An Introduction to Google Home

Smart Home devices from different manufacturers will have different control Apps to manage them.

Fortunately most provide integration with Google Home so that you can manage them Using either the Google Home App or by voice commands using Google Assistant.



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Using Google Home to control a smart home has become very popular option.

The term Google Home is a bit of a  confusing term as it is given to the Google home speaker and also used as an umbrella term for all Google smart home devices and services.

When talking about Google Home we can divide it into three main components.

  • The Google Home App
  • The Google Home speaker and related devices
  • Google Assistant.

Google Home App

google-home-appThis is an App that you install on your mobile phone or tablet that lets you control compatible smart home products e.g. lights.

It is also used to set up Google products like the Google Home speakers.

Google Home Speaker and Related Devices

A range of devices similar to the Amazon echo range with the Google Home speaker being the original product.

Popular are the Google Home, home mini and home hub (shown below).
google home-search

They are used to issue voice commands and interact with Google Assistant instead of having to use a mobile phone.

The following is a  list of the current Google Home product range:

  • Google Home -speaker and microphone
  • Google home Mini -small speaker and microphone
  • Google Home Hub -Display with integrated speaker and microphone
  • Google nest Hub – Updated Display with integrated speaker and microphone
  • Google nest hub max -Larger Display with integrated speaker and microphone

The product evolution is for the home hub is – Google home hub ->Google nest hub ->Google nest hub max

See nest hub max vs nest hub

Google Assistant

This was previously called Google now.

Google Assistant is a virtual assistant software application developed by Google that is primarily available on mobile and home automation devices. –Wiki

When using voice commands either with a mobile phone or the Google Home speaker or other devices you are using Google Assistant.

However Google assistant is not required to turn on lights etc as this can be done using the Google App on a mobile phone or tablet.

How Voice Commands Work

The basic process is

  1. Voice commands are sent to the Google Assistant in the cloud.
  2. Google Assistant converts the speech to text and carries out the command.
  3. If the command is for a third party smart device then the command is passed to the third party control application.
  4. If the command is for a Google service e.g. maps,search etc then it is passed to Google online services.

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Google Home App vs Google Assistant

Google HomeApp is a mobile app for controlling smart home devices that work with Google Assistant.

It works a lot like the Apple Home app or the Amazon Alexa app.

Google Assistant is voice control software like Amazon Alexa and Siri.

Getting started with Google Home

Before you can use Google to control your smart home your will need to do some setup. The following is what you need to run Google Home

  1. A speaker or display. (Google Home, home mini,nest hub)
  2. Latest version of the Google Home app.
  3. A Google Account.
  4. A mobile phone or tablet.
  5. An Internet connection and secure wireless network.

Video how to setup Google Home

What can Google Home do?

If you are wondering it all this is worth it then take a look at this video  showing what you can do with Google home mini which is the entry product.

 

Common Questions and Answers

Q- Is Google Home Speaker always listening?

A –Yes but you can switch it off but then it doesn’t work

Q- What does works with Google Home mean?

A- It means that you can control the device using Google home App and also using voice commands from Google home speakers and Google assistant on your mobile/tablet.

Q- Do I need a Google speaker to control my smart home devices using voice commands?

A- No this can be done using voice commands on a tablet or mobile phone.

Q -Can you activate Google Assistant without saying Hey Google.

A- Yes Just  press the microphone icon found at the bottom right of your home screen. Once you tap that, your phone will start listening. There is also a button on the home speaker.

Q- Can use Google Home without a phone?

A- Yes – Once its speaker is configured, the device along with its mini variant will respond to voice commands without any help from your phone.

Q- Do you have a list of common Google assistant commands?

A- Yes –101 Google assistant commands

Summary

Google Home lets you manage smart home devices from different manufactures using voice control or your smart phone.

It also gives you access to Google services like maps and search.

Related Tutorials and Resources

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