Google Home Speaker – First Thoughts and Impressions

Hello Everyone, I purchased the Google Home speaker recently on Friday (Went to Walmart at 12 AM to get one.) and I have a few of my thoughts here right now for you.

Setup

Setup was easy to go through, about as involved as setting up a chromecast or chromecast audio. You use the renamed for a third time Google Home app on your phone or tablet to set it up. Once it’s done, you’re good to go! Getting it to link up to other devices took a bit of digging into the settings on the Google Home app, but nothing that someone can’t figure out.

Usage

I have to say, I’m VERY impressed with the microphone on the Google Home speaker. It can pick up my voice in a conversational tone instead of requiring me to raise my voice to get it to work. It can even hear me while it’s playing music.

Here are some commands you can do:

“Ok Google, play Serial”

“Ok Google, play some electronic music”

“Ok Google, Play Electronic music on the Shield”

“Ok Google, Play some down-tempo beats on Kevin’s Chromecast Audio”

“Ok Google, Stop/Pause”

“Ok Google, set the thermostat to 74 degrees”

or

“Ok Google, set the hallway to 74 degrees.” With Hallway being the name of my Nest Thermostat.

Now, while you’re casting, it only works with YouTube right now for videos. But what’s cool is that you can fast forward at least. (Haven’t tried rewind honestly). Simply say, “OK Google, fast forward 30 seconds”.

All in all, the mic and the speaker are very responsive.

Last night, I tested out the IFTTT integration Google Assistant has, so I could get the Harmony Hub working. What better way to show that I’m a Lazy American than by having the TV Turn on itself without needing a remote? Note: The Harmony Hub doesn’t seem to be as integrated with Google Home as it is with the Alexa, but thanks to a bit of black magic on the hands of IFTTT it works!

Observations

One important observation, I noticed is that it’s limited to a single user profile. Multi-user support isn’t there yet. I haven’t gotten it to send any map data to my phone either, but I assume that’s something coming later.

Anyone can say “OK Google” and it will respond to them, so no personal voice recognition yet.

If you’re casting, it tells you what’s casting on your phone and/or tablet.

As I stated before, you don’t have to speak up to have your voice heard. It can hear you quite well, even if you’re not in the same room (But at least close enough for your voice to carry.)

  • Allan Farrell

    just to be clear, this will cast to a shield etc that has cast built in also?

    • Kevin Brosseau

      Yes, it will. I myself have personally tested this. You have to say the device name, and you have to include it in google home (the app) as a device that can be controlled by voice activation. Sadly, right now all you can do is cast music or youtube videos via voice.