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Google Smart Speakers Take the Number One Spot in the Smart Speaker Market

Google Smart Speakers Take the Number One Spot in the Smart Speaker Market

Google Smart Speakers Take the Number One Spot in the Smart Speaker Market

The smart speaker market landscape is changing – Google has overtaken Amazon, the once dominate force in the smart speaker market, with its Google Home.

According to the market analyst firm Canalys, in the first quarter of 2018, 9 million smart speakers were shipped to different parts of the world. Google took the top spot for the first time shipping 3.2 million units of the Google Home and Home Mini devices, while Amazon only shipped 2.5 million Echo devices.

By 2020, the leading research company Gartnerprojected that a total of $2.1 billion smart speakers will be sold worldwide, up from $360 million in 2015. Gartner also projected that 25% of households worldwide will have 2 or more smart speakers by 2020.

“The value of the device is derived from the ease of use and the natural, intuitive interaction model,” Gartner said. “If this value is recognized by all household members, it will drive the desire to have terminal access throughout the entire house, not just in one room.”

Google Home comes in 3 sizes: Google Home (original and regular size), Google Home Mini (smallest version) and Google Home Max (the biggest version).

Here are the top 4 reasons why people see more value in the Google Home compared to other smart speakers:

1. Smart Assistant

At the heart of every Google smart speaker is Google Assistant – an intelligent assistant developed by Google. In total, Google Assistant is capable of helping you with more than 1 million actions.

With Google Home, you can ask Google Assistant to help you with any of these actions hands-free. There’s no need to stop what you’re doing and type your query into Google Assistant; you only have to say this introductory phrase: “Hey Google” or “Ok, Google” to activate Google Assistant.

Just like you would Google anything that you want to know, you can also ask Google Assistant anything – weather, calculations, translations and much more. All you need to say is “Hey Google, how many cups are in a liter?” or “Hey Google, how do you say ‘awesome’ in French?” and Google Assistant will provide a response.

You can set up Google Assistant to give you a daily brief to start off your day, letting you know about the weather, news, traffic, daily reminders, appointments for the day and even your flight status.

With your permission, Google Assistant can help you manage your tasks such as adding items to your shopping list, setting alarms and making hands-free calls.

Most importantly, Google Assistant allows you to turn your home into a smart home. To date, Google Assistant works with more than 5,000 connected home devices.

If your TV has a built-in Chromecast or you’ve purchased a Chromecast – a device that allows for screen casting – you can connect it with Google Home and turn your room into a smart entertainment center.

With your Chromecast enabled TV, Google Assistant and Google Home, you can watch your favorite shows. For instance, you say “Hey Google, play Stranger Things from Netflix on my TV.”

Aside from turning your home into a smart entertainment center, you can also say, “Hey Google:

Turn on the lights

Set the temperature to X degrees

Dim the lights

Stream security camera (using Google Home and Chromecast or a TV with Chromecast built-in)

Google Assistant has also dramatically improved its language understanding, so you can speak to it naturally and it will know what you mean. For instance, Google Assistant understands more complex questions like “Hey Google, what’s the weather like in Montreal and Calgary?”

According to Google, it will soon roll out an update to Google Home that eliminates the need to utter the words “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” for each follow-up questions or orders.

“Soon you’ll be able to have a natural back-and-forth conversation without repeating ‘Hey Google’ for each follow-up request,” Googlesaid in a blog post. “The Assistant will be able to understand when you’re talking to it versus someone else and will respond accordingly. This feature has been one of our top requests and you’ll be able to turn on Continued Conversation in the coming weeks.”

2. Far-field Voice Recognition

People are choosing Google Home over other smart speakers due to its far-field voice recognition feature. To enable accurate far-field voice recognition, Google Home was designed with 2 microphones.

Google Home can recognize voices and minimize error rates even from across the room as its microphone system uses “neural beam forming”. Neural beam forming is a system that simulated hundreds of thousands of noisy environments and applied machine learning to recognize patterns, allowing the microphone system to filter and separate human voice from noise.

