Google's voice-controlled smart device is on its way to Australia. Here's everything you need to know.
Google Home at a glance
What is Google Home? A voice-controlled speaker that leverages online services to answer spoken questions, interface with digital apps and control smart home appliances.
When does Google Home come out? The Australian version of Google Home is available now, having launched in Australia on 20 July 2017.
How much will Google Home cost? Australian pricing for the speaker is $199.
What is Google Home?
First released in the United States in November 2016, Google Home is a voice-activated smart speaker designed to provide a hands-free interface to a number of information, communication and entertainment services. Built around Google Assistant – Google's virtual personal assistant similar to Apple's Siri – Google Home sits in your house and listens for the "OK Google" command to know when you're giving it an order. Once a valid order has been recognised, it will take care of it for you, all without you having to lift a single finger.
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What is Google Home Mini?
Google Home Mini is a smaller version of Google Home expected to be officially announced at Google's 4 October event in San Francisco. The Mini will reportedly cram all the features of Google Home into a much smaller unit, though it will lose the built-in battery and instead require mains power to run. On the plus side, the Mini is expected to retail for less than half the price of the original Google Home.
What can Google Home do?
Google Home serves two primary functions: information services and digital automation.
On the information front, Google Home can answer questions related to a variety of different topics by querying relevant online sources. For example, asking Google Home what the traffic is like on your route to work will provide you with an estimated travel time based on current traffic conditions. Thanks to the Internet, the information available to Google Home is vast, and it'll provide answers to questions pertaining to:
- Local businesses
- Current traffic conditions
- Translation services
- Weather conditions
- Conversion of measurement units
- General facts
- Personal calendar
- Dictionary definitions
Beyond answering questions, Google Home can interface with a wide range of apps, digital services and other smart devices. By connecting your Spotify and Google accounts, for instance, you can tell Google Home to play music from your favourite artist or album and kick back with some killer tunes. If you wanted to make a night of it, you could have Google Home order you a pizza, dim your house's smart lights, and set your phone and email to "do not disturb".
Those are just a few of the tasks Google Home can perform. You can also tell it to set alarms, manage your personal calendar, play games with you, stream audio from radio and podcast services, adjust an Internet-enabled thermostat, stream video content to your TV and control an extensive range of smart home devices.
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How do I set up Google Home?
To get Google Home set up for the first time, you'll need to download the Google Home app to your Android or Apple mobile device. After following the initialisation steps in the app, you'll be able to connect up to six Google accounts to Google Home, each linked to a different voice. When Google Home detects one of these voices, it will pull information from the linked account to personalise its information and automation services.
Settings like your preferred online stores, streaming services and units of measurement are all configurable within the Google Home mobile app. You can also issue a small range of commands by using the touch surface on top of the Google Home speaker itself, if for some reason you don't wish to use voice commands. This touch surface recognises short taps, long presses and swipes, and can be used to play and pause music, adjust the speaker's volume and put the device in mute mode so it won't respond even when you say "OK Google".
For large houses, one of Google Home's key features is its support for multiple speakers operating in a single group. You can install as many speakers as you want throughout your house and split them into different audio groups, allowing you to start playing music upstairs while the speakers remain silent downstairs, for example.
If you're someone who loves to personalise their tech, you'll be happy to know you can customise your Google Home speaker with a range of coloured bases. Seven colours are available, from a subtle grey to a bold orange.
What apps does Google Home support?
Google Home supports a large number of Google and non-Google apps, with more joining the catalogue as time goes on. Here are the apps Google Home currently supports:
- YouTube Music
- Google Play Music
- Philips Hue
- iHome control
- Lightwave RF
- Mobile Inc
- Nexx Garage
- Osram Lightify
- Quick Remote
- Universal Devices
- Artik Cloud
- Google Photos
- Domino's Pizza
- Google Calendar
- Food Network
Fun and Games
- Mad Libs
- Google Chromecast
- Google Chromecast Audio
- BO Play
- nVidia Shield
- Bang and Olufsen
When will Google Home be available?
Google Home launched on 20 July in Australia.
How much does Google Home cost?
Google Home speakers have a RRP of $199, and are available from JB HiFi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Telstra, Optus, The Qantas Store and Google's own online store.
What else will I need to use Google Home?
Other than a power source, Google Home requires a Wi-Fi Internet connection to access Google Assistant services. You'll also need access to an Android or Apple mobile device to set up Google Home for the first time. If you're an Android user, your device will need to be running Android 4.2 or later. If you're an Apple owner, your iDevice will need iOS 8.0 or later.
What features will be coming to Google Home in the future?
Google has announced a number of features rolling out to Google Home in the coming months. These include hands-free calling, automatic notifications of important updates like changes to traffic conditions, and the ability to display visual answers to questions you ask on your phone or TV.
What audio formats does Google Home support?
- WAV (LCPM)
Google Home specs
- 96.4mm x 142.8mm
- 2" driver + 2 x 2" passive radiators
- 802.11b/g/n/ac - 2.4GHz/5GHz (no support for WPA2-Enterprise)
- Power jack, microUSB for maintenance only