Google Home: tests, prices, where to buy without errors?

Google Home is available in France since August 3rd. Since August 8, Google’s smart connected wizard is also distributed in-store in the Fnac-Darty network.

Google wants you to invite him to your home. To do this, the band created Google Home, a smart, cylindrical loudspeaker with two microphones and four LEDs. This connected object, launched in the United States in November 2016 and in France on August 3, 2017, is linked to a virtual assistant called Google Assistant, an artificial intelligence capable of answering vocal questions but also written by its owners. The communicating enclosure is then able to help its users in multiple tasks of their daily life, as shown in the video below: automatically turn on the light, put a playlist on Spotify, listen to info, order a Uber …

 Google Home

Google Home is available in France since August 3 at the price of 140 euros (against 129 dollars for the US version). Originally distributed only online, either via the Google Store  or the Darty site  , it has since August 8 also been sold in stores in the distribution network of Fnac-Darty with three months of subscription offered to Deezer. The personal assistant is the first available in French while awaiting the arrival of Amazon Echo and Apple’s HomePod, in particular (while waiting for Facebook?). The speaker is equipped with Google Assistant, Google’s smart help which allows you to access a wide range of services through voice. For example, you can program your alarm clock, make purchases, know the weather, order a VTC, or just do a web search. To know the full list of these services Google has launched a site referencing them: ” Explore the features of Google Home ”

If you decide to buy it, you will easily find offers on the Internet between 100 and 110 euros, especially if you do a search on … Google. You will then see these seductive offers in the sponsored links. But beware, this is US version (see capture below).

Lower prices, but in US version … © Screenshot

Google has posted on its blog  the names of its tricolor partners whose services are available on the device since its release. Alphabet customers will be able to listen to the radio with Europe 1, the different stations of Radio France, France (Franceinfo, France Inter, France Bleu, France Culture, France Musique, Fip, Mouv ‘) and RTL. Google has also signed agreements with international companies. Google Home will control the lighting, thermostats and switches of brands such as LIFX, Nest, Philips Hue or even Wemo. In addition, the connected vacuum cleaners of the American Neato Robotics will be compatible with the French version of Alphabet’s intelligent speaker, the manufacturer announced.

To discover Google Home, here is a selection of tests:

Price from Google Home

Google Home was marketed at the rate of $ 129 each when it was launched in the United States. The connected object costs 50 dollars less than its number one challenger , Amazon Echo , for which the first customers had to pay 179 dollars. Alphabet plans to sell her last baby a little more expensive in Europe: the starting price for the UK is 129 pounds excluding postage, which is nearly 167 dollars as of May 15, 2017.

Google Home Assistant

Google has equipped its connected speaker with a conversational AI called Google Assistant. This intelligent wizard decrypts the demands of its user using natural language analysis technology and responds with its synthetic voice. Since April 20, 2017, the software has been able to distinguish up to six different people living in the same dwelling, to store their personal data separately and to respond to them according to their own research. This digital butler was presented by Alphabet at its Google I / O conference in May 2016.

But the Google AI is not only present in its communicating enclosure: the group wants it to be integrated with as many devices as possible. It is therefore automatically provided in all smartphones equipped with the Android OS 6 and following and in several versions of the company’s IoT operating system , Android Wear. All connected phones and bracelets running on these OSs have the default Google Wizard, as Apple has done with its Siri IA, and is automatically present on all iPhone since the release of the 4S in October 2011. Alphabet hopes to collect a maximum of data on Internet users and monetize them one day.

The multinational has even gone further by opening, at the end of April 2017, the development kit of its virtual assistant to third-party developers . Its AI can now be integrated into any connected object. To announce this change in its policy, Alphabet has forged a partnership with the Deeplocal innovation studio. The two structures have worked together to equip a Google Wizard robotic “do it yourself” cocktail bar so that it is able to chat with its users while it prepares their mixture, as shown in the video below .

 Okay Google

Google Home Smart Wizard does not always listen to its users. To wake up, they have to say “Okay Google”, “Hey Google” or “OK ​​Google” in the French version. The device captures the phrase that its owner pronounces just after this formula sesame. It is analyzed in a fraction of a second by the AI ​​software, which tries to provide as satisfactory a response as possible.

Google Home Applications

Many of the applications, built directly by Alphabet or offered by third parties, are now available via Google’s smart loudspeaker. Since December 2016, the company has allowed developers outside the group to easily create “stock conversations”, mini-bots giving access to new functionalities. Spotify, Deezer and SoundClound streaming music services are compatible with the speaker. It is also possible to display on your TV the answers provided by the device via the Chromecast device.

To launch these voice applications, the user must wake up the device by saying “Okay Google” then pronounce a given sentence in order to start the app. For example, the device can connect to the owner’s Google Calendar to give him the program of his day or to read the latest news. Just ask him “tell me the news” or “catch me up”.

Several third-party or internal streaming music services are available on Google Home:

  • Google Play Music
  • YouTube Music (United States only)
  • Spotify
  • Pandora (United States only)
  • TuneIn
  • iHeartRadio
  • Photo Spotify / Google Home
Google Home is connected to Spotify. © Google Site Capture

The device is also able to control a series of home automation devices, as Alphabet explains on the support page of Google Home  :

  • Nest Thermostats
  • Philips Hue
  • Samsung SmartThings
  • Honeywell
  • Belkin Wemo
  • Wink
  • TP-Link
  • LIFX
  • Best Buy Insignia
  • If This Then That, by IFTTT
  • Osram
  • Lowes Iris
  • Lutron Caseta
  • iHome
  • Emberlight
  • Leviton
  • Artik Cloud
  • iDevices
  • NuBryte
  • Universal Devices
  • Mobilinc

Google Home VS Amazon Echo

Google is a challenger in the connected speaker market: the pioneer of the sector is the US e-commerce group Amazon, which launched its Amazon Echo in the US as early as June 2015. Consumers have widely adopted the product in the country: the Jeff Bezos company is expected to have sold more than 10 million copies by the end of 2017 . This connected object is a natural extension of Amazon’s strategy. It allows consumers to order products very easily on the online sales site, pronouncing a few sentences, and thus generates an increase in the company’s turnover.

Less obvious for Google, whose business model is advertising-based, to monetize a connected speaker. Internet users accept that a portion of their screen is occupied by advertising, sold by the search engine to its customers. On the other hand, it is less obvious that they tolerate the advertising pollution of their domestic sound space.

Other companies also covet this new market. Apple plans to release its smart speaker, equipped with Siri’s home-based personal assistant, at its WWDC conference, which runs from June 5-9, 2017. Harman Kardon also launched a speaker connected in partnership with Microsoft . The device called Invoke is commanded vocally by the conversational AI of the computer giant Cortana.

Google plans to release in a few months a miniature version of its connected speaker Google Home, according to information from the specialized website Android Police . The group hopes to counter the Dot of Amazon.

Technical characteristics

Below is a list of Google Home features listed by the search engine on the dedicated site .

Google Home Technical Specifications

Diameter 9.64 cm
Height 14.28 cm
Weight of the device 477 g
Weight of adapter 130 g
Supported Audio Formats HE-AAC, LC-AAC, MP3, Vorbis, WAV, FLAC, Opus
Network Wireless
Loud speaker Passive dual recuperator and remote sensing of voice
ports DC power jack, micro-USB
BONE Android 4.2 and later, iOS 8.0 and later
Updates Remote automatic

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