Google Home First Impressions

Submitted by Peter on Mon, 10/04/2017 - 09:47

I recently bought a Google home so that I can do a proper comparison between the Echo and the Home. The setup was extremely easy, I just needed to download the Google Home App from the app store and ensure my phone was connected to the WiFi. One thing that surprised me was that I was not prompted to connect to the Home via WiFi or Bluetooth. When I opened the app it started the setup process and asked me to decide which wireless network my Home should connect too. I am not overly sure how it configured the Home with a connection (maybe my phone automatically connected using Bluetooth?) so no doubt I will reset it at some point and find out.

Conversations

I found the Home app somewhat confusing as I could not find a store to enable skills but on investigation found that 3rd parties cannot submit Conversations as of yet (Conversations is what Google call skills). There are some apps such as Uber etc that have been released. It also appears that Conversations are automatically enabled. I am not sure how well this will work when the flood gates open. How will the Home realize which skill you invoking especially when some will have confusingly similar names.

Due to the lack of Conversations the functionality is quite restrictive compared to the Echo however I suspect this will change very quickly when the store is opened up.

Voice recognition

The voice recognition on the Home is similar to that of the Echo. First impressions appear that it suffers from the same failure rate. While investigating creating Conversations I did find that machine learning will be applied to conversations that use api.ai (source). This may go a long way to improve the voice recognition capabilities.

I will be doing a proper comparison soon but thought I would post a quick first impressions just now. Expect this article by the end of the week.