Image courtesy of digitaltrends.com
Google's ambitious new wireless speaker, backed by the increasingly robust Assistant AI, is something I have definitely been anxious to try out, and while it isn't quite perfect, with continuous updates rolling out regularly it shouldn't be long before this handy little speaker becomes a wireless powerhouse. Released on November 4, 2016, I received one as a Christmas present from my grandfather. The only problem was our lack of wifi connectivity out on our ranch. Fast forward to just a few weeks ago, and we now are connected, and I have been using my Google Home every day since.
The Google Home is both beautiful and minimalistic, a squat speaker that seems nondescript at first glance. It blends well with most home decor, and never seems out of place. It has a removable, interchangeable mesh base, with various color options to choose from for increased customization. The build quality is solid; the device feels stout, with enough weight to feel durable, while maintaining its portable feel. It uses a touch sensor on it's top to pause and play music, and raise and lower the volume. You can also disable the mic with a button on the back side of the device. Overall, I'm extremely impressed with the build of this device. The materials are premium, it feels great to the touch, and it just looks awesome.
Google's Assistant AI is still relatively new to the smartphone platform, but it's been providing all of your favorite Google services for some time now on the Google Home speaker. A few updates have even been released, showing Google's commitment to continuously improving this incredibly robust information system. The Google Home can look up information, control your Smart Home devices, integrate with IfThisThenThat, set reminders and alarms, play music and playlists, and even help you with your favorite recipes. All it takes is a quick "Ok, Google", and you're off. With recently added Multi-User support, multiple users can issue commands that Google Home can distinguish, allowing your "Fave Playlist" to be different than the one your significant other asks the speaker to play. It's quick, and often surprisingly accurate, but Google has shown over the last few years that improvement and iteration are at the heart of their search engine progression. You can talk to the Google Home using plain English, and it rarely stumbles in accurately deciding what to do. Overall, there is room for improvement; the Home cannot read or send text messages for instance, but the user experience is polished and natural.
To be honest, I would be skeptical about buying a wireless speaker for over a hundred dollars, but after using the Google Home for a couple of weeks, I can say that this is a device I would definitely purchase for myself. The build quality is stellar, the sound is robust and clear, and using it is as natural as my everyday experience with Google on my Android smartphone. I use it to set alarms, look up movie times, play music, and keep my self connected with my various Google Services. Retailing for $109.00, it's not exactly cheap per se, but for a speaker that sounds as good as it does, and performs as well as it does, it's definitely worth buying.