Tag Archives: Google Home

Stick to your New Year’s resolutions with a little help from Google Home

In 2018, I’m committed to getting in better shape. As with all New Year’s resolutions, the hard part will be actually sticking to it. But this year, I’ll have help from my Google Assistant. No matter what your resolution is, here are a few ways your Google Home, Mini or Max can keep you on track:

  • Meet your fitness goals: Use your Google Home to play your workout playlist,, set alarms for working out, or cast workout videos from YouTube to your TV with Google Home and Chromecast. 
  • Get better sleep: Tune out noises from the apartment next door or help get your kids to bed by saying, “Hey Google, play white noise.” You can also set reminders to help you stick to a consistent bedtime. 
  • Explore new places: Try asking, “Hey Google, how much are flights to Rio de Janeiro in June?” or ask “Hey Google, what currency is used in Brazil?”
  • Find time to relax: Set an alarm for a 20-minute power nap or even do a short meditation by saying, “Hey Google, talk to Headspace.”
  • Stay in touch with family and friends: Never forget to call by setting a reminder, just say, “Hey Google, remind me to call Aunt Mary every Sunday.” You can even check in with loved ones by making hands-free calls while you’re multitasking. If you’re in the U.S. or Canada (911 calls not supported), just say “Hey Google, call Mom.”
  • Limit screen time: With more than 50 games and activities for families, the Assistant on Google Home can provide more fun for the family without TV, tablets or phones. And when it’s game time, you can broadcast the message to all Google Home devices in your house.
Thanks to my Assistant on Google Home, 2018 is the year I’m actually sticking to my resolution.


How Google Home and the Google Assistant helped you get more done in 2017

Both the Google Assistant and Google Home had a very big year in 2017, with new devices, new languages and new features. The Assistant is now available on more than 400 million devices, including speakers like Google Home, Android phones and tablets, iPhones, headphones, TVs, watches and more. We brought the Google Assistant to a dozen countries, from France to Japan, offering help in 8 languages around the globe.

With Google Home Mini and Google Home Max in addition to our original Google Home, we brought you even more ways to use the Assistant in your home. So it’s no wonder we’ve sold tens of millions of all our Google devices for the home over this last year. And in fact, we sold more than one Google Home device every second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October.

As we’ve added more features—like Voice Match,  Broadcast and Hands-Free Calling—the Google Assistant has become even more helpful. Your Assistant now gives you the power to voice control more than 1,500 compatible smart home devices from over 225 brands. With all these choices, you've connected millions of new smart home devices to Google Home every month. All told, Google Home usage increased 9X this holiday season over last year’s, as you controlled more smart devices, asked more questions, listened to more music, and tried out all the new things you can do with your Assistant on Google Home.

No matter where you are, the Google Assistant is here to help you make the most of 2018. And next week, we have even more things in store for the Assistant at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. If you’re at CES, stop by the Google Assistant Playground (Central Plaza-21) to check out some of our new integrations, devices, and the newest ways you can use your Assistant.

ces

Lights, camera … control your home with the Google Assistant

It’s usually pretty easy to flip a light switch. But when you’re out at night and realize your dog is sitting at home in the dark, or want to set mood lighting for movie night from the comfort of the couch, it’d be nice to have some help. The Assistant on your phone or smart speaker, like Google Home, can help you control your home—whether it’s turning on the lights or turning up the heat—with more than 1,000 compatible devices.

  • Let’s start with the basics: Lights. C by GE bulbs are now compatible with Google Assistant. So you can light up, turn off or dim the lights in your home from any room. Setup is easy so you can set the right mood in every room of your home.
  • Find the perfect temperature. Winter is just a day away and with the Google Assistant and ecobee or Nest, you can make sure your home is just the right toasty temperature. And, if you like to have a fan on year round, Bond can help you control your fan.
  • Keep your kitchen under control. With Smarter, you can control your kettle, while Whirlpool takes care of your microwaves and ovens, so you can make sure your drinks and food are served a temperature that’s just right.
  • Washers, dryers, refrigerators and more. LG can help you keep tabs on your home appliances, so you can see when the washer is done, or get an alert when your fridge door is left open. Plus you can connect with ranges, vacuums, air conditioners and more!
  • Keep an eye on your home. It’s easy to get a full screen view of what’s happening around the home with Google Home, Chromecast and your connected cameras, like Logitech Circle. Just ask your Assistant “Ok Google, show the nursery on my TV.”
home control

Pro-tip: Since it's the holiday season, don’t forget that you can use your smart plugs like Insignia, Caséta by Lutron and TP-Link, to help bring holiday cheer to your home! Just connect these smart plugs to your holiday lights and you can easily turn them on and off, so no more crawling around a tree or accidentally leaving your lights on during the day.

