Google Home review: the complete guide to Google's smart speaker

We've been talking about for weeks Google Home. We have gutted all the initial indiscretions, the curiosities, the functionalities. But now it's time to give you the final verdict in ours video review (found at the beginning of this article)

Google Home and Home Mini: what it is and how it works

By now even the stones know it. Google Home is a smart speaker, that is a cash box that connects to the wifi at home and that - thanks to the integration with Google Assistant - is able to understand your questions and process answers (or actions) in an almost natural way.

Google Home exists in two versions: the standard one that is sold at a price of 149 euros and a Mini version sold at a price of 59 euros.

If you want to know what the substantial differences between Google Home and Home Mini I suggest you read this article.

The version we tested is the standard one, which is the most powerful.

As did?

Google Home it has a very elegant and minimal design characterized by rounded but also square parts. Some say that it looks tremendously like an air freshener (and they're not entirely wrong).

The top in white plastic has two microphones on the top and a small touch control that allows you to adjust the volume but also to pause the music.

The lower part, on the other hand, contains a 2 "driver unit and a double passive radiator (always 2") which reinforces the low frequencies. The music reproduced on the top of the range therefore boasts more faithful bass and, in general, more crystalline sounds. In a nutshell: it sounds really good, despite the small size.

The driver unit is concealed by a fabric-covered shell and can be replaced to add a touch of sparkle to your Google Home.

In Italian - these spare parts - are not yet available, but you can easily find them in the US store. Specifically, the colors available in the fabric are coral, mango, light blue, purple. If, on the other hand, you prefer the metal coating, you can choose between the bronze or black color.

On the back of Google Home instead finds place a key that allows you to mute the microphone sound. In this way the device will never be "woken up" even if you happen to say "Ok Google".

Initial setup is a breeze

configuration Google Home it's really that simple. First you have to download the "Google Home" application from the Google Play Store or the Apple Store (yes, it is also compatible with iOS.

Google Home review: the complete guide to Google's smart speaker Google Home review: the complete guide to Google's smart speaker Download QR-Code ‎Google Home Developer: Google LLC Price: Free

Google Home review: the complete guide to Google's smart speaker Google Home review: the complete guide to Google's smart speaker Download QR-Code Google Home Developer: Google LLC Price: Free

Once started, just connect your Gmail account and then continue with the setup wizard. You will be asked to name the room where the Google Home device will stay. Later you will have to assign your favorite music player (between Spotify and Google Play Music). If, on the other hand, you love listening to the radio, go through TuneIn, you can for example say "Ok Google, start RTL" and the device will automatically tune to the station you asked for.

Obviously the most important of all is: Google Home must always be connected to the internet otherwise it will be unusable.

What are the main functions of Google Home?

First of all, I'll tell you a little secret. To activate your smart speaker you will have two magic formulas:

  • "Ok, Google"(this will also activate nearby smartphones);
  • "Hey, Google"(it will activate only and exclusively Google Home excluding smartphones).

Once you wake up Google Home through the magic formula, you are ready to ask and / or give hundreds and hundreds of different orders to your personal assistant.

Questions can be formulated freely without the need to follow an exact pattern. This is possible because Google Assistant is able to contextualize and understand what you are saying to it regardless of the formula used. Every now and then it will mess up big but don't worry because Google continues to work hard on Assistant's "cognitive abilities".

The answers provided by Google Home are sometimes immediate, other times they take a few seconds to arrive. In general, you can manage a fairly fluid "conversation".

General questions and everyday life

Google Assistant will really be able to answer any kind of question: history, geography, weather, dates, calculations, time zones, altitudes, nutritional information, distances, traffic, currency conversions and much more.

Here are some concrete examples of questions you can ask Google Home.

