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Why You Should Ditch Alexa and Get Google Home

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In recent months, you might have heard a friend or coworker talk about how they got Amazon's Echo and are enjoying all the cool things it can do like order pizza from Domino's or how it can stream music from Spotify. Sure, sounds great, but you might be left thinking, "is that all it can do?" As a savvy techie, you want a device that delivers it all. From controlling all your smart devices in your home like the Nest thermostat and Google Cast enabled TVs, to booking your next business trip to New York, Google Home delivers the next generation of smart home control.

What is Google Home

Google home is wifi enabled speaker that also serves as a smart home controller. It can effectively control devices in your home like your Kitchen appliances, TVs in every room and even your thermostat, assuming you have devices that can communicate with Google Home. If you're worried about whether your device will work with Google, it's safe to assume that it will, considering the success of how Google's Nest has already been integrating nicely with others.

What Google Home Can Do

Personal Assistant

Probably one of the most important features of Google Home is its ability to serve you and your family as a personal assistant. Already built into Google Home is Google Assistant, an extension of Google Now and a very powerful AI that improves over time with machine learning. If you own any of the latest Android devices like the Samsung Galaxy S6, you have already experienced the siri-like control of Google Assistant. With it, you carry on two-way conversations that feel natural and intuitive. Ask Google questions (by simply speaking to your Google Home) like "What's playing at the movies tonight?" and follow up questions naturally like, "Is the movie Warcraft any good?". You can then command Google Home to purchase tickets on your behalf for the desired showing, using your card on file with Google Wallet. Don't forget that Google Home can book you plane tickets, make dinner reservations and text itinerary to any recipient in your contact list.

Music and Video Playback

Remember that Google Home is a wifi enabled speaker. You can directly command it to playback music from services like Google Play Music, Pandora, and Spotify. You can command broad genres like "Okay Google, play Jazz on Spotify" or be specific like "Okay Google, play One Dance by Drake on Spotify". Video playback works similarly but requires your TV to have Google Cast enabled. You can command Google to play Jimmy Fallon or serve up Youtube video on how to make mashed potatoes, which will stream on your TV, thanks to Google Cast. You'll be happy to know that Chromecast will also be supported right out of the box with Google Home, giving even more flexibility in how music and video is served throughout your home.

Smart Home Control

Google Home is perfect for being hands off, and "always listening" for commands. Although it's not fully disclosed what devices will work with Google Home upon release, Google states that Home can control smart devices or devices hooked up to smart outlets such as WeMo. Imagine using verbal commands to turn on lights in any room, switch on the sprinkler system for 10 minutes or activate the alarm system as you leave the house. Google Home looks to be much more promising in home control than Amazon's Echo, and it's evident from how Google's Nest has already done so.

In the weeks to come, Google will announce more updates on what Google Home can do. You'll want to subscribe to get the latest updates right to your inbox. If you think Google Home is a worthy competitor to Amazon's Echo, share your thoughts below in the comment section.

Published Tuesday, August 16, 2016 11:09 AM by David Marshall
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