What is Google Home?
Google Home is Google's smart speaker, part of a new generation of two-way information and automation devices that are placed in home or office settings. These voice-activated smart devices actively listen for and respond to spoken requests and voice commands. The Google Home umbrella of products also includes Google Home Mini and Google Home Max, for added options.
Google Home was released in 2016 and gained quick acclaim as an Android-based alternative to Amazon Echo, the first widely popular smart speaker. Google Home is also distinct from the similarly named Apple HomePod, another device in the growing smart speaker marketplace.
How Does Google Home Work?
Google Home utilizes the popular Google Assistant virtual assistant to make speakerphone calls, play music, search the web, check your calendar, and more. Google Home’s built-in integration with the Google product universe like Gmail, Google Photos, and Google Drive, makes it easy to get the most out of these tools. Like other smart speakers, Google Home can be extended to connect, communicate with, and control a growing array of lifestyle applications, home automation systems, and productivity tools.
Once turned on, smart speakers such as Google Home are always listening for voices and are programmed to respond to specific wake-up words or phrases. For Google Home, it's the same, "OK Google" command that can be used to activate Google Assistant wherever it is installed, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, smart speakers and smart displays. Interaction with Google Home and other smart speakers is typically two-way, allowing you to interact with the system to refine an initial question or give sequential commands.
What Can I do with a Google Home Smart Speaker?
Some capabilities on Google Home are native to the device, while others require integration with other tools and services. Fresh out of the box, Google Home and the Google Assistant software app that powers it can accomplish a wide array of tasks, especially if you already use Google's email, calendar, and other products.
Here's some of what Google Home can do:
- Play Music: Feel like singing along? Tell Google Home to find and play a new song or call up something from your playlist.
- Set Reminders: Need a quick alert? Ask Google Home to tell you when it's time to bring in the dog or let the cat outside.
- Send Messages: Got something to say? Use Google Home to send a dictated email message to your boss or a text message to a friend.
- Get Answers: Want the facts? Google Home can get the local weather forecast, search for the capital of Brazil, or read out your daily schedule.
Integrating Google Home with Other Tools
Many popular capabilities of Google Home and other smart speakers involves combining them with additional services and tools, such as home automation hubs.
Here's some of what Google Home can do when integrated with other devices:
- Lock the Doors: Combine Google Home with your home security systems to put locks, alarms, and other settings under convenient, centralized voice control.
- Light the Room: Use Google Home with automated home lighting networks -- or just a few wireless-enabled smart plugs -- to turn on the lights without touching a switch.
- Shop from Home: Set Google Home to log into a local grocery service and you can simply speak the items you want added to your next delivery.
Smart speakers are truly useful accessories – with just a few words, Google Home can find answers to questions, activate services, and perform other automated actions formerly done on your own (whether manually in-person or by opening other apps to complete the task). As technology progresses, smart devices like Google Home will continue to streamline day-to-day tasks, so that we can focus on what’s really important.