Google Home (Google Assistant) shows how well prepared artificial intelligence for home use. However, as soon as you want to go beyond the “universe Google”, immediately run into a lot of obstacles.
Google Home is the answer to the search giant Amazon Echo: both manufacturers offer box «Smart Home» system with an integrated circular speaker and an intelligent voice control.
But while Echo relies on Alexa service from the company Amazon, Google uses known for smartphones Pixel Google Assistant feature, which is activated by voice, “OK, Google» team. As far as the equipment from both competitors at first glance it seems similar, the same amount it differs in detail.
But first, about the equipment in spite of the dominance of plastic, the column can boast of good workmanship, and even looks elegant. In many ways, this effect is achieved through the pot-bellied, covered with fabric material the lower part, which is fixed magnetic locks, and thanks to seven different colors it should go with any decor.
Despite the fact that the column Google Home voice controlled predominantly on top of the device has a touch panel with which, for example, you can control the volume. In addition, hidden under the plastic LEDs Google corporate colors indicate whether the device is now activated functions through «OK, Google».
Of the rest – on the reverse side of the column there is only one button «Mute», with which you can turn off the microphone, as well as a connector for connecting to the mains.
Customize Google Home is friendly to beginners and challenges should not cause anybody: just install the Google Home app, sign in to your Google Account and select the network you must connect your smart column.
More, in principle, nothing to care is not necessary. However, officially it works only in the US, unfortunately, only in this country, the Google Home can be purchased from third-party suppliers, therefore to communicate with its owner Home is only available in English.
In addition, the need to adjust the system, and the language of your smartphone, to start operation. When Google releases their smart column on the German market, it is not yet known. However, as with their Amazon Echo already presented here are likely to last for no waiting too long.
As we already mentioned, Google Home responds to the passphrase «OK, Google», that during the test seemed to us not as natural-sounding as «Alexa» with an analog from Amazon. Currently command to activate can not be changed, so you have to somehow adjust.
Voice recognition seemed to us a bit more whimsical than the Amazon Echo: if a noisy environment or more people are in the room, the Echo works a little bit better.
In terms of responsiveness, however, Google Home competitor does not agree. The device responds instantly, no need to make any artificial pauses before asking your question.
The biggest advantage of Google Home is almost a natural understanding of the issues: it does not matter whether you are asking about nearby supermarkets, movies, or music albums people – almost always Google Assistant provides the appropriate response.
Particularly impressive is the context identification. If you ask the Google, for example, about the number of inhabitants of Munich, the service not only will give the right answer, but will also know what is meant by the following questions like “how big compared to Berlin?”.
If you tried to just talk with the Alexa, it probably would not have understood what is meant by this question, since the relative track – in this case in the country – at the service from Amazon is absent. Thus, according to the Google option is gone away from competitors.
However, the voice of artificial intelligence – a female, like Amazon’s – during the test we liked less, as Google Assistant speaks very mechanically and monotonously.
It is also very well-developed is the relationship with other Google services. Without much every setting procedures column recognizes Chromecast devices in the same network, and organizes streaming to the appropriate device at your wish. During the test, we called Chromecast-dongle just “TV”, so Google Home team «OK, Google, Broadcast to the YouTube-video of Chip on my TV” interpreted correctly and started to play videos from YouTube-Chip channel on the TV.
Similarly, to get organized viewing video from Netflix, Google Music, Spotify, YouTube Red (USA) and some other services. In terms of music playback, however, turned out to be annoyed that Google Home can not control other Bluetooth-speakers. Anyone who wants to connect these speakers have to do it through your Chromecast, using, for example, a headphone jack or HDMI-interface.
Although this method is less susceptible to errors than Bluetooth-connection Amazon Echo, it is much less flexible. In an extreme case, the music can be played directly from Google Home: for the value column at 120 euros sounds well, while there are several more bass and treble not particularly sparkling – however, should be sufficient for equipment sound speaker capabilities.
First of all, it is the flexibility in operation is the weakest side of the Google Home: manufacturer introduced a third party service only at the end of 2016, and truly open interface should be followed only during the year has arrived.
Accordingly, yet there was quite a few extensions and possibilities for remote control, for example, to such devices smart home systems like radio-controlled sockets and thermostats. Officially compatible in this area are devices from Honeywell Evohome, Nest, Philips Hue, Samsung SmartThings and Belkin WeMo.
Depending on how well the Google Home be received by users and manufacturers must appear in the future many more applications which significantly expand the system.
Currently, in a roundabout way, allowing to extend the functionality of Google Home, is to support IFTTT Web interface: you can use it to tie into a single device system, which so far can not be recognized directly to Google Home.
Thus, for example, there is the possibility of combining with the Logitech Harmony Hub. We believe that will be possible through IFTTT integration and Raspberry PI with the Smart Home system as Pimatic. Perhaps it is through these workarounds will see the first manufacturer, which has yet to train Google Home.
While Google Home (Google Assistant) test shows how well prepared artificial intelligence for home use: voice control by Google Home pleasure and context recognition works amazingly well. In addition, very practical is the ability to transfer content to compatible devices, such as your Chromecast.
However, here at Google we are seeing some isolation solutions – as soon as you want to go beyond the “Google universe», will run immediately with plenty of obstacles. But soon things can change due to a general open interface.