Sunday, November 6, 2016

Product Review: Google Home #googlehome #madebygoogle

I recently received the Google Home to test and review. I was waiting with anticipation, but was a little disappointed with it's performance. Setting this unit up, was just as simple as unboxing it. There was literally no hesitation to get down to the nitty gritty and use it.

So let's start with what I appreciate about it. It's design is sleek but unassuming. It easily sits in the background until you need it to wake up with "Okay Google" or "Hey Google", its trigger phrases. It's sound is incredible for having such a small footprint. I know it won't compare to a high end  bookshelf speaker, but that's exactly it, it is not one. For what it is designed to do it handles all sorts of music with great response. It's bass and treble had a perfect balance when playing music, which is a breeze while I had it synced to my Google Play Music Account. The voice recognition is outstanding, with its far-field microphones. There is no need to increase the volume of your voice, even in the middle of it streaming music. It recognizes the trigger phrase and then turns the music down while it responds. I wondered what would happen while trying to trigger this unit, while my Google Pixel will wake with the same trigger phrase. Will they both respond and it be a bit confused? No, both units get triggered, but then my phone notifies me that another device is responding, and this creates a little bit of frustration that I will cover in my Cons paragraph. I do love that in the morning I can ask it about my day and it will let me know what the weather is currently, and the day's outlook, any events from my calendar for the day, and it will play my selected news podcasts, which first in line is Tech News Today From the TWIT network.  I also enjoy being able to add an item to my shopping list nested on Google Keep, I just wish I could add items to different lists. I hope to invest is some home automation gadgets in the future to test out some of it's integration in that department. I did find this unit pleasurable to set up and use, I just feel the software needs a little tweaking.

As with any new technology there are certain things that make you scratch your head. What this unit seems to be, is a blend of a Chromecast Audio melded with Google Assistant. But with that being said, Google Assistant needs some work. The two areas that I would use it regularly, is adding  reminders, or adding an event to my Google Calendar, and she responds that she can't do that yet, but she is still learning. So then I thought well for now, that's fine. I will just set my reminder or my event with my phone. Nope, the fact that my phone knows that the Google Home is listening to me, it notifies me that "another device is responding". I'm not sure how this was missed, or not addressed while it was in development, for me if I was purchasing this unit, it would be a deal breaker. It also can't find individual songs that I know for a fact are in my music library, and it appears it only will play a playlist that I have on my phone. That brings up a question, being I am a conscious data consumer (my daughters call me the Data Police), We have a 2Gig data limit on our wireless plan, and a 300Gig data limit on our wired broadband plan. We always pay attention to how much we stream. We all download our playlists to our devices and play them within, instead of streaming, when we can. To the question: When listening to my playlist from Google Play Music on my Google Home, is it streaming or is it playing/casting from my personal device, that I have it downloaded on. I will be looking for an answer to this question and will follow up with an update. I do believe that most of the shortcomings will probably be fixed via an update to the device and maybe even some work on Google's server end.

I would only recommend this unit for a certain type of person, one that likes home automation, one that listens to podcasts regularly, a gadget enthusiast and finally a patient person. Who knows when Google will get around to tweaking the software, to be even a better assistant. It's easy to give negative review, with these types of devices, especially when it seems they are quick to go to market. Take a moment and think about what Google is actually accomplishing here. Incredible, but I'm waiting for it to be AMAZING!!!

You can pick up one of these Google Home devices at BestBuy for $129.00

Thanks for reading my review of this unit and have blessed day! Go here for other Product Reviews.


I figured out why this won't find an individual song that I do in fact own, and is in my library. Apparently you have to subscribe or pay for the Premium Google Play Music to be able to request individual songs. I mention the workaround for this brute force sales tactic above, just create a playlist of the songs or song you want to play. You then are able to request Google home to play the playlist. I have read some other tech enthusiast's posts, stating they think Google will change this restriction, Time will tell...

I'm still working on the Data/Streaming question, but will provide an update as soon as I get some information on it.

*I do have a material connection regarding this piece of equipment or it's manufacturer*

No comments:

Post a Comment