In the hardware event held in San Francisco on 4th October 2017, Google introduced two new members of Home Family. They are the Google Home Mini and Max, for integrating your home and making life smarter. For starters, these are a brand of smart speakers by Google. Let’s dive into the features and pricing of these new hardware additions.
Google’s vision is to build simple, helpful solutions that work in the background, helping you when you need it and staying out of the way when you don’t. Google Home is designed to save space and make your home warm and appealing. Your entire household can interact with it intuitively, asking Google assistant for help and manage your smart devices. It also has the voice match feature which identifies the user and acts accordingly. Even kids can play and learn with it, for which Google has researched and added 50 new experiences. You can even personalize their experience with a separate Google account that can be created and managed from Family Link app.
Google Home Mini
Isabelle Olsson, Google designer introduced the cute little gadget, the Mini, which is the smaller variant of Google Home. It is pebble shaped with smaller form factor measuring diameter 98mm and height 42mm and weighing just 173g. Its entire enclosure is made of fabric, which is soft, durable and transparent enough to let through light and sound. There are four LED lights under the enclosure which lets you know that your Assistant is listening or active. You can also tap or press on the fabric to control functions like play, pause, volume, mic, wake Assistant etc.
The circular shape with 40mm drive helps to project 360º sound, which is crisp and can also be paired with a bigger speaker with Chromecast support. Its mics are equipped with far-field voice recognition technology which can detect the wake word even in noisy scenarios. It is also equipped with WiFi and bluetooth for connectivity and streaming. The mini is available in 3 colour choices – coral, chalk and charcoal. It supports operating systems Android 4.2 onwards and iOS 9.1 onwards. Home Mini can also handle the following audio formats – HE-AAC, LC-AAC+, MP3, Vorbis, WAV (LPCM), FLAC and is powered by a 5V, 1.8A adaptor via micro USB.
Now comes the interesting part, this wonderful gadget will cost you just $49. The Mini is now available for pre-order online and in stores starting October 19th from major retailers. The good news is, Mini will be coming to all 7 Google Home countries.
Google Home Max
Rishi Chandra, VP, Product Management, unveiled the biggest and best sounding Google Home gadget, the Max. It is a big boy with improved volume levels, measuring 336.6 x 190.0 x 154.4 mm and weighing 5300g. Within Max are two 114 mm high-excursion (+/- 11 mm) dual-voice-coil woofers along with two 18mm tweeters. These make Max 20 times powerful than the previous Google Home and will fill any room in your house with amazing audio.
The Max is also equipped with Assistant features, but it has another intelligent feature, the smart sound. This experience is powered by Google AI, which can tune the output to match with the acoustic conditions. For example, if we move around the speaker in our room from time to time, the smart sound adapts by machine learning. It can also adjust the volume levels in a noisy environment. Even when the speakers are blasting music, the microphone placement makes Max/Assistant hear things loud and clear. With an added feature from Max, the Assistant can play personalized tracks channels and more. It can be placed vertically or horizontally, and comes with a base which magnetically pops into the place where you set it.
For all this smart sound processing, the Max is powered by a 1.5GHz 64-bit quad-core ARM Cortex A53 processor. Ambient adjustment is done with the help of light sensors, orientation sensors and mic. For power supply and connectivity Max has an AC port, USB-C (service), a 3.5mm port, bluetooth and WiFi.
Google Home Max will be available in the US starting December for $399 and will come to more countries early next year. It comes in two colours, chalk and charcoal. In addition, for a quality experience, Google is giving a free 12-month subscription to YouTube Red including YouTube music ad-free.
Setting up the Mini and Max is so simple. All you need to do is connect the power, download and run the Google Home app. Now start saying Hey Google so and so, to minimize your effort and maximize your experience. A competitor to the Google Home products is the Amazon Echo, which is currently available in India via Amazon. While each has its own advantages, Google might have a leading edge. Finally, it’s up to you to choose the right one which suits your needs. Hope you enjoyed the write-up, Peace!