The Next Big Thing from Google?

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Although Google did not include the new Home hardware to Google IO 2017, its latest release is expected to improve the six-month-old Google Home to impress the users. According to a recent announcement, Google has arrayed four significant updates to the smart speaker that include proactive assistance, hands-free calling, Bluetooth, and Visual responses.

The biggest announcement in 2017 was provision for hands-free calling. Before the end of the year, the tech giant intends to introduce a feature that will enable importing of contacts from a phone and ask whenever one needs to use them. It is also possible to place a call using a cell number if the Google account is synchronized with the cell. Ultimately, all that is needed is reliable internet connection to make calls and no longer need to rely on static landline or cell phones to make calls.

Bluetooth is easily considered the second biggest update on Google Home. Amazon Echo, Home’s closest rival, has for a while provided the service helping users to sync up to other devices. Google smart speaker will now avail this feature.

Moreover, Google intends to support the free version of Spotify on Google Home. Other supportive features include SoundCloud and Deezer, which add onto the music streaming feature updated in September of 2017.

The last couple announcements (proactive assistance and visual responses) are expected to completely revolutionize how to use Google Home.
One of the latest features we tested is the visual responses, which enables Google assistant to send videos to one’s phone, tv, or table. This feature will enable Home to be competitive especially to its biggest rival, Amazon Echo Show. The difference is that Home uses voice requests going via Assistant that sends the results to available Chromecast, Android, and TVs while Amazon’s device provides an in-built screen that shows events on the calendar or the weather.

The Next Big Thing editorial team reviewed and identified the Assistant function as an important update that equals Amazon’s Alexa voice reminders. For example, users in Britain, the United States, and Canada may now set one-off repetitive reminders by utilizing their voices prior to their anticipated events. The set reminders on Google Home are automatically synched with one’s phone and are therefore available on an Android device of version M and beyond. Regardless of whether there are numerous users on Google Home, one can only get reminders for individual settings.

Design

Every Google Home speaker has a standard design that includes a gray fabric base and a rubber bottom, which may be swapped out for another material for averagely $ 20. However, like any other product meant for different cultures and preferences around the globe, Home offers varying types of bases able to match with interior decorations. Fabric designs come in mango, marine and violet apart from the original white mesh. In addition to fabric, metallic designs are available in varying colors and finishes. Their bases are made of copper, carbon or snow colors and painted steel or polycarbonate.

Compared to Amazon Echo’s black canister shape, Google Home’s design is superior when observed from an entirely aesthetic point of view because of its ability to blend with the environment. It also has a cute and creative top, which is an inclined surface acting as a touch-capacitive panel. This enables the user to adjust the volume and other preferences such as activating the Assistant with only one tap. Unlike Amazon’s physical design for controls such as adjusting the volume, Google Home offers touch controls except for the mute button. Exciting multi-colored lights whirl warmly showing the device recognizes the user’s intention.

Audio performance

Apart from the creative and exciting Google Assistant, Home is also an undisputable quality speaker. Google Cast capabilities ensure it can serve as a Wi-Fi speaker. Moreover, it is able to access a variety of streaming services such as YouTube, Spotify, Google Play Music, and Pandora. Practically, one may be able to request any song in mind and Home will find it on Google Play Music’s 30 million catalogues or from YouTube. This means there is unlimited access of music. Google Home can therefore avail an unlimited supply of music with its largest song library on the global market. To prove this fact, try finding a song that Google Home would not find like old unpopular conservative music such as Banjo-Kazooie. It is almost impossible to find one that is not available in this unimaginably vast library.

On the hand, the Home speaker is limited in identifying band names that sound similar. Using a band name as the search criteria, one may find quite vague results like music from related artists or simply not available.

Google Home is limited in terms of separation when compared to other Bluetooth speakers especially in its price range such as Creative Sound, Razer Leviathan Mini or the Blaster Roar 2. This is noticeable in the low-end or clarity in the mids and highs. Although one should not expect the Google Home device to provide good quality music that can replace a Hi-Fi system, it too can provide some bass and mids. Most important to note is that it gets most of the music from YouTube where audio compression is not a priority and compression is common.
To compensate the inadequacy, Google Home compensates its users with a feature unique to all its competitors, an ability to receive as well as send Google Cast signals. It is the one audio device able to send video streams to any Google Cast compatible devices as well as streaming music from a phone.

Center of the Smart phone

A smart phone is among half-dozen devices that the speaker can connect to excluding third-party devices soon to be unveiled. It can also integrate thermostats. It is important to note that one will always be required to sing in into the third-party devices. Other smart home ecosystems ranging from August, Vivent, Logitech, Geeni, Anova, LIFX, and Wink among others can be supported giving more options to sync. The only problem is it may not be able to connect to some of Google’s own services ironically. It cannot integrate to, for example; Gmail, Voice, or Google Docs, which are famous applications.