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HolidayBuyer's Guide

This is the Google Home, the long-awaited competitor to the Amazon Echo. And just like Alexa, Google Assistant can help you with all sorts of things. Here are some of its most important features and integrations so far.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

First off, the Google Home features a speaker system underneath its colored mesh base. You can use Google Assistant to listen to music on Google Play, Pandora, Spotify or TuneIn.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Google Assistant can also help with practical tasks, like doing quick calculations, defining or translating words, and more.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

The Google Home can also set alarms and timers, and if you're on the way out the door, you can ask it about traffic conditions or check the distance to your destination.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Google Assistant can also check your Google calendar for you, even though it can't add or remove events yet.

Caption by / Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

If you have any smart home gadgets, the Google Home might be able to control them. It works with Nest...

Caption by / Photo by Andrew Hoyle/CNET

...with Philips Hue bulbs, which it can dim and color-change...

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...with SmartThings, which includes lights, plugs, and switches...

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...and with IFTTT, so even if you have other devices, it can likely still trigger them.

Caption by / Photo by Taylor Martin/CNET

The Google Home can also order you an Uber if you want to go out for the night.

Caption by / Photo by Uber

If you're not sure where you want to go, it can tell you about nearby businesses and restaurants.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you'd rather stay in with friends, you can play trivia games with the Home.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Or using Chromecast devices, you can play music through connected speakers or YouTube videos on connected TVs -- all using your voice.

Caption by / Photo by James Martin/CNET

If during the evening you have a disagreement, you can simply look up the answers using the Home. Google Assistant can resolve questions about random facts, sports team records, or even how certain animals sound, if that's the sort of thing you argue about.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you still can't resolve the disagreement, the Google Home can always flip a coin or roll a die. Have more than six people involved? Use a 12-sided die.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If you want to find some Easter eggs, you can even sit around with friends reciting movie lines and famous quotes to see how Google Assistant responds. My favorite unofficial Easter egg: that the Home blends in so well with this air freshener.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

If your guests are so impressed by the Google Home that they can't stop talking about it, just hit the button on the back to mute its microphone. That way it won't keep asking, "Can you repeat the question?"

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET

So that's the Google Home. Its features will likely keep expanding in the coming months, but for now, it's got plenty of features to explore. Check out the full list of commands for more.

Caption by / Photo by Tyler Lizenby/CNET
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