Google smart home: what you need to know about setting up the Google Assistant system | Jobs Reply

Google Assistant has been with us since 2016, when it debuted on the first Pixel phone, and is now able to communicate with and control thousands of compatible devices. Google Home is the second most popular smart home system: as of summer 2021 it was estimated that eight million American homes had multiple Google Home devices, compared to 20 million for Amazon. Here’s our guide to setting up a Google smart home.

Born to be wide

Google Assistant is the app and virtual personal assistant for Google Home and Nest, the smart home system that Google bought in 2019. It’s in all the newest Android phones as well as many older ones, and it’s it also appears on Google devices including the Chromecast and Pixelbook Go, plus many third-party devices. The product range covers everything from phones to locks, thermostats and plugs, and a wide selection of devices means prices are very competitive, especially compared to HomeKit.

While the real home of Google Assistant is on Android, there is also an iPhone/iPad app. You can’t officially replace it on Siri but there is a workaround, by creating a shortcut in the iPhone Shortcuts app.

However, to get the best Google Home experience, you should use an Android device, a Google-compatible smart speaker or a dedicated Google Home hub such as the Nest Hub (see right). These hubs can also present a range of information and play media, as do the Echo Shows.

Watch your data, alligator

Google is in the data business and there were concerns about its privacy protection. It says it doesn’t sell your data for ads, though it does use it to customize your Google services and the Google-powered ads you see. You can access and delete any recorded conversations via My Activity, or by saying “Ok Google, delete this week’s activity”.

Recommend Google Nest

The second-gen Nest Hub is the kind of device that’s well-suited for the kitchen, or other spaces where you might want to watch videos or check information without turning on your smart TV or computer.

With a 7in touchscreen, three microphones and a full-range speaker, the latest Nest Hub is an attractive and efficient video caller, music speaker and information station where you can watch YouTube videos, check the weather and stay on top of your schedule . It’s a gadget that works smart as well as looking nice, with first-class voice recognition and the ability to control all kinds of smart devices via voice commands or the touch screen.

This is an excellent all-round device if you want more than just something that plays music: the reasonable
low sound output won’t scare the neighbors but it’s great for news and podcasts, and it delivers more bass than the previous model.

SAY stuff A handsome and affordable infotainment station, video player and smart speaker, 5/5

Google Nest Mini

Google’s most affordable smart speaker is sometimes discounted to around £30, so it’s a good idea to keep your eye out for deals. But even at full price you get a lot of gear for not much money. This is a big improvement on the original model, with 40% more bass power, improved voice recognition and support for all the main apps. It can be popped on a desk or wall.

SAY stuff Cheap and smart, but watch out for discounts, 4/5

Google Nest Hub Max

If you want to take your Google Nest Hub to the max, it does just that with a 3in woofer around the back and a pair of stereo speakers for much better sound, a 10in touchscreen and built-in Chromecast. It’s especially good for video conferencing and the larger display and improved audio performance make it even better for watching YouTube or streaming Netflix.

SAY stuff Recommend a pumped up Nest with a price to match, 4/5

Google Nest audio

While the current Nest Mini is better than its predecessor, if sound quality is important to you, Nest Audio is the Google Assistant device you need. It’s much better than the Mini, although at this price don’t expect the kind of audio experience you get from Sonos: it gets a bit tighter at higher volumes and sounds best as part of a pair stereo. It works with the main streaming music and podcast services.

SAY stuff More music selection than the Nest Mini, 4/5

Why Google?

Huge hardware support

Google’s range of compatible devices is second only to that of Alexa. That means lots of security cameras, thermostats and all kinds of other technology, controllable from your phone, Google hub or smart speaker. The range includes high-end Nest home protection products.

Excellent voice search

Google knows a thing or two about search and its voice search is the best in the business: voice recognition, with the help of many Android phone users, is fast and accurate, and there’s no gambling involved with it or not- listening to plagues Siri and Alexa.

