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 Assistant Gets Continued Conversation on Google Home Devices

Continued Conversation on Google Home

After trickling out over the course of the past few days, it looks like Google has pushed the big red button and the broad release of Continued Conversation for Google Assistant on Google Home is happening.  The feature, which was highlighted at Google I/O, is aimed to create a more natural conversation between you and Assistant without having to issue a “Hey Google” for every command.

Now you can say “Hey Google” once, issue a command (or a series of up to three commands) and Assistant through your Google Home will execute them.  Then it listens for another few seconds for a follow up command.  If you don’t issue a follow up command, or if you say “Stop” then it no longer listens and goes back into waiting for you to say “Hey Google”.

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Google Home Now Available in Austria, Ireland, and Spain

Google Home

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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Buy a Google Pixel 2 XL and Get $150 in Store Credit Plus a Google Home Mini

Google Pixel 2 XL White

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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Google Home and Home Mini Now Available in Italy

Google Home in Italy Google Store

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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Hands Free Calling Comes to Google Home and Home Mini in the UK

Google Home

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 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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