Google released a new $99 smart speaker this year, and it's really pretty great. But Google's biggest speaker, the Home Max, is still its best. It's also its priciest, at an MSRP of $299. But for Black Friday, the Max's price tag has been slashed in half at multiple retailers: you can pick one up for just $149 starting today.
Google Assistant has been able to turn lights on and off for a while, but until now, it could only do so immediately. This meant that it didn't have the capability to run a timer and perform the action after the time had elapsed. Thankfully, the digital helper has gotten even smarter and can now operate your lights according to the time or duration you specify.
Last November, the Google Home app received a colorful card-based media control interface, which was quite an improvement over the previous one. But multi-room or multi-speaker playback is rather tricky to set up through this card-based interface, and Google seems to think the same. The company has introduced a much more intuitive UI for media controls in version 2.31 of the Home app that lets you cast to individual or multiple speakers and displays on the fly. And Assistant Routines can finally be triggered through the app again following the update.
Google Assistant-enabled smart speakers have been able to make calls for a while now in countries like Australia, Canada, and the US. But the functionality was limited to outbound calls placed from the speaker itself. Now it looks like inbound call support is coming to Google's smart home products, but only on a single carrier in Australia.
Google's first Assistant speaker, Google Home, turns four this year. The company says that device was designed primarily as a means to access the Google Assistant, and music playback was secondary. But the de facto second generation, the new Nest Audio, was purpose-built as a media device — and boy, does it ever show.
Smart lights are a key part of a connected home. From voice control, to custom scheduling, to turning your bedroom into a disco party, they make mundane tasks more fun. Right now, Best Buy is offering a two-pack of full color smart bulbs for just $19.99, a full $25 off — and you don't even need a hub to take advantage of their smart features.
The Google Home app is core to how you control and interact with dozens of different devices, so it's understandably one of Google's most feature-packed applications. It only got more interesting with version 2.28, as the new update hinted at the rebranding of Android TV, as well as adding some new features surrounding routines and home presence-sensing that were teased earlier this year. Now it seems like the new Home/Away routines powered by presence sensing are available to most users.
Bit by bit, Google is stripping Play Music (GPM) away from the service's loyal users, gnawing at every feature and integration, and switching it over to YouTube Music. The latest victim is the Assistant integration which lets you play your music on Home, Nest, and third-party speakers and displays.
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.