3. Multi-Room Capability

People are turning to Google Home due to its multi-room capability. If you put one Google Home in every room of your house, you can set-up your Google Home devices to synchronize music throughout the home or broadcast your voice across devices. For instance, you can say, “Hey Google, broadcast its dinner time!” and your message will be broadcasted to all Google Home devices in your home.

4. Hi-Fi Speaker

People are choosing Google Home over other smart speakers in the market today due to its hi-fi speaker. It has an integrated high-excursion speaker that delivers crystal-clear highs and rich bass.

So, if you’re looking for a smart speaker that’s intelligent enough, is capable of far-field voice recognition, has multi-room capability and has hi-fi speaker, then Google Home is the right smart speaker for your home. Connect with ustoday and learn how to make you your home more smart and comfortable.

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

3 Ways Google Home Helps You Do More in Less Time

Smart devices including Google Home are designed to make our lives easier and help us be more efficient. Google Home has rolled out 3 important updates to help you accomplish more tasks in less time.

1. Broadcast Your Voice

Shouting throughout your house to speak with a family member in a different room can be bothersome.

Google Home is introducing a better way to call out to family members through its update called “Broadcast”. You can use Google Home to broadcast your voice throughout your home to eliminate the need to shout.

Simply say, “Ok Google, broadcast:” followed by your message and it will be broadcasted to all Google Assistant enabled speakers in your home.

This is a great feature because it is quick and convenient – you don’t even need to touch your phone!

You can also broadcast your voice from one Google Home device to another. To get started ensure that all Google Home devices are on the same Wi-Fi network, at least one member of the household has signed into the Google Home app on each of the Google Home devices and turn off the “Disturb Not Disturb” function.

Broadcast also allows you to broadcast your voice from your smartphone to a Google Home device. To get started ensure that your smartphone meets the Google Assistant requirements, the same Google Account is signed in on both the smartphone and the Google Home device and that the “Do Not Disturb” function is off.

2. Voice Match

Google Home supports multiple users – up to six family members can now connect to one Google Home device.

What if you say, “Ok Google, good morning”, will it be able to give your daily briefing and not the daily briefing for your husband or your daughter?

Google Home can distinguish your voice from other family members. It’ll only provide your own commute time, your own appointments, your own playlist and your own personal contacts (in case you want to use the hands-free calling feature).

How to Use the Voice Match Feature

To use the voice match feature, follow these steps:

  1. Install the latest Google Home app.
  1. In the app, look for “multi-user is available” card. If you’re unable to see the card, click on the icon located in the top right corner to view all connected devices.
  1. Once you’ve located Google Home in the list of connected devices, choose “Link your account”. From here, you can teach Google Assistant – the AI behind Google Home – to distinguish who’s speaking.

How Voice Match Works

To interact with Google Home, you need to say one of these phrases “Ok Google” or “Hey Google”.

According to Yury Pinsky, Product Manager of Google Assistant, once either “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” is uttered, certain characteristics of the person’s voice is then analyzed by the AI.

Every time you say “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” to your Google Home, the AI will match your voice with its earlier voice analysis in order to determine who’s speaking. This matching process, according to Pinsky, happens in a matter of milliseconds.

3. Hands-Free Calling

Hands-free calling is another feature of Google Home that allows you to do more in less time.

Whether you’re in the kitchen preparing for dinner or in your room putting things back in order, you can now place calls by using just your voice via Google Home.

This functionality is only available in Canada and the U.S. It’s also completely free as long as your call recipient is in Canada or in the U.S.

Calling your Mom to wish her a happy birthday or simply ordering a Pizza is just an “Ok Google” or “Hey Google” away.

Up to six members of your household can connect to Google Home and connect their personal contacts. This device can distinguish your voice from your husband and your children. Therefore if you want to call your Mom, it will call only your Mom and not your husband’s Mom.

Broadcast, Voice Match and Hands-Free Calling are just three features of Google Home that’ll help you accomplish tasks more efficiently.

With Google Home, you can also control your other smart home devices with your voice. Google Home can be connected to smart products such as Nest, Philips Hue, Wemo, TP-Link, SmartThings, IFTTT, LIFX, Legrand, Lutron, Awair, D-Link, Deako, Emberlight, Hive, iDevices, iHome, Leviton, Nanoleaf and many more.

