It’s been 16 months since the Google Home was first released in the United States and after a long anticipated wait, it’s here in Singapore. You might ask why this took so long, I mean it’s just a change of plugs right? Wrong. Google emphasises that the sets of the Google Home and Mini now launched in Singapore are uniquely Singaporean. End your commands with “lah”, “loh”, or “meh”, and it should understand you. Google’s efforts to localise search terms and the learning algorithm means that your thick kopitiam accent should be compatible with the Google Home.
You can find out more about that in the review we’ve done with the Google Home Mini here, but for now, let’s talk more about what Google Home does exactly.
A constantly running internal chip recognises “Okay, Google” or “Hey Google”, after which it uplinks to the cloud with a recording of your command that comes after the prompt. The Google Home’s abilities include: utilising the Google search engine, playing music through Spotify or other music apps (which includes the radio app, managing your everyday tasks and your smart home. Google Home can also stream the latest news to you from your preferred news sources, these include Channel NewsAsia, The Straits Times, MONEY FM 89.3, The Business Times, Business Insider Singapore, and more. The lengthy preparation time had also enabled Google Singapore to partner with a few local organisations: you could make queries to the Singapore Airlines virtual assistant, connect with Bus Uncle to find out when your bus to work departs.
Your personal assistant
Even though Google Home was first launched over a year ago, the Home uses machine learning to constantly updates itself to be relevant. Google Home is your very own assistant, it responds to your voice and knows your daily schedule and your favourite playlists. Being the first smart speaker to distinguish between different voices, the Home can tell who is speaking and tailor to their preferences too. Managing your day is never an easy task without an assistant, so allow Google Home to fill those shoes, with your permission and a simple “Okay Google, tell me about my day”, it read to you your travel itinerary, daily schedule and even the traffic conditions to work. Even if you’re heading out it isn’t a problem if you have Google Assistant on your phone – it picks up right where you left off, solidifying it as a true assistant, available at home and on the go.
What good is a speaker if it can’t play any music or videos, right? With Home you can play all your favourite songs on Spotify, however, choosing songs is limited to Spotify premium users only. If Spotify isn’t your thing you can choose between a different supported music provider or listen to the local radio! And of course for video, with Chromecast on your TV, you can watch the latest shows on Netflix and all your favourite content creators on YouTube.
Easy control of your smart home
No more fumbling and pulling out the couch cushions to find the remote anymore -the Home and Mini support popular home automation systems like Philips Hue and TP-Link so you can dim the lights, increase the temperature of the air conditioning and many more with just your voice.
Actions on Google
If all that still isn’t enough for you, with the words “Hey Google, talk to…” you can connect with the AIs of a range of different actions and services like Bus Uncle, National Library Board, OCBC Bank, StarHub, Singapore Airlines, and more.
This all sounds great so let’s talk about where can you get the local sets of the Home and Mini
From April 20th, Google Home and the Home Mini will be sold at Starhub, Challenger and Courts islandwide. If you prefer to buy it online you can get it at Hachi.tech or on the newly launched Google store Singapore ( store.google.com/sg ). Also, as an exclusive to the Google store, you can purchase the Mini in the cute coral colour and you’re entitled to a free Mini if you purchase the Google Pixel 2 XL. You can also get a great deal on the Home for $0 by signing up for StarHub’s new HomeHub Plus plan. Other than that you can save some cash with a discount if you remain or become a StarHub mobile, Pay TV or broadband subscriber. Last, if you’re an enterprise customer the Google Home will be available to you if you sign up for the 1Gbps or 500Mbps Dynamic Business Fibre Broadband starting 1 May 2018.