Category: Google Home

Pick Up Two Google Home for $229, a Savings of $29

Google is making it easier for you to fill your home with, erm, Google Home.  Right now at the Google Store you can pick up two of the smart speakers with Google Assistant built in for $229.  That’s a savings of $29 if you bought them separately.  Having multiple Home devices is something that has been supported since its release and allows you to get access to Assistant in which ever room it happens to be in with you.  There are also commands built into Home that allow you to play music across multiple Home devices too.

Google Home certainly doesn’t have the number of commands that its primary competitor, the Amazon Echo, has today.  But that gap is closing and closing fast.  Google nearly every week is announcing new services, bots and commands that can be used with the device.

Google Home Update Brings Dedicated Listen Tab

Google Home for Android has been updated with a new Listen tab that makes it easier to find curated music streams across a wide range of services.  The app itself was updated last week but the new Listen tab has now been enabled on the back end.  If you don’t see it yet, don’t fret.  It will be there over the course of the next few days.  Once you have it, you will be able to see music streams from the likes of Spotify and Google Play Music that you can listen to at any time.  You will also get recommendation for apps that can be used by Google Home for music streaming.

The new Listen tab also gives you recommendations of artists and music streams based on your listening habits.  This is a great way to discover new music but also rediscover an old favorite from the past.

Listen Tab in Google Home

Listen Tab in Google Home

Google’s drive is to make it easier to find streaming music.  With so many options, having the ability to scan a single tab in the Home app makes things easier and faster for you.  If you have accounts with Spotify and Google Play Music, you will be able to open those apps from within the Home app to get to the music stream easily but you can also play them from within the Home app too.

 

iHeartRadio Support Coming to Google Home

Google has quietly updated the supported services page for Google Home, adding iHeartRadio as a supported music streaming service.  Once it goes live, likely in the next few days, you will be able to request specific songs and artists to be played from the service.  Adding it will be similar to other services like Pandora and Google Play Music.  It will be under the Music section in the Google Home app where you will use your iHeartRadio account to sign in and link it to your Home.

The addition of this new service is another step in the continued growth of Google Home.  Dozens of informational services have been added since the smart speaker-meets-Google Assistant was released back in November.

Google Home Coming to The United Kingdom

With Google Assistant expanding to Android Marshmallow and Nougat devices, it only makes sense that Google Home start expanding too.  News has come from Google that starting next quarter (March-May) the smart speaker with Google Assistant embedded is going to make its way to the United Kingdom.  The news came from the BBC’s Rory Cellan-Jones who reported on a conversation he had with Google’s Rick Osterloh who indicated Home was on its way to the UK.

This will certainly be good news for readers in the UK.  Home, to this point, has been exclusively US-based but that hasn’t stopped some from buying them and having them shipped to the UK even though it isn’t support.  That, of course, has created some problems in that some of the services won’t work.

Google Home Promotion for 6 Months of Google Play Music Ends Soon

A friendly reminder to all of those who have been debating picking up a Google Home.  The promotion that gives you six months of free streaming audio on Google Play Music ends on February 27th.  That means if you want this promotion, you need to get your order in prior to that date.

Google Home launched with a lot of promotions including Google Play Music and YouTube Red.  These services are tied together so if you have a subscription for Play Music unlimited, you also have YouTube Red.  This is true for this promotion as well.  If you are already a subscriber to Google Play Music, sorry, you can’t take advantage of this promotion.

Google Home Gains Belkin Wemo and Honeywell Smart Device Support

Slow but surely, Google Home is getting smarter.  Today the Home team announced that support for smart home devices from Belkin and Honeywell could now be controlled by the smart speaker-Google Assistant infused device.  Belkin Wemo and Honeywell both make a wide range of smart home accessories that are Wi-Fi enabled such as thermostats, light switches, electrical plugs and webcams.  Now you can add these to you Google Home in the Home Control section of the app and as long as everything is on the same network, you can set it up to be controlled by Google Home.

When Home was launched last year, Google was clear that more partners would be coming to the device and more integrations would be coming.  So far we’ve seen Netflix added from an app perspective as well as a huge number of bots to get information from various resources.  With the addition of Belkin and Honeywell, from a smart home perspective, you are no longer just tied to Nest.

Google Home Gets 34 New Bots For News and Games

It has been a good week for Google Home users.  First came the integration with Netflix and Google Photos earlier in the week.  Second, and just yesterday, a slew of new bots were added to Google Home to help you get news, information, how to’s and even play games, all from voice commands to your Home.  The new bots, 34 of them in all, are available under the Services section of the app on your Android phone.  I’m referring to them as bots because you have to specifically tell Home which service to talk to and you get automated information back from that service.  It is much like a chat bot – just using your voice instead.

The list of services is pretty impressive and all of them are enabled by default.  You just have to tell Home which one you want to access.  This is done by saying “Hey Google, let me talk to about ”.  As an example, you can talk to Dominos and track your order or, equally as important, order your saved Easy Order.  Yes the fact you have to tell Home to which service to use is a bit awkward but I suspect that this will improve over time just as Home in general has improved.

Google Home Integration with Netflix Rolling Out

Google Home owners have a nice update rolling out to the Google Assistant enabled Smart Speaker.  Google is rolling out an update behind-the-scenes that is enabling the ability to add your Netflix account to the app as well as Google Photos.  When it hits your account and it is enabled on the server side by Google, it means you will be able to give your Home commands to show Netflix content or your Google Photos content by voice command.

The Netflix integration is something that most Home users, me included, have been waiting to see.  It was demonstrated at the Google event back in October and gives you the ability to instantly start watching content beyond that of Google’s services (like YouTube and Google Play Music) on your Chromecast or your Cast enabled television.

Review of Google Home – Powerful But Room to Grow

Google Home, in many ways, is the physical realization of the machine learning that Google has been doing for years.  Equipped with Google Assistant, this small, unassuming device that sits in your home is a gateway to Google and all of your personal information at a voice command away.  It is powerful and handy… but not perfect.  Like many first generation products, Google Home has room for growth in what it can do, the apps it can interact with and, of course, how it interacts with you.  I’ll borrow a phrase from my Google OnHub review earlier this year:  If you are an early adopter, Google Home is a great product for you to consider.  If not, you may want to give it a few months and software updates to improve.  And it will improve.  Unlike OnHub, which Google hasn’t fully abandoned but equally isn’t doing much more investing in thanks to Google Wi-Fi, Home is a central and key part of what Google considers the next technical transition we are to see.  That transition is from mobile to machines and Google Home will be at the center of this transition.

I’ve had my Google Home for about a week now and I have to say that it is very much a part of my daily routine and work flow.  It saves me from having to pick up my Nexus 6P or Nexus 9 to use the “OK Google” voice commands (if my phone is locked, I have to unlock it to get the results) and gives me a wealth of information all a voice command away.  But I can already see things I’d like to improve, particularly around app integration and more natural language discussions.  But that will come in time.  One thing is for sure:  The speakers in Google Home are impressive and have excellent sound.  For this, you won’t be disappointed.

Google Home Down to $99 Tomorrow

If you have been wanting to pick up a Google Home, tomorrow is the day to do it.  Tomorrow, November 23rd, you will be able to pick the Google Assistant powered smart speaker for just $99 at Google’s Store as well as Best Buy.  The sale is going to be limited to tomorrow and Google is indicating there will be limited quantities.  If you are wanting to get one, you need to jump on it quickly as at that price, they will sell pretty fast.

Home has been doing well by all indicates and while it certainly has some limitation on what it can do currently, you can see where Google wants to go with it as a centerpiece of the “AI first” movement.  Having had a Home in my office for a few weeks now (review coming later this week), I’ve found it be very handy and helpful with things but equally, I’ve bumped into some limitations that I hope are addressed soon.

How To Enable Audible Confirmation on Google Home

Google Home has some impressive microphones built into it and can hear you for a good distance away depending on the ambient noise level of your home. Sometimes, however, it would be nice to get some sort of acknowledgement that Home actually heard your command.  Sure you have the swirling lights at the top but what if you aren’t looking at it or are even out of sight of your Home?  Fortunately there is an easy way around this and it all comes down to a setting inside the Home app.

In this How To I’ll show you how to set up your Google Home to give you an audible tone when you start or end a request.

Need Help With Google Home? Try the Google Home Forums

Like most products and apps from Google, Google Home has a user-based help forum available for everyone.  The forum is a great place to go get answers to your questions, find out news and information and interact with experts both from Google and other users on Home.  While the Home forums are not as active as other forums like the the one for Gmail, Project Fi or Google Photos, it is getting there pretty quick as more people order the smart speaker device for their home.

Google Home

Google Home

If you have a Home and are looking for some help or answers, head over to the forum and take a look around.  It is possible that your question has already been answered so be sure to do a search of the forum.  If not, you can easily post a question and one of the product experts or even a Googler will reply back with information if the answer is known.  If you are familiar with the forums for other products, you may be looking for who are the Top Contributors or Rising Stars.  Right now, because the product and the forum are both new, there are not any designated TCs yet.  That’ll change soon enough as more of us who are TCs in other communities (I am one in Google Photos) answer questions and, of course, new users who lend a helping hand to their fellow Home user.

Check out the forums to get help or to help others.  It’s a great community across a wide range of Google products and apps.