Gadgets

This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you’ve always wanted

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David Cornish
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No, it's not the world's most advanced air freshener - this cylinder of shiny technology is the Google Home, a voice-activated "home product" that allows you and your family to... well, do a whole bunch of stuff.

Unveiled at the search company's developer I/O Keynote speech, here's what their rival to Amazon's Echo can actually do.

  • This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you've always wanted

    What is it?

    About the size of a pint glass, the Home is a digital assistant: it's got a microphone, speaker and mighty impressive brain. 

    Plug it up to your Wi-Fi connection and you'll be able to 'talk' to it, requesting the following functions. 

  • This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you've always wanted 1

    Control music playback

    The Home can act as the central hub of your Google Cast network: if you've got a Chromecast or Chromecast Audio, you'll be able to tell the Home to play specific playlists, albums or tracks (controlled by Google Play Music) on any device you've got connected. 

    Here's hoping we can put a block on it for any requests of "Home, play Nickleback". 

  • This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you've always wanted 2

    Search anything

    Given that the Home is made by Google, this is feature is something of a given: by hailing the Home with a cry of "OK Google", you can ask it just about anything you'd usually punch into your computer or phone.  

    Not only will Home understand your search questions, it'll also understand follow-up questions, and keep track of the context of your 'conversation'. Basically, if you ask it what time a certain film is on at your local cinema, you can then ask it to book tickets. Mental, eh?

  • This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you've always wanted 3

    Incorporate all of your Google apps

    Gmail, Google Calendar, YouTube, Keep, Docs - any of Google's services you know and love (and probably fear) will be able to talk to the Home unit.

    Want to check your inbox? Ask Home to read you any new emails. Can't remember when that important thing with those people is? Ask Home. Want to send that spreadsheet to your mate Chris? You get the idea. 

  • This new Google gadget is the personal robot slave you've always wanted 4

    Control your actual home

    We keep getting told that the 'Internet of Things' is going to take over our domestic world, but Home could actually make that happen. 

    Compatible devices (like the Nest thermostat) will be controllable via the Home unit, letting you turn off connected lights, change the temperature of your house, turn on a security camera in your garage - whatever else you've splashed cash on really. 

    There's no word on how much the Home will cost, nor when it will be available, but you can register your interest in getting one here

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David Cornish

Shortlist.com’s esteemed Tech Editor. David has a keen interest in video games, Star Wars and stuff that runs on batteries.

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