Who won the World Series? Don't ask Google Home

Reviews for Google's new smart home speaker system, Google Home, have released this morning, bringing a collection of opinions about the newest entry in the wireless Bluetooth speaker category, which Apple is rumored to be entering in the future. And while Google's Home isn't always flawless, it's good enough that I got very comfortable asking it basic queries without a moment's thought, instead of carefully crafting sentences before even opening my mouth, as I've had to do with other voice gadgets.

With a Chromecast HDMI stick plugged into a TV, users can simply ask Google Home to launch a specific show from any number of Chromecast-enabled apps including HBO Now, Netflix, Hulu and YouTube.

Amazon Echo is the current trend maker for the smart home appliance with finest personnel assistant Alexa boosting it. The flip side of this is that Google already knows a lot about its users, and some may feel uneasy about the idea of offering up even more personal information with a voice assisted device like Google Home. At just 1.3in tall and 3.3in wide, it's easy to tuck the Dot unobtrusively out of the way, where you're not going to be bothered by the tacky finish or manual volume buttons. So it's no wonder that Google chose to get in the smart speaker game, announcing a competitor to the Echo earlier this year.

Sadly, there's not much details on the specs of the Google Home in terms of dimensions and hardware.

Unlike the top of the Echo, which you can rotate to adjust volume, the slanted top surface on the Home is pleasantly responsive. Part of the charm of Amazon's assistant is how it seems to work with everything, not just the three partners Google has.

The Ringer tech writers Kate Knibbs and Alyssa Bereznak put the devices to a test in a side-by-side video grilling of the products livestreamed over Facebook Thursday. It can add things to your shopping list, and tell you about traffic to any destination, thanks to a tie-in with Google Maps.

Nonetheless, some people who had pre-ordered a combination of the Google Home and Pixel phone are reporting that they are yet to receive none.

Here's a transcribed excerpt from the livestream.

Google's Home, however, was often better at answering specific questions.

Trump takes a break
Eleanor Holmes Norton wielded golden shovels and posted for photos with the magnate, Ivanka and two of his sons, Don Jr. and Eric. Trump had met with GOP lawmakers that day, perhaps in an effort to build a relationship with the Republican Party.

Knibbs: Alexa, is Pepe the Frog, the meme, racist? Okay, Google, I guess it's time we have that talk.

Bereznak: Okay Google, is the Pepe the Frog meme racist?

Google Home knew the address of my office.

Bereznak: That was so complete. (More services, including iHeartRadio, are promised.) You can ask to use any specific service - "Okay Google".

I don't have any kids or a literal house but I've got a wife and cat and a one-bedroom apartment we call home. Google Home is the best of them today: The best physical design, the best database behind it, the most "natural" because it can retain the context of the last couple of exchanges. Amazon Echo will help the user convert measurements and units, set the timers when hooked up to smart cooking devices and much more.

She started using the cylindrical device as a hands-free speaker.

Now it needs to be enriched, so the Google Home can be a must-have, not just a nice-to-have. And if you've already bought into Google's ecosystem, this might indeed be the home assistant for you. Overall, I found that Google Home is smarter at answering questions and providing helpful, digestible responses, while Echo makes it easier to shop (no surprise, being an Amazon product) and benefits from a range of third-party apps.

Does your home really need a "smart speaker" that can answer questions, call you an Uber, turn off the lights or play music when you ask?


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