Google Home: What it does and when you can get one

google home
Melissa Riofrio

A house is not a home, clearly, without Google Home.

At least, that is what Google is hoping we'll think. At an event on Tuesday, the tech giant showed us more features of its Google Home smart speaker. But what is so special about the device?

In IT Blogwatch, we Googlefy our life.

So what are Google Home's basic capabilities? Aaron Mamiit has the background:

At its recently concluded Oct. 4 event, Google...unveiled Google Home, which is its take on smart speakers...The Google Home utilizes Assistant, which was first seen in the Google Allo messaging app.
To use the Google Home, users will first have to say "OK, Google" or "Hey, Google"...because Google holds...information on users from their Google accounts and apps, the Google Home will be able to perform functions such as telling users what is on their calendar for the day and how long the commute to work will take.

But that is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what Home will be able to do. Google showed off some other features at their event. Eric Walters lists a few more:

A user will simply say “OK Google” and then ask away...Once you..say the keyword, Home can...tell you the weather, tell you when Iron Fist is coming to Netflix now that you’ve finished your Luke Cage a song...You can use it in tandem with a Chromecast to sling video to your TV or dim the lights when you sit down for movie night. If you ask it a question it doesn’t know, the speaker will scour the internet to find the information you need from an appropriate website.

But all that isn't what makes Home really powerful. Philip Michaels gives us more insight:

But Google Home has a built-in edge when it's time to ask the speaker a question...Google Assistant.
Take the speaker's My Day feature. Tell Google Home "Good morning," and it will launch in with today's weather and information about your commute. It will also tell you about upcoming appointments you've got scheduled for the day and list any reminders...Google Assistant is pulling all this information from your Gmail, calendar and other Google Maps.

This all sounds well and good, but Matt Hamblen reminds us of one very important thing when using Google Home and, by extension, Google Assistant:

As [users] take advantage of Google Assistant personalized voice searches, Google is mining their personal information as the company creates improved advertising profiles -- the lifeblood of Google's existence.

So are you sold on Google Home yet? If so, Edward C. Baig knows when and how you can get one:

Google Home...will go on sale Nov. 4 for $129...The purchase price also comes with a free six-month trial of YouTube Red, an ad-free version of the video sharing service.
Google Home is coming to the U.S. only at first, and will be sold in the online Google Play Store...Target, Walmart and Best Buy; Google starts taking preorders Tuesday.

But are there any concerns? Geoffrey A. Fowler has one:

So just to review, Google says it wants to install microphones all over your house. And didn't talk about privacy.

Copyright © 2016 IDG Communications, Inc.

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