After waiting an age for smart home tech to properly get off the ground, we're finally getting a good run at it in Australia with the arrival of Google Home. It's available from July 20 for a cool 199 dollarydoos.
But just how Aussie can a piece of tech from Silicon Valley really be? We've done some early testing and hunting around to find out.
First up, Google Home is using a localised version of Google Assistant, complete with Aussie accent. After set up, it should recognise you're in Australia and change its voice accordingly (though you can also select the accent in settings). Its natural language processing also felt quite intuitive in our early tests -- it understood my voice (I rate about "7 Priscillas out of 10" on the Queen of the Desert Accent Scale) and will even parse words like "brekkie" and "servo."
Music and Radio
Google Home knows how to hook you up with Aussie radio stations and podcasts. When it was in its sleep state (or should that be "having a cheeky kip"?) I asked it to switch on ABC Sydney Radio and was duly served up a stream of my local 702 AM station via TuneIn.
Same goes for Triple J and Nova, and Google says it will even give you the Fitzy and Wippa podcast on demand, if that's your thing. It also pulled podcasts from my Pocket Casts app (which is also an Aussie app, by the way).
And if you're after the big names, there's Spotify and Google Play Music compatibility too.
TV and Streaming
With the addition of a Chromecast, Google Home can push content to your TV. You can link your Netflix account, but they've also localised it to support Stan, which means you can easily ask to "Watch Ru Paul on Stan" and be served up the latest episode of "Ru Paul's Drag Race." Chante, you stay.
Want news on demand or headlines served up in your morning round up? Google Home can pull headlines from a number of Aussie sources including ABC News, Sky News, Fox Sports and The Australian.
We all know about Google's famous Easter Eggs (ask it about Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics and you'll hear about ice cream on Wednesdays). But there are also hidden jokes for Aussies in there. Are we going to Bonny Doon? You're dreaming!
Here are a few to try:
- Look what I made you!
- What are your favourite things?
- What are your favourite surf spots?
- How do I spell Goondiwindi?
- Is the Pavlova Aussie or Kiwi?
- What do Kookaburras sound like?
- Let's throw a shrimp on the barbie!
- Surf's up!
- Are drop bears real?
- Are we going to Bonnie Doon?
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