Using only your voice through Google Home, you can control your C by GE lights, find the perfect temperature of your Nest Thermostat, control your Whirlpool microwave and oven, control your LG washer, dryer and refrigerator and keep an eye on your home via Nest indoor and outdoor cameras.

Contact us today to learn more and make your home smarter with the latest technologies!

7 Things You Can Do with Google Home Smart Speaker

7 Things You Can Do with Google Home Smart Speaker

7 Things You Can Do with Google Home

Google has just made life easier with its smart speaker and home assistant called “Google Home”.

Gone are the days when you have to write on paper, pick up the phone, go online and type or click something to accomplish things. With Google Home, you simply use your voice to get things done.

Here are 7 things that you can do with this smart speaker and home assistant:

1. Plan Your Day

You can start your day with one of the features of Google Home called “My Day”. The moment you wake up, you can say “Ok Google, tell me about My Day”.

My Day gives you an organized summary of the information that you need for the day without the need of looking into your calendar or typing or clicking things online. It gives you daily snippet of the following:

  • Weather

It tells you about the current weather, whether it’s sunny, cloudy or rainy outside.

  • News

Through My Day, you can listen to news from your chosen news source.

  • Traffic

Google Home gives you an estimated travel time from home to work based on the volume of traffic.

  • Calendar

You can listen to your appointments for the day.

  • Flight Status

You can listen to the status of your upcoming flight, whether it’s still on schedule or delayed.

2. Manage Tasks

With Google Home, you can control your timer and alarm – check, set, pause, stop, and recur – with just the use of your voice.

3. Accomplish Tasks

With Google Home, you can effectively accomplish tasks. It allows you to complete the following tasks:

  • Shop

You don’t have to go to the nearby store to buy your everyday necessities – from groceries to food for your pet. With Google Home, you can order from Google’s participating retailers, including Walmart. To order from Walmart, for instance, you can say, “Ok Google, order dog food.”

To set-up your order, use the Google Home app. Go to “More settings” and look for “Payments.” From there, set your delivery address and credit card details.

  • Cook

If you’ve an unexpected guest and you want to cook something of this guest, you can ask Google Home to give you step-by-step cooking instructions. Google Home’s system has over 5 million recipes from Bon Appetit, The New York Times and Food Network.

  • Make Calls

If you want to call someone, you don’t anymore have to pick up the phone. With Google Home, you simply say, “Ok Google, call (supply the name of the person you want to call).”

For instance, you can say, “Ok Google, call Mom.” Even if other family members also use Google Home, it’ll call only your mom, not your hubby’s mom as the system recognizes specific voices. You can also make free calls to businesses and personal contacts located in any parts of the US and Canada.

4. Get Answers

With close to 20 years of experience of answering myriad of questions, Google is guaranteed to give informative answers to questions pertaining to anything under the sun and even beyond.

  • Weather

You can ask Google Home about the weather forecast for tomorrow, specific day, weekend or in the one to 10 days. You can also ask how the weather in certain location is. For instance, you can ask “Ok Google, will it rain tomorrow in Winnipeg?”

  • Calculations

If you’re bad with numbers or you simply don’t want to use your brain to calculate complicated numbers, you can ask Google Home to do this task.

  • Translation

You can ask Google Home to translate for you words and phrases in supported languages. For instance, you can ask, “Ok Google, what’s ‘call me’ in French.

  • Currency Conversions

You can ask Google Home conversions of global currencies and unit conversions. Examples of questions you can ask include:

“How many Swiss Francs is a Canadian dollar worth?”

“How many liters are there in 5 gallons?”

  • Nutrition

If you’re on a strict diet, you can ask Google Home for nutritional content of certain products or natural foods. You can ask these questions:

“What are the foods rich in calcium?”

“How much sugar is there in a Diet Coke?”

  • Dictionary

Consider Google Home as your talking dictionary. You can ask it about the meaning things like El Niño, cryptocurrency or anything that’s unclear to you.

