Stop me if you think you've heard this one before. You set up a cooking timer on your Nest speaker or display in the kitchen, then go chill in the living room or the bedroom. When the timer rings, it just doesn't stop until you move your ass over to the kitchen and talk to that particular speaker, because yelling "stop" to the other Assistant units littered around your house doesn't do anything. We've complained about this for years, but the problem should finally be far behind us as Google is rolling out timer and alarm control across the entire house.
The Google (Nest?) Home Max is Google's largest smart speaker, giving you the same functionality as any other Assistant speaker matched with fantastic sound quality. It was first priced at $400, but more recently has gone for $300, and now you can buy one for just $199.
Google has officially introduced a neat nagging new feature for its Assistant speakers and smart displays called Family Bell, starting to roll out today. If you're the kind of person who often forgets to eat or sleep on time, who procrastinates a lot, works for hours and forgets to stretch their legs, or otherwise misses the regular time cues of a normal day, you'll be able to rely on Assistant to remind you of all of them. Consider it a virtual parent or nanny living inside your speakers and always looking out for your best interest.
Google Assistant speakers can be great tools, giving you an easy entry into voice-controlled home automation, but they can also feel like spies giving Google intimate insights into your life and daily routines. If you don't want to go without the convenience an Assistant speaker offers, there are at least some things you can do to make it less invasive.
This story was originally published and last updated .
While smart speakers have rapidly become ubiquitous in many of our homes, there are practical things about them—like initiating a factory reset when you sell them—that just aren't intuitive without a bit of Googling. And since the Assistant (fortunately) won't abide your voice request to initiate one, that means this is one smart speaker and display feature that requires going hands-on. Fortunately, it's pretty easy in most cases for devices like Google Home, Nest Home, and Nest Hub.
It's prudent to buy Google products at certain times of the year since they are often discounted on special occasions. The next sale season is Easter, and Google UK has a range of deals to entice you. Not only can you get money off some of its newest products like Pixel 4 and Nest Mini, but a few older devices are also down in price.
For most of us, Google Homes are Assistant and cast speakers first: We either ask for music or audio to be played or we use them like a Chromecast target from our phones. But that's discounting two other ways they can be used: as Bluetooth speakers and as source to stream to other Bluetooth speakers. For more than a year now, that functionality has been broken and Google Homes haven't been able to maintain a Bluetooth link without disconnecting, but the Mountain View giant has finally acknowledged the issue.
The Google Home Max is kind of a ridiculous thing: it's huge, and even one can get plenty loud enough to incite a noise complaint. Even more ridiculous (and more likely to rile up your neighbors) is that the speakers are designed to work in pairs. If that sounds like something you'd be into, you're in luck: for Black Friday, retailer Tink is selling a two-pack for just $339, a full $259 under retail.
The Google Home Max is getting a little long in the tooth as it's nearing its second birthday, but it's still the best-sounding smart speaker Google offers. It has always been on the more expensive side, and even though it saw a permanent price cut to $300 last year, it has never been as cheap as it is this Black Friday. You can save $100 and get one for only $200 right from Google or third-party resellers like Best Buy, B&H Photo, and Target.