And these are just a few of the new integrations. There are lots more ways to control your compatible lights, thermostats, cameras and more, right with your Google Assistant. Check out the ever-growing list.

Home for the holidays: tips from Google Home and Refinery29

Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of wrapping last minute-gifts and packing suitcases for those who are heading home for the holidays. There’s no place quite like home during this joyous, hectic time of year, and our friends at Refinery29 are recording daily podcasts—available exclusively via the Assistant on Google Home—until Christmas to help you through the holiday festivities at home.


You’ll need a Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max to listen to the podcast version, but you can also check out written posts on Refinery29.com. Here are a few of our favorite topics so far:

  • Five pieces of advice for when a family dinner turns stressful
  • Everything's better with cookies—grab a family member and try out some of these cookie recipes.
  • While the cookies are baking, gather everyone for a holiday movie (but we can’t help you with the inevitable fight over the best spot on the couch).
  • If you’re on the hook for gifts for family members, here are a few tips to help you save some cash.

Just say, “Hey Google, play Home for the Holidays by Refinery29” to tune in.

Home for the holidays: tips from Google Home and Refinery29

Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of wrapping last minute-gifts and packing suitcases for those who are heading home for the holidays. There’s no place quite like home during this joyous, hectic time of year, and our friends at Refinery29 are recording daily podcasts—available exclusively via the Assistant on Google Home—until Christmas to help you through the holiday festivities at home.


You’ll need a Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max to listen to the podcast version, but you can also check out written posts on Refinery29.com. Here are a few of our favorite topics so far:

  • Five pieces of advice for when a family dinner turns stressful
  • Everything's better with cookies—grab a family member and try out some of these cookie recipes.
  • While the cookies are baking, gather everyone for a holiday movie (but we can’t help you with the inevitable fight over the best spot on the couch).
  • If you’re on the hook for gifts for family members, here are a few tips to help you save some cash.

Just say, “Hey Google, play Home for the Holidays by Refinery29” to tune in.

Home for the holidays: tips from Google Home and Refinery29

Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of wrapping last minute-gifts and packing suitcases for those who are heading home for the holidays. There’s no place quite like home during this joyous, hectic time of year, and our friends at Refinery29 are recording daily podcasts—available exclusively via the Assistant on Google Home—until Christmas to help you through the holiday festivities at home.


You’ll need a Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max to listen to the podcast version, but you can also check out written posts on Refinery29.com. Here are a few of our favorite topics so far:

  • Five pieces of advice for when a family dinner turns stressful
  • Everything's better with cookies—grab a family member and try out some of these cookie recipes.
  • While the cookies are baking, gather everyone for a holiday movie (but we can’t help you with the inevitable fight over the best spot on the couch).
  • If you’re on the hook for gifts for family members, here are a few tips to help you save some cash.

Just say, “Hey Google, play Home for the Holidays by Refinery29” to tune in.

Home for the holidays: tips from Google Home and Refinery29

Do you hear what I hear? It’s the sound of wrapping last minute-gifts and packing suitcases for those who are heading home for the holidays. There’s no place quite like home during this joyous, hectic time of year, and our friends at Refinery29 are recording daily podcasts—available exclusively via the Assistant on Google Home—until Christmas to help you through the holiday festivities at home.


You’ll need a Google Home, Google Home Mini or Google Home Max to listen to the podcast version, but you can also check out written posts on Refinery29.com. Here are a few of our favorite topics so far:

  • Five pieces of advice for when a family dinner turns stressful
  • Everything's better with cookies—grab a family member and try out some of these cookie recipes.
  • While the cookies are baking, gather everyone for a holiday movie (but we can’t help you with the inevitable fight over the best spot on the couch).
  • If you’re on the hook for gifts for family members, here are a few tips to help you save some cash.