  • … How many calories does an apple have ?;
  • … What is 2 x 2 ?;
  • … Do I need an umbrella tomorrow ?;
  • … Is it raining in Tokyo right now ?;
  • … What time is it in Los Angeles ?;
  • … What are my commitments for tomorrow? (this is possible because he obviously has access to your Google Calendar account);
  • … How do you say "hello" in Japanese ?;
  • … How much are 10 euros in dollars? (he understands perfectly despite the deliberately somewhat ungrammatical formula);
  • ... that is the result of the derby ?;
  • … Where is the headquarters of Google ?;
  • … How high is Kilimanjaro ?;
  • … What is the distance between Milan and Moscow ?;
  • … Wake me up at 6.30;
  • … Wake me up in 2 hours;
  • … What time does the "Pinco Pallo" gym in Milan close?
  • … Is there traffic to get to the "Pinco Pallo" restaurant in Milan? (it will tell you how long it takes to drive from home to the restaurant based on current traffic);
  • … What's my next flight?
  • … What is the first flight to Paris?
  • … you love Me?;
  • ... can you sing me a song ?;
  • … Tell me a joke.

I can't give you the full list, but I'm sure you'll have a lot of fun harassing Google Home. Children will love it.

Listening to music, radio, audio books and breaking news

The control of the playlists, the volume, the navigation between the different music tracks can be done only with the voice. You can ask to listen specifically to an artist, an album or a genre of music.
Alternatively you can ask Google Home to play an audiobook for you previously purchased on Google Play Books.

Also in this case it will suffice to say "Ok, Google" followed by:

  • … Let me hear some jazz music;
  • … Play me Depeche Mode on Spotify (for shuffle play);
  • … fammi sentire Just can't get enough dei Depeche Mode su Spotify;
  • … Play me the "pinco pallo" playlist on Spotify;
  • … Play RTL (it will automatically start TuneIn radio without the need to specify the frequency);
  • … Let me hear the latest news;
  • … break time;
  • … Next track;
  • … Raises the volume by three notches;
  • … Turn up the volume to 50%;

TV e Chromecast

Google Home is able to interact with Chromecast or with TVs that have Chromcast integrated (i.e. all televisions with Android operating system including: Vizio, Sharp, Sony, Philips, Polaroid, Toshiba, Skyworth, Soniq).

All models of chromecast are compatible with Google Home. For connect it to your Google Home just go to the app> click on the sandwich menu at the top left> other settings> TV and speakers> click on the "+" and finally perform the pairing with Chromecast.

These are the different functions that Google Home can perform for you.
"Ok, Google"...

  • … Show me a video of The Driving Fjona on the TV in the living room;
  • … Activate subtitles;
  • … Start The Crown on Neftlix;
  • ... pause;
  • … Show me the next episode;
  • … Show me the photos I took in Tokyo (it will draw from the Google Photos library and show you all the geolocated shots in Tokyo);
  • … turn on the TV;
  • … turn off the TV.

Home control (smart home)

And that's where the fun really comes. Yes why Google Home is a real hub able to manage more than 1500 smart devices (here you will find the complete list of all devices compatible with Google Home and Google Assistant).

Among the different compatible devices we find lights, thermostats, power switches and sockets, security cameras but also vacuum cleaners, washing machines, dryers and dishwashers.

To make this magic possible you will first have to go to the sandwich menu> home control> and finally click on the "+".
Once done, the Google Home application will offer you all compatible manufacturers.

As you can see in the image on the side, I have associated the LED panels Nanoleaf (find the full review here) and the smart thermostat Tado.

Once you have entered your credentials you will be ready to control your appliances thanks to voice commands.

Here are some examples of use. "Ok, Google" ...

  • … Turn on Nanoleaf lights;
  • … Turn off Nanoleaf lights;
  • … Decrease intensity to 20%;
  • … What is the temperature in the house ?;
  • … Turn on the Tado heating;
  • … Increase the temperature by 2 degrees.

Buy it or not?

As you have understood, the Google Home functions are really hundreds and always in continuous expansion. Looking at it superficially it might seem completely useless and comparable to a mere whim. In reality the more you use it, the more you get used to it and the more you will continue to exploit its services. Obviously now - in the Italian language - it is not yet at full capacity, and it seems that - to date - it is exploited for 80% compared to the English language.

I have to admit, I was skeptical at first, really. Actually I'm using it, I'm boring it a lot but above all I use it so as not to get distracted with the phone. Finally, it is not to be underestimated how valid assistant for the elderly, people with motor disabilities or for blind people that - thanks to voice commands - could become more independent.

If 149 euros seems an excessive expense to you (buy here), know that with 59 euros you can take Google Home Mini home with you (buy here) which in any case is a worthy helper even if with a lower audio quality.

For us, this Google Home is promoted.

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