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Google Home Max

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Google Home can now add sound effects and music to story time with certain Disney children's books

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.

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[Deal Alert] Google Home Max down to $349 ($50 off) at Google Store, Best Buy, Target, and more

The Google Home Max was announced last October and went on sale in December, just in time for last year's holiday season. Since then, the pricey smart speaker has mostly kept steady at its $399 launch price, but now a number of retailers are knocking $50 off that number, bringing it down about 12% to $349. Supplies are scarce at some of these places, and this price may not be around for too long.

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Google Home Max available in UK, France, and Germany starting today

This might come as a surprise to some of you, but Google's Home products aren't available in very many countries. In fact, availability is actually fairly restricted, especially on the Home Max. Until May, the biggest Home speaker was only available in the US, though Canada and Australia have since joined the list. Now, the Home Max is arriving in the UK, France, and Germany.

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Google Home now understands room context, only adjusts nearby lights

Controlling smart home devices by voice can feel almost like magic. If you've got a Google Home and compatible connected lights, all you have to do is ask, and bam, illumination. Up until recently, any command involving smart lights translated to "do this to every light in the house;" not particularly intuitive. But lately, such commands have started applying to only the lights in the room you're currently in.

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Google Home Max goes on sale in Australia for $549 AUD on August 9

Google Home Max, the biggest, loudest speaker you can get from Google, launched late last year. The good ol' U-S-of-A remained the only place you could get one until this May, when it became available in Canada. This month, the Max will be available in a third country (and a second continent!): it goes on sale in Australia on August 9.

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Google Home can now read your imported and iCal calendars

Multiple calendar support on Google Home has been available since last November, but the feature has been very limited. You couldn't choose your birthday or holiday calendars, ones created from a G Suite account, or imported calendars from URLs/iCal. That last part has recently changed, even though the support page hasn't caught up to it yet.

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[Deal Alert] Google Store running sale including Home Mini for $34 ($15 off), Clips for $169 ($80 off), and various other discounts

The Google Store just had a nearly site-wide sale last month, but Google has decided it's already time for another one. The deals are a bit different this time around, though, with highlights including the Home Mini for just $34 ($15 off), the Clips camera for $169 ($80 off), the Pixel 2 XL for $749 ($100 off), and several other Home and Chromecast deals.

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[Update: Fix rolling out] Having Google Home or Chromecast problems? Widespread outages reported, still ongoing for some

Last night many people, including some of us here at Android Police, started running into problems with their Google Home and Chromecast devices. Content could not be cast to either, and many Google Homes and other Assistant-powered hardware were unable to accept commands. For some, the issue may be ongoing. 

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Continued Conversation for Google Assistant starts rolling out today

Google spent a lot of time at I/O last month talking about Google Assistant. There was that wild Duplex demo, "pretty please" mode for kids, and Continued Conversations. The latter feature saves you from saying the trigger phrase for every single command, and it's starting to roll out today. However, not everyone will have access just yet.

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Google Home adds All 4 as 2nd UK video streaming service

Google Home users in the United Kingdom are now able to access a second video streaming service by way of Google Home: Channel 4's All 4. This is the second video-on-demand service compatible with Google Home in the UK, after Netflix.

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