Just say, “Hey Google, play Home for the Holidays by Refinery29” to tune in.

Brains, beauty and beats: Google Home Max is here

Just in time for the holidays, Google Home Max is now available online from Best Buy, the Google Store, Verizon and Walmart. Max brings together the convenience of controlling your music with your voice, with premium, high quality audio.


Google Home Max sounds pretty amazing right out of the box because it’s our first speaker with Smart Sound. Powered by Google’s artificial intelligence (AI), Smart Sound means Max can automatically adapt itself based on where it's placed in the room. There’s no extra setup or testing required. Even if you move Max from one spot to another, it’ll continuously tune itself to the room, so your music will sound one step closer to the studio.

Google Home Max | Introducing Smart Sound

We thought through each detail to make sure that every audio-obsessed music-junkie you know will love Google Home Max. Here’s why:


  1. Built for premium sound: Google Home Max has two 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers that’ll deliver deep, powerful bass. And Max is loud…really loud. It’s 20 times more powerful than Google Home, so it will fill any room in your home with amazing audio.

  2. More music: Max allows you to use your voice to control popular services like Spotify Free and Premium, YouTube Music, Google Play Music or Pandora, and with Chromecast built in, you can cast from your phone from many more services. For all of your other music and devices, Max has support for both Bluetooth® and aux-in. Plug in your record player and dust off your vinyl.

  3. Your very own DJ: With the Google Assistant built in, Max is always ready to start your favorite song, pause or turn it up, all with just your voice. Can’t quite remember that name of that famous holiday favorite? Your Assistant can find it with just a few small details. Just ask, “Hey Google, play that song that goes, ‘Chestnuts roasting...’” Or too early for Christmas tunes? Just ask, “Ok Google, play ‘Discover Weekly’ from Spotify’” (for some playlists, you might need a subscription).

  4. Designed for your home: Google Home Max was designed to be versatile and seamlessly blend in with your home’s decor. You can stand it up vertically or place it horizontally to fit in your space. It’s available in two colors, Chalk and Charcoal, and was made with beautiful yet durable fabric, developed from scratch to allow your music to be heard without distortion.

  5. Turn it up: With Max’s integrated far-field microphones and speech recognition technology, it can hear you from across the room, even when your music is blasting.

  6. Multi-room: Group all of your Google Home devices through the Google Home app and get your favorite holiday playlist going in every room. You can even wirelessly pair two Maxes together for stereo sound.

  7. Control your smart home: Make premium sound the center of your smart home. Google Home Max works with more than 150 home automation brands and more than 1,000 devices—including Nest, Belkin Wemo and Philips Hue. Plus, Google Home Max can complete two tasks at once. If you have a compatible smart plug, try saying, “Hey Google, turn on the Christmas tree and play Jingle Bells.”


Check out Google Home Max in person at select Verizon retail locations and at the Made by Google pop-up stores in New York City and Los Angeles. This holiday season, Google Home Max is the perfect gift for music lovers on your holiday list. Or maybe it’s the perfect gift from you, to you. We won’t judge.

Get local help with your Google Assistant

No matter what questions you’re asking—whether about local traffic or a local business—your Google Assistant should be able to help. And starting today, it’s getting better at helping you, if you’re looking for nearby services like an electrician, plumber, house cleaner and more.

To get started, say “Ok Google, find me a plumber” to your Assistant on your Android phone, iPhone or voice activated speaker, like Google Home. The Assistant will then ask you a few follow up questions and you’ll get a list of some local options nearby.

local

In the U.S., this feature will start rolling out over the coming week, so help is just around the corner. In many cities the Google Assistant will suggest providers that have been prescreened by Google and companies like HomeAdvisor and Porch so you can feel confident they're ready to take on the job. And if you’re in a city that doesn’t have any available guaranteed or screened providers, you’ll still get an answer from the Assistant with other nearby results.

So start planning your next big project—whether it's fixing your garage door or painting your garage door—all with your Assistant by your side.

