Google’s lineup of smart home devices makes it so you can literally operate your home without lifting a finger. Whether you’re whipping up something for dinner or simply playing with the kids, Google’s smart home devices have your back. There are a number of smart home devices that make up the Google smart home product lineup and we will discuss a handful of the core devices in this post.
Google Smart Devices
Google’s Home is a Wi-Fi speaker that doubles as a smart home control hub. It is also a personal assistant for the entire family. You can use it to playback entertainment throughout your home, effortlessly manage everyday tasks, and ask Google things you want to know. It’s essentially Google’s version of Amazon’s Echo.
The device itself has interchangeable bases available in various colors and finishes. Underneath that swappable shell there is a speaker that can playback songs and allow Google Assistant to talk to you, while at the top, there is a capacitive touch display with four LEDs.
This display allows users to interact with Home, trigger Assistant, adjust volume, and so forth. Dual mics listen for your voice. There is a single mute button on the shell to turn the microphones off. The Google Home smart speaker filters and separates speech from noise. The speaker inside features dual side-facing passive radiators, which deliver full range, clear highs, and rich bass.
Google Home Max & Mini
Google expanded the Google Home line-up in 2017 to include the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini. The Google Home Max is a premium speaker product, offering better sound capabilities than the standard Home. Meanwhile, the Google Home Mini is more like an Amazon Echo Dot. It’s a compact, affordable speaker that brings Google Assistant to your home without requiring you to spend a fortune.
Both the Google Home Max and Google Home Mini have Google Assistant. They both offer the same capabilities as Google Home. They have different speaker specifications and technical specifications. You can use any of them for music and video playback, smart home control, and usual voice command queries.
Google Home Hub
Google further expanded the Home portfolio in 2018 with the addition of Home Hub. The Home Hub offers the same features as the Home, Home Max, and Home Mini. However, it also adds a 7″ display to the mix. This makes it ideal for smart home control and video playback.
The speaker isn’t as powerful as the Home or Home Max. However, the display allows you to watch media, read the news and control smart home devices via the touchscreen. It also offers Google Assistant, so you can use your voice to control everything. However, the display really brings everything to life.
How Do Google Smart Home Devices Work?
Music and video playback
Google Home is a Wi-Fi speaker and it can, therefore, stream music directly from the cloud. You can access songs, playlists, albums, artists, and podcasts from your favorite music services with just your voice. Or, if you prefer, you can send music from your Android or iOS device through Google Cast.
With Google Cast support, you can also use Google Home to control other connected speakers in your home. You’ll even get multi-room playback, meaning you can add one or more Google Home devices to a group of speakers in order to blast tunes throughout your house, if they are compatible.
Google Home can also control your video content through Google Cast. Let’s say you want to watch your latest episode of Daredevil on Netflix or a cat video on YouTube. Issue a voice command to Google Home and the content will then appear on your TV. This only works if you’ve set up both devices in the Google Home app, however.
Smart home hub
Google Home devices can be a control center for your entire home.
Google Home devices can be a control center for your entire home. They will allow you to do the basics like set alarms and timers and manage to-do lists and shopping lists, but they will also connect your smart home and support popular network systems. It’s worth mentioning that you will need the Google Home app to set everything up.
Once you set up your Google Home device and all your smart devices in your home in the Google Home app, you will be able to control them. This applies to smart lights from various companies, switches, plugs, Google’s own Nest products and pretty much any smart home device that is compatible.
It’s also possible to control things beyond the home too, such as book an Uber or order dinner. Bear in mind that you will have to ensure everything is setup first though. The best part is all this is done with just your voice, though as we mentioned if you have the Home Hub, you can also use the display to control your smart home devices.
Google Home devices allow you to ask Google anything, from the weather to specific facts. Google’s years of search experience is behind Google Assistant so you can ask specific questions like “how much fat is in an avocado?” or “what is Wayne Rooney’s shirt number?”, but Google Assistant is also capable of conversation so you can ask follow up questions too like “where did he go to school?”.
Google Home devices will be able to connect the “he” pronoun to your previous question about Rooney or whoever in order to serve up an accurate answer.
You can ask complex stuff too, such as: “OK Google, what was the US population when NASA was established?”. Google Home devices will give you immediate answers each time and they can read the relevant parts of webpages back to you, or show you on the Home Hub.
Which Services Does Google Smart Home Devices Support?
Google Home works with numerous music services, including YouTube Music, Deezer, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Music and TuneIn. The list has grown considerably since the original Home device was first announced.
You’ll need to connect your accounts of these services to your Google Home, in the Google Home app but you’ll be prompted to do this when you set your Home device up. Connect as many accounts as you have for the best experience.
With support for these various services, you can ask: “OK Google, play that Shakira song from Zootopia.” Without having to name the song, Google Home can figure it out and play it from your favorite app. Thanks to Google Assistant and its machine-learning capabilities, Google Home knows you and your preferences and learns over time.
Google Home also works with a multitude of smart home companies. The list isn’t quite as rich as Amazon’s Alexa yet, but it is continuously growing and there are plenty of compatible services. Nest, SmartThings, Philips Hue, IFTTT, Ikea, TP-Link, Arlo, Hive and Netatmo are among the services compatible which mean you’ll be able to control these smart home devices and activate your IFTTT recipes using your Home device.
Google Home also acts as a Chromecast Audio receiver. We know we sound repetitive, but again, you must set these up with the Google Home app.
What is Google Assistant in Google Home?
Google announced Google Assistant in 2016 as an adaption of Google Now and OK Google. The service improved the two-way conversation experience of the previous offerings with AI and machine learning.
These advances essentially add context to your questions. For instance, when you say, “OK Google”, followed by “What’s playing tonight?”, Google Assistant will show films at your local cinema. But, if you add, “We’re planning on bringing the kids”, Google Assistant will know to serve up showtimes for kid-friendly films.
You could then say “Let’s see the Jungle Book”, and Assistant will buy tickets. You can even ask, “Is the Jungle Book any good?”, and then the assistant will display reviews, ratings, and a trailer. Google Assistant is able to string your questions together in order to determine context and serve up the right information.
It can do basic stuff like retrieve your travel itinerary, daily schedule, commute time to work, package delivery information, and more. Google Home devices aren’t the only devices with access to the Google Assistant, however. You’ll also be able to use the assistant with Android devices and Android Auto.
Assistant on Google Home devices is the same as Google Assistant on your smartphone. Data is shared across your devices.