5. Watch or Listen to Media

With Google Home, you can stream video content to any TV that has Chromecast plugged in or Chromecast built-in using only your voice. You can also stream audio to any speaker that has Chromecast Audio plugged in or Chromecast built-in using only your voice.

6. Play Games

If you’re tired of watching videos or listening to music or podcasts but still want to be entertained, you can opt to play games using Google Home. With this smart speaker and home assistant, you can play games, such as “Lucky Trivia”, “Crystal Ball” and “Mad Libs”. You can also ask Google to talk like Yoda to you.

7. Control Your Home

Using only your voice, you can control other smart devices in your home using Google Home. Examples of smart devices that you can integrate with Google Home include August Smart Lock, Philips Hue lights, Chromecast, Sony Bravia XBR-A1E, Nest Learning Thermostat and iRobot Roomba 690.

By using IFTTT, you can also control other online services and third-party smart devices that aren’t directly integrated with Google Home. IFTTT, which stands of “If this, then that”, is a separate company from Google. Through IFTTT, you can, for instance, connect Google Home with your smart coffee maker or to your social media accounts. For instance, you can say to Google Home:

“Rise and shine, let’s start a new day,” and then your smart coffee maker turns on.

“Tell my friends I’m unavailable for one week,” then a status update is posted to your social media accounts.

There’s no limit to how many third-party smart devices and online services that you can connect Google Home with. This makes the possibilities of this smart speaker and home assistant limitless.

Connect with us today to learn more about incredible deals on Google Home, and other smart home devices

How to Make Google Home as Your Smart Home Devices Control Center

How to Make Google Home as Your Smart Home Devices Control Center

Here is How to Make Google Home as Your Smart Home Devices Control Center

From locks to thermostats, our home gadgets are getting smarter and connected. You can control your smart home devices using Google Home.

What Are Smart, Connected Home Devices?

Many of today’s home devices operate beyond their physical components. They are now smarter and connected.

Physical Components

The physical aspect of a home device refers to the electrical and mechanical parts. In August smart lock, the batteries and deadbolt parts – the thumb-latch and turnpiece – are the physical components of this home gadget.

Smart Components

The smart aspect of a home device refers to the computer hardware and software components. Smart components include microprocessors, data storage and sensors. The hardware and software components of standard computers – desktops or laptops – greatly differ from the smart devices. For one, smart devices are smaller compared to standard computers.

A standard computer is meant to accomplish a number of tasks, including researching, calculating, recording and other tasks. A smart device, on the other hand, is typically meant to do a specific job. In the case of the August smart lock, its specific purpose is to keep the bad guys out and keep the good guys in.

Connectivity Components

The connectivity aspect of a home device refers to the ports, antennae and protocols enabling wired or wireless connections of the device.

Connectivity comes in three forms: one-to-one, one-to-many and many-to-many.

  • One-to-One Connectivity

This refers to a device that connects to the user, the manufacturer or another product. An example of this type of connectivity is when the Nest camera indoor is connected to the user’s smartphone through the Nest app.

  • One-to-Many Connectivity

This refers to a central system that’s connected nonstop to many products simultaneously. An example of this type of connectivity is that of Tesla cars connected to Tesla’s single system that monitors and conducts remote service and upgrades.

  • Many-to-Many Connectivity

This refers to multiple products being connected to various other products. For this type of connectivity, Google Home plays a big role.

What is Google Home?

Google Home is a multi-purpose home device. At the heart of Google Home is Google Assistant – an artificial intelligence (AI) – that enables you to do myriad of tasks. The list of things that Google Home can do keeps getting longer. It plays music from the cloud based on your preferences. It contextually answers your questions. It manages your alarms and timers, your to-do lists and shopping lists. It can call any phone number for free in the US and Canada. Most importantly, it can connect and control other smart home devices.

You can do all of the above-mentioned tasks by simply activating Google Assistant through your voice or simply by saying “Ok Google”. This AI assistant is also multi-lingual. It can understand English, German, French, Brazilian, Portuguese and Japanese. Later this year Google will add Spanish, Italian and Korean. It can also support multiple users. No need to worry though as it can differentiate your voice from others in your home.

