It Knows Ev­ery­thing

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - TECH BENCH - By Nidhi Sin­gal

WWith its com­pact size and el­e­gant de­sign, Google Home, in white and grey, blends per­fectly with the home dé­cor. The cylin­dri­cal smart speaker has a ca­pac­i­tive touch panel on the top that can be used to con­trol vol­ume, play/pause mu­sic and ac­ti­vate voice as­sis­tant. It also has cir­cu­lar LEDs that in­di­cate the vol­ume level and glow while mu­sic is play­ing or when the as­sis­tant is re­spond­ing to a re­quest. There are two mi­cro­phones on the top panel that pick up voice com­mands, and a mute but­ton at the rear.

Google Home can be set up us­ing the Google Home app which is avail­able for iOS and An­droid; we tested it us­ing the lat­ter. The app au­to­mat­i­cally de­tected the smart speaker, con­nected it to Wi-Fi net­work, linked to the Google ac­count, picked up the home ad­dress and even sug­gested to se­lect the pre­ferred mu­sic stream­ing ser­vice from among Google Mu­sic, Saavn, Gaana and TuneIn. In less than two min­utes, Google Home was ready for use. Just like Google As­sis­tant on smart­phones, call­ing out ‘Ok Google’ or ‘Hey Google’ wakes up this smart speaker. Other than ac­ing the ba­sics such as time, weather, re­minders or alarms, fetch­ing sched­ule, news up­dates etc, Google Home was prompt when asked for di­rec­tions, traf­fic up­dates as well as food recipes.

For­eign lan­guage trans­la­tions were a breeze on Google Home. I used the speaker to con­trol the Net­flix and YouTube apps on Chrome­cast. Google Home can also be used to con­trol smart ap­pli­ances – I was able to pair the Philips Hue smart bulb with this speaker us­ing the Google Home app. Once done, Google Home could turn on/off the light, change colour, ad­just bright­ness and more with my com­mand.

There is one area where Google Home doesn’t quite hit a home run – sound out­put. Don’t ex­pect ex­cep­tional sound qual­ity while play­ing mu­sic. The Google Home smart speaker def­i­nitely looks much bet­ter than the Ama­zon Echo, but its ecosys­tem is not as evolved. Hav­ing said that, Google will catch up as more IoT-en­abled gad­gets start com­ing in.

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