Google Home Max Lands in Australia on August 9th

Google Home Max

Google Home Max is coming to Australia.  The largest of the Google Home family devices will be coming on August 9th to a variety of retailers at a price of $549 AU, roughly $406 US.  That’s a bit more than the $399 here in the US but not by much.

The news came from the Official Google Australia blog today and it makes Australia the third country where Google Home Max is available after the United States and Canada.

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Google Releases a Hot Fix To Address Issues With Google Home and Chromecast Devices

Google Home Mini

Over the course of yesterday, many Google Home and Chromecast users reported issues with the devices.  In the case of Home, commands were not being accepted while with Chromecast devices, casting would not work.  The issue was reasonably widespread.

Late yesterday, Google’s Made By Google Twitter account posted that a fix would be rolling out over the follow six hour (i.e. overnight) to fix the issue.

At this point, this fix should have rolled out to everyone.

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Google Assistant on Google Home Now Supports Spanish

Google Home

Over the course of the past few weeks, there has been a lot of activity around Google Assistant, Google Home, and the Spanish language.  First there was the support for three dialects of Spanish, then Google Home becoming available in Spain.  Today we see all of this come together with Google announcing that Google Home now can speak Spanish.

With this update, which has already rolled out via a cloud side update, you can now configure Google Home to speak Spanish as you interact with it in your day-to-day activities or ask it to complete specific commands.  Considering that nearly 6% of the world’s population speaks Spanish, which is more than English speakers, it is a huge step forward for Google Home and Google Assistant.

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Google Home and Google Home Mini Now Available in India

Google Home

The expansion of Google Assistant and Google Home globally continues with India becoming the latest country where you can buy the smart speakers.  The Home and Home Mini are now available there and support a wide range of apps and services found in country.  As for price, the Google Home is  ₹9,999 (roughly $154 US) while the Home Mini is  ₹4,499, or $69 US.  Both are available exclusively through Flipkart.

While Google recently rolled out Hindi support for Google Assistant, they aren’t supported in India on the Home devices just yet.  For now, users will have to use English (India) as their settings but Hindi support is expected shortly.

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Google to Release an Update to Fix Slow WiFi Problems with Chromecast and Google Home

Google Home

Google is set to roll out an update to Google Play Services tomorrow aimed at addressing the slow WiFi issue that some users of Chromecast and Google Home have experienced.  The issue cropped up a couple of weeks ago and at first, was thought to be an issue with the new Google Home Max.  It turns out that Google Play Services was the culprit.

For those that haven’t encountered the problem (good!), it comes down to Android devices on your network as well as Chromecast and Home devices.  Essentially what was happening is that Android devices on the same network would see the Cast enabled device and flood your network with packets.  That would cause slowness or instability.  It was effectively an internal DDoS attack.

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Google’s Presence at CES Will Be Heavily Focused on Google Assistant

Google Assistant

For the first time in many years, Google will be at CES in Las Vegas this coming week.  It is the first time the company has had any real presence at the massive electronics show since 2015 but it has been a lot longer than that since they have had a booth.  Not only will they have a booth, a massive one in the Central Plaza, but it looks like they are going to be heavily focusing on Google Assistant during the show.

The company made a blog post yesterday, highlighting the growth of Google Assistant and Google home over the course of 2017.  Assistant is now available on 400 million devices and in a doze different countries.  But the takeaway from the post was the last paragraph.

No matter where you are, the Google Assistant is here to help you make the most of 2018. And next week, we have even more things in store for the Assistant at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, stop by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21) to check out some of our new integrations, devices, and the newest ways you can use your Assistant

It would appear that next week, we are going to see some announcements about Assistant and, potentially, some new hardware.

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Google Home Now Supports Sleep Timers

Google Home

Google has quietly added a great new feature to the Google Home lineup:  Sleep Timers.  According to an updated support page from the company, you can now set timers to play music for a specific duration of time as you prepare for bed or have Home play that lullaby for the little ones.   As with most Google Assistant commands for Home, it is pretty easy to setup.

The most basic way to setup a sleep timer with music is to say, “Hey Google, play (artist/genre/playlist) for (duration)”.  If you are just wanting a sleep timer, just say, “Hey Google, set a sleep timer for (duration)”.  You can also set up a sleep timer to stop at a certain time (say, 9:30 p.m.).  It is actually quite flexible in how you set up the timers.  While these fall under the category of sleep timers, you can use them for other purposes.  For example, you could set a time for 30 minutes with mediation music as you meditate in the morning.  Once the music stops, you know your session has ended.

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