  I also find it frustrating that you can launch Netflix but are as yet unable to select an episode to watch or choose which Netflix user to watch it on.

I am confident some changes will happen and Google are keen for feedback so will be happy to share any further thoughts! 

For now I need to go and order a new base for the Google Home as the wife has seen one that is a better match for the front room theme!! 

 

Disclaimer:Google provided 1 Google Home unit as a gift, the above is not a sponsored post and all views are my own.