Excellent app integration

Because Google Assistant knows you through the other Google services you use, it can do all kinds of useful things—like check-in for flights or book hotel rooms using just your voice. You can also use Interpreter Mode
to get real-time translations.

Smart TV integration

Google has partnered with several TV firms, notably Sony, LG and Panasonic, to include Google Assistant on their smart TVs. This means you can operate your TV and other devices with the remote control’s microphone or a compatible smart speaker.

Now add these…

Nest Learning Thermostat

Now in its third generation, some of the same minds that created the iPod developed the Nest Learning Thermostat – and like the iPod, it brought great simplicity and great design to some pretty complex technology. Although the Nest is happy as a standalone device, it is part of a family that also includes smoke/CO2 detector plus video doorbells and security cameras.

Unlike traditional thermostats, this one has built-in brains. This enables it to track arrivals and progress to learn your routine, so for example it knows when you go out or when you go to bed and can start the warm up to turn off. at those times. It can also tell when your house is empty and turn off the heat there.
That will only become more important as energy prices continue to rise, and we know from our own bills that a smart thermostat can save you a lot of money by reducing waste.

The Nest stat isn’t designed for DIY installation but professional installation isn’t particularly time-consuming or expensive, and the Nest itself looks a lot better than any other thermostat we’ve seen; it has a great interface, smooth operation and Google Assistant voice control as well. It can take care of your hot water as well as heating (depending on the system you have in your home), and the companion app lets you see your heating history to identify where you want to use less energy use.

Sliding around the outside of the Nest will increase or decrease the temperature; if you click, it will change what is on the screen. It’s a simple but great ergonomic design. Your Nest’s temperature display will be orange when it’s heating the room, and will turn black or white depending on the model when it’s off or in Eco mode.

The Nest Leaf isn’t just a cute little image: it’s there to show you that you’re ready for an energy-efficient temperature instead of turning your room into an unnecessary sauna.

Arlo Pro 4

Arlo makes some of the best security cameras, and this high-end model has color night vision, 2K video (twice the resolution of most competitors), two-way audio and a built-in siren. It connects directly to your Wi-Fi network and then you can control it not only with Google but also through other platforms.

Yale Linus Smart Lock

Yale has made several smart locks, and this is the latest model: it allows you to create and share virtual keys with others, useful for shared spaces and allows Airbnb. Instead of fiddling with keys you can unlock the door simply by saying “OK Google, unlock my door” and telling it your unique PIN.

Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Slim Plug

Smart plugs are great things, enabling you to add voice control and automation to your existing devices… and for things like table lamps, they’re more affordable than smart bulbs. This one adds Google Assistant to anything you plug into it – and won’t block nearby sockets.

Google Chromecast

The latest Chromecast dongle makes it easy to stream music, movies and shows to your TV from your phone, and its remote lets you use voice commands to browse YouTube, get news updates and play specific shows or songs . You can also control it with other Google Home and Android devices.

Google and your data

Let’s be honest, the advertising business is Google’s core business. So if you fill your house with Google Home devices, will they be sending stacks of data to people trying to sell you stuff?

Google says ‘no’, and its privacy policy – ​​which you can read online at – goes into great detail about what data it collects and what it does with it. For example, its devices might know when you cough (that’s a real feature) but Google doesn’t sell that data to your local pharmacy so they can try to convince you to buy some Benylin.

All shook app

It is important to note that these privacy policies only apply to Google: third parties may have their own rules. That’s why it makes sense, if you’re using any non-Google gadgets in your smart home, to go into the Google Assistant settings and check which third-party apps are connected to your Google Home products. You can then disconnect any you don’t want to use.

Jargon buster

Smart thermostat

Traditional thermostats aren’t very smart, but smart ones can detect whether you’re home or away and adjust the heating accordingly. Some of them can even learn your habits.

A smart speaker

A smart speaker such as the Google Nest Mini enables you to play music, get the weather forecast or control other devices using voice commands.

Voice recognition

Smart software can listen to your voice and turn it into something an electronic device can understand, so your phone or smart speaker doesn’t ignore your “OK Google”.

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