Google home our new smart room mate (full review)

Google home our new smart room mate (full review)  


Most of us know finding a good roommate is tricky. Some leave their dishes in the sink. Others stiff you on rent. But Google, or more specifically, the Google Assistant, isn’t like that at all. Everything considered, and as far as roommates go, it’s one of the best you’ll ever have.



(Update: Google Home can now make calls to landlines in the UK! This was a feature unveiled at last year's Google IO, and has now finally made its way into the home.)

That’s because Google Assistant, the smart artificial intelligence that’s built into the Google Home, aims to make life easier for you rather than more difficult. You can ask it to lower the thermostat for you when you leave, diagnose your symptoms when you’re feeling ill or have it locate that funny clip from your favourite TV show last night and throw it onto your Chromecast without any hesitation.



It’s smart enough to tell you how much plane tickets cost from where you live to any exotic destination you can think of, or prattle off oddly specific information like how much a Macaw weighs (2.6 to 3.3 pounds, apparently) or how much a new piece of technology costs (“According to TechRadar, the PlayStation 4 Pro costs $399 or £349”).

But, ask that very same question using different words or in a slightly different tone, and Google’s ultra-smart assistant suddenly forgets what it just told you. 

That general problem – ”it works sometimes but not all the time” – isn’t just symptomatic of the $129 (£129/AU$199) Google Home; the Amazon Echo, the current smart home incumbent, is far from immune to them as well. In due time, both devices will get smarter, but as it stands both are more novelty than pragmatic purchases.

Google Home is far from perfect at the moment, but it’s sure to get better over time as Google continues to work on its AI voice assistant technology, and we’ll be updating our review regularly as new functionality continues to be added. 





What's new for Google Home?

At the latest Google IO in May 2018 a new version of Google Home wasn't revealed. But that doesn't mean there weren't lots of exciting news and updates about Google Assistant.

Google announced that Assistant has now made its way to more than 500 million devices. That means not only does it come built-in to Google Home, it works on over 5,000 different devices - from cars to phones.

Two of the biggest features coming to Assistant that'll affect Google Home are called Multiple Actions and Continued Conversation.

According to Google, one of the most requested features for those using Google Assistant is the ability to ask it lots of things at once without having to keep repeating "Hey Google." That's what Continued Conversation is all about, the Assistant will be able to understand when you're talking to it rather than someone else.

This new feature is related to Multiple Actions, which is when in a conversation you might make multiple requests. It now doesn't need them one-by-one, it can see to each and every one of the - at least in theory.

There's also a new extension of Google's Family Link called "Pretty Please", which is designed to ensure your kids treat the voice assistant with respect. It means the Assistant will understand and even encourage polite conversations.


And finally, Google will be adding six new voices to Assistant in order to make it feel more personal and natural.

Of course this adds to all of the other amazing things Google Home and its Assistant can already do. Back at Google IO 2017, Google announced four major changes to the smart speaker: proactive assistance, hands-free calling, Bluetooth and visual responses.

Hands-free calling and Bluetooth allows you to import contacts from your phone and then, when you want to make a phone call, all you’ll need to do is ask.

Home also uses Bluetooth to sync up to other devices – a feature the Home’s competitor, Amazon Echo, has had since it launched and had so far been strangely. 

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