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.
Millions of homes now contain a smart assistant speaker of some variety and sales of IoT products continue to grow as the market matures and prices come down across the sector. With so many options available, it's hard to know what to buy, and that's where we come in — this is a selection of our favorite smart home gadgets. Whether you want to just dip your toes in the water with a cheap Google Nest Mini or dive into the deep end with smart lights, cameras, thermostats, doorbells, and so on — we’ve got you covered.
If you thought the Cyber savings were over, think again. Walmart's Cyber Week is in full swing, and with it comes plenty of incredible deals. One of the best we've seen so far is this Google Home Max and Home Mini bundle that can be yours for only $188 ($260 off).
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.
Some of Google Home's best features are the ones that are just for fun, like playing the "I'm feeling lucky" game show, listening to different animal sounds, and asking for interesting facts. Google is expanding on that repertoire with storytelling sound effects for certain Disney stories. Parents in the US can activate the new feature by saying "Hey Google, let's read along with Disney." Their Home device will then listen along and play appropriate sound effects and music for the chosen story, which can be selected from a library of 11, with more to come.
Just after introducing new video filters and effects to Duo yesterday, Google has added a widely-requested audio feature today: You can now connect Duo to your display-less Google Home devices and enjoy high-quality audio calls to other people using the platform. You can also finally call specific speakers in your home using the service.
When the big Nest rebranding hit Google, products like the Home Hub saw their names changed to the Google Nest Hub, confusingly differentiating them as separate from the "Home" series smart speakers that they have more in common with than any "Nest" branded hardware. Initially, it seemed like all of Google's "Home" branded stuff would be changed to "Google Nest," but Google later confirmed to us that its speakers would not follow this change. Apparently, no one told the @madebygoogle Twitter account that.
One of the constants in consumer societies is deals. As long as companies exist and make products, they'll try to discount them to move some inventory and gain market share. That's even more true when it comes to the smart home, where products are often considered novelties but can also provide a strong tie-in to an ecosystem. Like Amazon, Google wants you to grab its own smart speakers and connected devices, so it keeps discounting them to lure more of us in. I have enough smart devices in my home, but if you're still looking to beef up your own setup, there are some Google deals to take advantage of now.