“With Google Home, you will be able to get hands-free help from your Assistant,” tech giant Google describes Google Home. “Turn up your party mix, get the morning news, manage your schedule and control your smart home without lifting a finger. Just start with ‘Ok Google’.”

You can connect the following smart devices to your Google Home:

1. Connect Chromecast-Connected TV or Speaker to Google Home

Chromecast, formerly Google Cast, is a small device that plugs into a speaker or TV, allowing you to stream audio or video from your phone, tablet or laptop right to your TV or speaker.

You can also connect Chromecast-connected TV or speaker to Google Home. For example, you can use your voice via Google Home to search YouTube videos on your Chromecast-connected TV. To do this, ensure that your Chromecast-connected TV and Google Home are on the same network. Open then your Google Home app and look for the “TVs and Speakers” tab under the “More settings” tab. From there, tap the plus symbol located at the bottom of the screen.

2. Connect August Smart Lock to Google Home

You can connect your August smart lock with Google Home. In order to connect these two devices, you need the August Connect – an accessory that plugs into any power outlet near your August smart lock and connects your smart lock to your home WiFi. You also need to download the Google Home app.

There are two ways to connect your August smart lock and Google Home.

Option 1:

For option 1, after setting up Google Home, launch the Google Home app. This message “Link to August” will appear in the “More Settings/Services” section of the Google Home app. Tap the “Link” and then login to your August account.

Option2:

For option 2, after setting up your Google Home speaker, launch the Google Home app, then go to “More Settings”. From there, tap “Services” and then find August home. From this August home, if you’ve already said “Ok Google, talk to August” and still haven’t connected your August and Google accounts, you’ll see a “Link Account” option.

Once the August and Google are paired, you can then tell Google Home, “Ok Google, tell August to lock the front door” or “Ok Google, ask August to check the front door”.

3. Connect Nest Products to Google Home

The good thing about Nest products – Nest thermostat, Nest smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, Nest camera indoor, Nest camera outdoor – is that these products are owned by Alphabet – the same company that owns Google. All Nest products can be integrated or connected with Google Home.

To connect Nest’s thermostat, smoke and carbon monoxide alarm, indoor camera and outdoor camera with Google Home, follow these steps:

  • Open the Google Home app.
  • Tap Menu and then Home control in the top left corner of the Home screen.
  • In the “Devices” tab, at the bottom right tap “Add”.
  • Tap the device you want to connect to Google Home and then follow the steps.
  • When the pairing of a particular smart device with Google Home is complete, tap “Done”.

There’s no limit to the number of smart devices you can link to Google Home. When you need help making your home smarter, give us a call and we will be happy to help.

5 Ways Google Home Smart Speaker & Home Assistant Will Make Your Life Better

5 Ways Google Home Smart Speaker & Home Assistant Will Make Your Life Better

5 Ways Google Home Smart Speaker Will Make Your Life Better

We’re used to having Google around us all day. We use it often to search for something that we more information. We use it to check our emails, calendar and for up-to-date news coverage. So, why not have Google Home smart speaker and home assistant as our personal robot at home as well?

Three tech giants – Google, Amazon and Apple – are all vying for the smart speaker and home assistant market. In 2014, Amazon released its smart speaker and home assistant called “Echo”. Google released its own smart speaker and home assistant called “Home” in 2016. Apple announced that it’ll release its own version called “Homepod” in December 2017.

Amazon Echo has Alexa as its intelligent assistant; Google Home has “Assistant”; while Apple Homepod has Siri. Amazon Echo can be activated by saying “Hey, Alexa”; Apple Homepad by saying “Hey, Siri”; and Google Home by saying, “Hey or Ok, Google”.

Here are 5 ways Google Home smart speaker and home assistant will make your life better:

  1. Wealth of Knowledge

Google, which was launched in 1998, has close to two decades of working as the world’s biggest search engine. It has accumulated a wealth of knowledge that’s incomparable with other tech companies, including Amazon and Apple.

