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The original Google Home speaker was released almost four years ago, and quite a lot has changed since then. Google has released several more smart speakers, like the Nest Mini and Home Max, and the third-party ecosystem of Google Assistant speakers has also taken off.
In all that time, the speaker that started it all hasn't received any hardware revisions. Sure, its software has been constantly improving, but it still sounds the same and has the same air freshener design. It's high time Google remodeled the Home (pun intended), and we've put together a few improvements that we'd love to see.
There's still a little bit of magic every time you say "OK Google" and all your smart speakers, displays, and Android handsets line up to respond with a cacophony of lights and buzzes. But while that makes for a fun little display, sometimes we wish that all these smart devices weren't so sensitive, and that things like Google Home were better about knowing when you were talking to them in particular. Thankfully, it looks like a new "Hey Google" sensitivity setting is about to arrive, letting users control how responsive they want their devices to be.
Google Home speakers have become common household items over the last few years, and if you're looking to replace your old one, upgrade from a Mini, or add another to a new room, this is your week: almost every retailer has them on sale for just $30, a full $70 off their regular price.
One of the longstanding demands of Google Home users, myself included, has been the ability to control Assistant’s volume independently of the music’s. A new setting has started appearing for iOS users that lets you tweak the volume of your Assistant's voice — but it doesn't really work yet.
These days, you can control most of your smart home using only your voice — Google Assistant lets you adjust your bed, mow the lawn, open your closets,start your Xbox, control your TV, and so much more. Routers and networks are the latest new addition to the Assistant's library of natively supported actions, allowing for things like reboots, software updates, and parental controls on third-party networking devices.
It has been nearly four years since the Google Home speaker was first released, but since all of its functionality lives in the cloud, it still works just as well now as it did in 2016 (but with many, many more features). Now you can get the air freshener-style speaker for just $49.00, a discount of $51 from the usual price.
Google Home received an overhaul last year that reduced its number of bottom tabs from four to two — only home control and a feed remain. The latter hasn't been populated by too much content, but a recent update to version 2.19 changes that, at least if you own Nest security devices. The feed now shows you Nest Cam events in the form of highlights and makes the whole history available for viewing. The update also gives smart outlets icons that better depict which devices they're controlling.
4K TVs have almost completed their takeover to become the de facto standard resolution being sold, and you don't have to pay a king's ransom for them anymore. If you want to a more high-end experience though, right now is the time to bite — many's of Sony's premium 4K sets are on sale right now for up to $500 off.
Google is putting on a sale to move units of its original smart speaker, the Google Home, out from stores and into your residence. If you want or need one for any reason, you can get one from anywhere (and we mean anywhere) for half-off.
Happen to have a bit more time and attention to devote to a hobby? Why not listen to audiobooks on your capable Google Assistant speaker or display? Google has made it easier for its smart device owners to sample and buy titles without having to use your phone or computer.