When Google Home finally launched in the UK, I was so excited to order it!
Fast forward a month, and I’m less impressed.
Because for a smart speaker, it’s not as smart as it’s US cousin.
Before I get into my Google Home UK review, let’s recap the features Google has launched so far.
The story so far: Google Home UK vs US.
- Google launches Home in the UK on April 6 2017 for £129
- A few days after launch, Google replaces the shopping list feature to use a service and app that’s exclusive to the US.
- Multi-user support launches – but not in the UK.
- Price checking feature launches – but not in the UK.
- Recipe guides are launched – but not in the UK.
- Ambient sounds and playlists are launched – but not in the UK.
The UK version of Google Home seems MUCH more limited than what the US get across the pond.
The only reason I can think of for this is that they’re using the US as a testing bed for some of their bigger features.
But considering the US have had Google Home for five months already, I really would hope these features would be live for those of us in the UK by now!
Anyway, here’s my brief Google Home UK review!
Google Home UK Review: One Month In
1. Hey Google!
The way to activate Home’s listening ability is to say either “OK Google” or “Hey Google”.
Neither of these especially roll of the tongue and I’d love to have the ability to choose another hotword that was a little less clumsy.
2. Play on Living Room
I often find myself forgetting to specify which device I would like my Home to play media on.
Hey Google! Play Jessica Jones on Living Room.
Isn’t hard but when I only every stream video on my Living Room chromecast, it would be great for Google Home to remember this is my preferred choice!
3. Sometimes it forgets how to ‘Google’
If I ask a question to Google Home, at the very least, I’d expect it do a Google search!
My friends came around the other day and someone asked “What’s the square root of two million?”
I sat patiently, waiting for my £129 speaker to answer the question perfectly. Only to hear it say, “Sorry, I can’t do that just yet.”
I then pulled out my Pixel and asked Google Assistant the same thing to be greeted by a clear, succinct answer… WTF? Why the difference?
4. Hey Google, how about some variety?
On Alexa or Siri saying “Shuffle, <ARTIST NAME>” will then lead to some songs by the artist being played in a shuffled order.
This isn’t the case on Google Home, even if you say the same command it will start with the playlist unshuffled. You then have to give a second command to shuffle the playlist.
5. Struggles with playing music
When I received a text from my friend saying I needed to listen to 8 by Incubus, I quickly told Home, “Hey Google, play the album eight by Incubus”.
“Sorry, I looked for that but it either isn’t available or can’t be played at the moment.”
I then cast the album from my Pixel to Google Home and asked, “Hey Google, what’s playing?”
“You are listening to the album 8 by Incubus”.
It’s not all bad: Why buy a Google Home?
Even though I’ve outlined what I dislike about Google Home, it’s not all bad.
Here are 4 reasons why I think you should buy a Google Home!
- The speaker is better than Amazon’s Echo.
- It’s cheaper than Amazon’s Echo.
- Google Music is WAY better than Prime Music. (Although Spotify beats them both!)
- It’s going to get better! Remember all these features can be added / improved through software! It’s coming, we just don’t know when.
What did you think of my Google Home UK review? How are you getting on with your Google Home?