Amazon Echo is using Bing – launched in 2009 – as its search engine. Safari, Apple’s browser, has been using Google as its default search engine for years. According to StatCounter, from May 2016 to May 2017, Google controlled 92.37% of the search engine traffic, followed Bing (2.74%) and Yahoo (2.35%).

Given the two decades of knowledge accumulation, Google knows a lot about anything under the sun, and literally, a lot about what’s above and underneath it. This vast knowledge is valuable for a smart speaker and home assistant that’ll aid you as your personal robot at home. If you say, “Ok, Google, tell me about the weather 50 years ago.” Google will be able to tell you what the weather was like 50 years back. You can proceed, by asking, “Ok, Google, how’s the weather today.” And it can tell whether it’s sunny or cloudy outside your home, and gives you the day’s temperature.

  1. Conversational

Talking to Google Home is very much close to talking to a person. It can recognize multiple voices inside your home. Up to six people are allowed to connect their account to one Google Home. So now Google can distinguish your voice from your wife’s, pull your personal playlist, own commute time, own schedule and more.

Google Assistant can also understand the context, saving you time and breath. If you say, “Ok, Google, play Shakira’s World Cup song.” Google understands that you want to play “Waka Waka (This Time for Africa)”, the official 2010 FIFA World Cup song.

  1. Connectivity to Other Google Products

Through the years, Google has branched out from its humble search engine business to develop multitude of other products. Many of these products live on the internet. Of course, we know about Gmail, Calender, Google Maps, YouTube and other software solutions that are easily connectable to Google Home.

Another notable product developed by Google is Chromecast – a media streaming device that plugs into the HDMI port on your TV. Google Home easily connects with Chromecast, allowing you to stream your favorite TV shows, movies, music, sports, games and more. You can connect Google home to Chromecast-based speakers, letting you listen to audio in different parts of your home.

  1. Makes Your Home Smarter

Google Home, not only connects you to other Google products, but it also connects to third party products. Notable of these third party products is the Nest Learning Thermostat – the first thermostat to get an Energy Star certification (products that meet strict energy performance standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency). This Nest’s product learns what temperature you like. As Google Home can be connected to Nest Learning Thermostat, you can say, “Ok, Google, set my temperature to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.”

This smart speaker and home assistant can also be connected to Philips Hue – a lighting system that allows wireless control and personalization. You can say, “Ok, Google, turn the lights off.” Google Home can also be connected to Chk-In’s wireless home security camera. So you can say, “Ok, Google, turn camera on.” Other third party products that can be connected to Google Home include TP-Link, Wemo, SmartThings, IFTTT, Alarm.com, Anova, Deako, FireBoard and many more.

  1. Entertainment Upgrades

You can get entertainment upgrades by connecting Google Home with Chromecast. With Chromecast plugged into your TV, you can say, “Ok, Google, play Justice League trailer.” Home will then start up YouTube app on your Chromecast and play the trailer on your TV.

If you’re not sure of the title of the movie that you want to see, Home can also help you out. For instance, if you tell Home to play the latest James Bond movie, it’ll start up Netflix and correctly play the latest James Bond movie “Spectre”. Gone are the days when you need a remote control to change what you see on your big screen. If you think, you’ve not enough time to sit through the whole Spectre movie, you can tell Home to change it to the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory”.

Google Home smart speaker and home assistant also works with Spotify, Pandora Internet Radio, TuneIn Radio, iHeartRadio, Google Play Music and Google Photos.

Addressing Your Google Home Privacy Concern

Is Google Home recording all of your conversations? Google in a statement said:

“No. Google Home listens in short (a few seconds) snippets for the hotword. Those snippets are deleted if the hotword is not detected, and none of that information leaves your device until the hotword is heard. When Google Home detects that you’ve said ‘Ok Google,’ the LEDs on top of the device light up to tell you that recording is happening, Google Home records what you say, and sends that recording (including the few-second hotword recording) to Google in order to fulfill your request. You can delete those recordings through My Activity anytime.”

Interested in learning more about Google Home? Connect with us today and make your home a Smart Home.