What can Google Home do? Google’s smart speaker explained

Move over Alexa - there's a new virtual assistant on the block.

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Google Home smart speaker

Once upon a time, Google was but an aspiring search engine – now on top of all their many, many web services, Google has also ventured into the world of smart speakers.

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So as well as powering your emails and giving you directions, Google’s devices can also help you plan every little detail of your day. Handy.

Tech such as Google Home always see great deals on Black Friday and Amazon Prime Day – so ahead of the big sales events, here’s just how much these clever little gizmos can do.

What is Google Home?

Google Home is, essentially, the internet giant’s version of a smart speaker.

Much like Amazon’s Echo line – yet with Google Assistant rather than Alexa – Google Home is a voice-controlled speaker that can play music, control your smart home and of course, search Google.

What does Google Home do?

Google Home

Google Home is essentially a speaker housing Google Assistant, Google’s voice-controlled virtual assistant. It can, therefore, do all the clever little things we’ve come to expect from smart speakers – it can play music, give a weather report, set reminders and alarms, make calls, or even tell you a joke – all from your voice alone.

If you have compatible smart home devices, you can then control your entire household with a single command. Whether it be changing the thermostat, turning switches off, or activating the security system, the amount of compatible smart devices is continuously growing.

Google Home is also getting even smarter with routines – for example, it will turn on your lights at your scheduled wake-up time, then read you the day’s calendar updates followed by your morning music playlist. A Google Home app is also available, allowing you to keep track of all your inter-connected smart devices.

Google Home has a few things up its sleeves that its competitors lack. Multiple Actions means Google Hub can handle more than one request at a time, whereas Continued Conversation means you can keep nattering away without having to say “Hey Google” every time. There’s also a Night Mode which turns down the volume during the early hours – which we’re sure many will be grateful for.

Can Google Home connect to Chromecast?

Google Chromecast Deals
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Yes! No more hunting for the remote – Google Home can easily connect to Chromecast, Google’s streaming stick, letting you watch the next big Netflix hit using nothing but your voice.

After linking the devices in the Google Home app (Settings > TVs and speakers > Add), you can launch shows and pause, rewind, and fast-forward your TV with your voice alone.

See our Google Chromecast deals ahead of Black Friday.

Is Google Home compatible with Alexa?

No – as a Google product, Google Home isn’t compatible with any of Amazon’s Alexa-powered devices. However, it is compatible with other products such as Chromecast and other Google-powered speakers, as well as several smart home products such as thermostats, light bulbs, and security systems.

What is the difference between Google Home, Google Nest Mini, and Google Nest Hub?

Google has an entire range of smart speakers, many of which confusingly go by the new brand name of Google Nest. However, they are all within the same Google Assistant family, with a few key features (and price!) separating them.

Google Home

Google Home smart speaker
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Google’s flagship smart speaker, the original design hasn’t changed much but the capabilities certainly have. Featuring all the smart tech explained above with a robust speaker delivering rich sound, you can never go too wrong with the classic.

Google Nest Mini

Google Home Mini

Part of the new Google Nest rebrand, the Google Nest Mini is still in the same family with all the smart snazzy features as the Google Home – just with a slightly smaller speaker. However, it still has twice the bass of the previous model, making it still a great choice for those on a budget.

Google Nest Hub

Google Nest Hub
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Part of the new range of smart screens, the Google Nest Hub has all the Google Assistant voice controls but comes with the ability to watch videos, bring up visual calendars, maps, and weather forecasts, too. It also acts as a fancy digital photo frame when not in use.

How much is Google Home?

Best Google Home Devices

The cost of the Google Home depends on which model you go for – the Mini is, of course, the cheapest, while the main Google Home itself is the pricier option.

Google Home usually goes for £89.

Google Nest Mini has a retail price of £49.

Google Nest Hub can be bought for £79.99.

However, if you’re after a bargain see our best Google Home deals.

Is there a monthly subscription fee to use Google Home?

In short: no! After your initial purchase, there are no additional fees just to use Google Home – it’s yours to endlessly bother with questions and commands.

However, if you wish to connect it with a music streaming service – such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Google Play Music – they will likely require a monthly subscription. However, you can Bluetooth music from your phone to Google Home free of charge.

Where to buy Google Home

Google Home is available at several tech retailers – who will often do deals even outside of Black Friday:

Google Home

Google Nest Mini

Google Nest Hub

Still deciding on Google Home vs Alexa? Check out Amazon’s range of smart products.

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For more tech news check out our Technology section.