Google's first-party hardware options may be set to ramp up this year according to a recent report. Based on the details, we might see new product lines as well as refreshes of existing ones. In addition to the already known, upcoming, cheaper Pixel "Lite," Nikkei is reporting that Google plans to release its own wearables (plural), a Google Home refresh, and security cameras this year. Read More
The original Google Home speaker launched all the way back in late 2016. A lot has changed since then — Assistant has become more powerful and multi-lingual, the Home Mini has been a wild success, the Home Max became a great option for audiophiles, and dozens of third-party Assistant speakers have hit the market. Read More
Most smart home products use one of four connectivity options — WiFi, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or Bluetooth Low Energy. Bluetooth products are a little less popular, because they can only be controlled locally via a smartphone, or remotely if the company makes its own Bluetooth to WiFi hub. General Electric's C-Life A19 bulbs use Bluetooth too, but they're special because they're one of the few products that can use a Google Home speaker as their hub.
The C-Life Smart Bulb has no separate account to manage, no additional hubs to plug into your router, and no Wi-Fi connections to deal with. All you need is a Google Home, the Home app, and you're set. Read More
In the Samsung-owned Harman audio empire, consisting of JBL, AKG, and others, Harman Kardon is the original brand and it still has a fairly decent reputation for making products with relative audiophile appeal. The group is no stranger to Google Assistant-equipped devices, but the Citation/Enchant range of speakers, subs, towers, and soundbars really caught our attention when it was announced last summer. This could be the versatile Sonos competitor we've been waiting for.
The range went on sale last month, and I've been able to test the cheapest speaker in the lineup, the Citation One. At $200, it's competing with the Sonos One (I wonder where it got the name from), as well as other Assistant speakers from Sony, LG, JBL, and many more. Read More
During CES last month, Google announced its Home speakers and smart displays with Assistant would be capable of becoming virtual interpreters and translate live conversations between people speaking in different languages. The feature seems to be rolling out to the masses as an official support page has been set up, and several devices are now capable of translating discussions. Read More
This past holiday season, Google tapped into some serious 90s-kid nostalgia by delivering a Google Assistant ad featuring none other than Macaulay Culkin as Home Alone's Kevin McAllister. While we got to see Kevin all grown up and spending the night by himself, the two Sticky Bandits were absent. Now a fresh video featuring Joe Pesci reminds us of why Google left him out in the first place. Read More
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. Read More
Google and Amazon are both constantly improving the capabilities of their voice AIs, but there are some issues that tech giants have little incentive to fix. For instance, from a branding standpoint it makes no sense to let people change their assistant hotword from "Okay Google" or "Alexa" to anything else - even if that's what users want (and it definitely, definitely is). It's this consumer desire, along with the issue of user privacy, that prompted designers Bjørn Karmann and Tore Knudsen to create a Google Home/Amazon Echo hack called Project Alias. Read More
Google Assistant is the belle of the ball at CES 2019, with hardware partnerships popping up left, right, and center. What better time, then, for Google to announce a slew of shiny new features for the increasingly (artificially) intelligent helper? Among the updates comes flight check-ins, hotel booking, a new language interpreter mode, and the extension of Assistant on the lockscreen to all Android phones. Read More
Google’s hardware division is a rare success story inside a remarkably successful company - and one that has taken the better part of a decade to meet that definition. Its ambitions in the physical product space have grown from a geeky internet sideshow into a full-scale retail assault, and 2018 saw that ascendance continue. For all the naysayers it’s had - and there have been many - Google continues to position its hardware portfolio exactly where it needs to be: in stores. Chromecasts and Home Minis litter hundreds of Walmarts, Targets, and Best Buys, and Pixel smartphones are in Verizon locations across the country. Read More