CNET Smart Home
Google Home can do almost anything... except beat Amazon EchoThe wait is over. Time to see if Google Home lives up to the hype.
[MUSIC] This is Google Home. It's finally here! It's Google's answer to the Amazon Echo It has the conversational Google Assistant built in. It's not that expensive at $130 versus $180 for the Echo. It's a personal assistant that can sync with your Google Calendar and other Google services for personalized updates. It's an entertainment hub with a built in speaker and the ability to cast to Chromecast devices. It's smart home controller that works with NeXT, Smart Things, Phillips Hue, and Ift. The hype is real, this is it, and all you have to do is say, okay Google or hey Google and unleash the power of Google Home. But now it's time to put the hype aside. We've test it so, does it live up to the hype? Does it beat the Amazon Echo? let's go 1 category at a time. Because we're here at CNET's smart home let's start with smart home controls. Okay Google, turn on the living room lights. Sure, turning the living room table lamp on. It works well with smart home control. Google also responds more flexibly to language. With Alexa you have to get the words exactly right. Google works really well as an entertainment hub. Hey Google, play Home Sweet Home by Motley Crue on the upstairs speakers. [MUSIC] You can set music to any Google Cast enabled speaker or a speaker with a Chromecast music streamer plugged in. You can also group speakers and play synced music throughout your house. You can even control your TV if you have a Chromecast device. But only YouTube for now. Hey Google, play CNet videos on the living room TV. Sure. Playing CNet videos from YouTube on living room. [MUSIC] Google's also good as a personal assistant. Hey Google, add air freshener to my shopping list, I'm almost out. Okay, I've added air freshener to your shopping list. Other then disguising itself as air freshener, google home can check your calendar for you, wake you up in the morning and give you a personalized daily briefing. And it responds to some context in your question. Quiz time. You ready? Hey Google, who plays Katniss Everdeen?>> Katniss Everdeen was played by Jennifer Lawrence>> Hey Google, what other movies is she in?>> Her movies include Silver Linings Playbook, Joy and 25 others. But the context has to stay really simple. Hey Google. Who plays Batman? Batman was played by Ben Affleck, Christian Bale, and others. Okay Google. Who else? Sorry. I don't know how to help with that yet. Right now, Google can call you a cab but can't add things to your to-do list or set a reminder. It's a qualified assistant, but still has some learning to do. Overall, if you need a smart home speaker right now, Alexa is better. But before you sacrifice me at the altar of Google fan boys, I'm not actually calling Google Home bad. I really like it. If you're invested in Google it all it's well worth the purchase and if you're neutral it might be better than the echo someday, it's just not yet.