A few weeks ago Spanish support for Google Assistant was added in what at the time looked like a precursor to Google Home being available in the country. Today that has proven to be the case. Now on the Spanish Google Store site, you can order a Google Home for €149 (roughly $172) and a Google Home Mini for €59 (roughly $68).
While Spain was expected due to the the Assistant support, the fact that Austria and Ireland also now has Home available came as a bit of a surprise. Google had not previously announced these two countries, but given the rate of expansion that the Mountain View company has aimed for in 2018 both with Assistant and Home, it isn’t too big of a surprise.
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Over the weekend, I posted about the great deal the Google Store is running on the Google Pixelbook. Now it seems they have put together a great deal on the Google Pixel 2 XL phone too. Right now at the store you can pick up the flagship Pixel device for regular price but you get $150 in store credit to use later plus a Google Home Mini. All you have to do is add both the Google Pixel 2 XL and the Home Mini to your cart and the price will be discounted.
While we all know that the Google Pixel 3 lineup is going to be coming later this year, that is no reason not to give the Pixel 2 XL a serious look. It will be updated to Android R when it is released and you still get free Google Photo storage for two years too. Oh, and it is a seriously awesome phone.
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Earlier this week I posted about Google Assistant now supporting the Italian language. The question, as I posed in that post, was if it was a prelude to the Italian Google Store seeing Google Home coming soon. Now we know the answer is yes.
On the Google Store site in Italy, you can now purchase a Google Home or Google Home Mini. Home is €149, about $183 while the Home Mini is €59 or about $72 US. They are on sale now and both models are available.
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Good news for those of you in the UK. You can now make hands free calls to contacts through your Google Home or Home Mini. The feature rolled out in the United States last August and allows you to leverage Google Assistant to place calls to contacts or business that can be found in Google search.
Using it is very easy. Just say, “Hey Google, Call my son”. Because I would have tagged my son in my contacts, Google Assistant will place the outbound call to my son. If a contact has multiple numbers, you will be prompted on which number to place the call.
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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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The Google Home Mini has become one of Google’s most popular devices for a lot of reasons, price and size chiefly among them. The donut sized device lends itself to be tucked away in any room to give you access to Google Assistant whenever you need it. But for some rooms, having the Home Mini mounted on the wall makes more sense and frees up counter space in your bedroom or kitchen.
Incipio has been making a wall mount for the Google Home Mini almost since its release. It’s been available directly from them on their site but it got a big boost this week with it now being available on the Google Store. On either site, it is $14.99 and comes with everything you need to mount your Home Mini to a wall in your home.
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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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When the Google Home Mini was announced back in October, one of the highlighted features of the device were touch controls. These controls would all you to not only adjust the volume with a touch of either side of the device, but would also allow you to long press to play or pause music amongst other things. Unfortunately it was discovered that the touch controls could be activated without actually touching them, prompting Google to disable the feature (save the volume up and down side touches) via a software update.
It appears now that Google has sorted out a potential resolution and will soon be re-enabling the touch controls of the Google Home Mini by bringing those to the side touch areas. There is now a software update available to those in the Home Preview Program which is enabling long presses to pause or play music while short presses of the side buttons will remain volume control. The top tap control however remains disabled and likely will remain so given it is as much a hardware challenge as it is software.
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