The new maker toolkit: IoT, AI and Google Cloud Platform

Voice interaction is everywhere these days—via phones, TVs, laptops and smart home devices that use technology like the Google Assistant. And with the availability of maker-friendly offerings like Google AIY’s Voice Kit, the maker community has been getting in on the action and adding voice to their Internet of Things (IoT) projects.

As avid makers ourselves, we wrote an open-source, maker-friendly tutorial to show developers how to piggyback on a Google Assistant-enabled device (Google Home, Pixel, Voice Kit, etc.) and add voice to their own projects. We also created an example application to help you connect your project with GCP-hosted web and mobile applications, or tap into sophisticated AI frameworks that can provide more natural conversational flow.

Let’s take a look at what this tutorial, and our example application, can help you do.

Particle Photon: the brains of the operation

The Photon microcontroller from Particle is an easy-to-use IoT prototyping board that comes with onboard Wi-Fi and USB support, and is compatible with the popular Arduino ecosystem. It’s also a great choice for internet-enabled projects: every Photon gets its own webhook in Particle Cloud, and Particle provides a host of additional integration options with its web-based IDE, JavaScript SDK and command-line interface. Most importantly for the maker community, Particle Photons are super affordable, starting at just $19.

voice-kit-gcp-particle

Connecting the Google Assistant and Photon: Actions on Google and Dialogflow

The Google Assistant (via Google Home, Pixel, Voice Kit, etc.) responds to your voice input, and the Photon (through Particle Cloud) reacts to your application’s requests (in this case, turning an LED on and off). But how do you tie the two together? Let’s take a look at all the moving parts:


  • Actions on Google is the developer platform for the Google Assistant. With Actions on Google, developers build apps to help answer specific queries and connect users to products and services. Users interact with apps for the Assistant through a conversational, natural-sounding back-and-forth exchange, and your Action passes those user requests on to your app.

  • Dialogflow (formerly API.AI) lets you build even more engaging voice and text-based conversational interfaces powered by AI, and sends out request data via a webhook.

  • A server (or service) running Node.js handles the resulting user queries.


Along with some sample applications, our guide includes a Dialogflow agent, which lets you parse queries and route actions back to users (by voice and/or text) or to other applications. Dialogflow provides a variety of interface options, from an easy-to-use web-based GUI to a robust Node.js-powered SDK for interacting with both your queries and the outside world. In addition, its powerful machine learning tools add intelligence and natural language processing. Your applications can learn queries and intents over time, exposing even more powerful options for making and providing better results along the way. (The recently announced Dialogflow Enterprise Edition offers greater flexibility and support to meet the needs of large-scale businesses.)


Backend infrastructure: GCP

It’s a no-brainer to build your IoT apps on a Google Cloud Platform (GCP) backend, as you can use a single Google account to sign into your voice device, create Actions on Google apps and Dialogflow agents, and host the web services. To help get you up and running, we developed two sample web applications based on different GCP technologies that you can use as inspiration when creating a voice-powered IoT app:


  • Cloud Functions for Firebase. If your goal is quick deployment and iteration, Cloud Functions for Firebase is a simple, low-cost and powerful option—even if you don’t have much server-side development experience. It integrates quickly and easily with the other tools used here. Dialogflow, for example, now allows you to drop Cloud Functions for Firebase code directly into its graphical user interface.

  • App Engine. For those of you with more development experience and/or curiosity, App Engine is just as easy to deploy and scale, but includes more options for integrations with your other applications, additional programming language/framework choices, and a host of third-party add-ons. App Engine is a great choice if you already have a Node.js application to which you want to add voice actions, you want to tie into more of Google’s machine learning services, or you want to get deeper into device connection and management.


Next steps

As makers, we’ve only just scratched the surface of what we can do with these new tools like IoT, AI and cloud. Check out our full tutorials, and grab the code on Github. With these examples to build from, we hope we’ve made it easier for you to add voice powers to your maker project. For some extra inspiration, check out what other makers have built with AIY Voice Kit. And for even more ways to add machine learning to your maker project, check out the AIY Vision Kit, which just went on pre-sale today.

We can’t wait to see what you build!

Source: Google Cloud