After watching Iron Man, were you envious of the Artificial Intelligence “Jarvis” provided to Tony Stark? Ladies and Gentlemen, we are one step closer to all having our own “Jarvis”, but this time it’s called “Google home”.
What is Google Home?
Google home is a voice assisted speaker which functions like a virtual assistant in your home. The device is about the size of a large can of beans. It has subtle colored lights on the top to indicate status, and a powerful speaker weighing down the base. Launched on November 4th, 2016, the price to get your own Google Home is $129.
How does Google Home work?
Google home opens the door for automation to advance in all of our homes. No longer do you have to build your smart home from scratch – running miles of cable through the attic and walls. Google Home can be added to any house or shed or tent – you get it.
To begin, anyone in the house can simply say “OK,Google”. Google Home’s built in microphone is always listening and the hefty speaker in the base has plenty of power to product beautiful audio responses in natural speaking tones. There’s also a few touch buttons on the top of the device, allowing control of music playback and volume.
What can Google Home do?
There are new functions added to Google Home regularly, but some of the most common and useful features of Google Home are:
- Set an alarm for tomorrow morning, or every morning. Or ask Google to remind you about the roast beef in 45 minutes. Google Home can execute all basic timing requests.
- Unit conversions and basic mathematics. One limitation of Google Home, eerily reminiscent of cinema-inspired robots, is its inability to answer math equations where the answer is zero.
- Google Calendar access. What time is your first meeting today? Are you meeting with Sally this week? Worth noting – you must be a Google Calendar user for this feature – no integration with other calendars yet.
- Play music from Google Music and Spotify. It can be tricky to find the exact track your looking for – so come armed with patience with asking for music.
- Flight information. Check on the status someone’s inbound flight, or ask if there are seats available for the next flight to Alaska.
- Control Phillips Hue light bulbs. You can ask Google Home to set entire scenes, or specific bulbs to any color. No integration with 3rd party Hue apps though.
- Search maps and Yelp. Where is a good sandwich shop nearby?
- Adjust Nest thermostat settings. This is my favorite feature – ask Google to set the downstairs temperature to 74º. Or warm up the bedroom without getting out of bed!
- Order an Uber. If pulling your phone out of your pocket has become too much of an ordeal, you can now ask Google Home to request an Uber at your current location.
If convenience if appealing to you, and you are a Google user, you should check out the Google Home. Available today from Google for a little over $100. You may also want to look into the Amazon Echo line of products, which integrate seamlessly with SmartThings home automation: