How Google Home Mini, Home Max Aim to Counter Amazon Echo Popularity

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How Google Home Mini, Home Max Aim to Counter Amazon Echo Popularity

Google is releasing two new smart home devices over the next couple of months in hopes of turning consumer attention away from Amazon’s Echo home devices with the Alexa digital assistant.  The search giant's alternative devices are the Google Home Mini, a hockey puck-shaped device that will reach the market Oct. 19. It will be followed by the Google Home Max, a considerably larger smart speaker, scheduled for release in December. You’d be correct if you thought the two Google devices sound remarkably similar to the Amazon Echo devices. Plus, Google Home Mini already has had a major privacy concern, even before its release. This slide show will look at the top features in these Google units.

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Google Had to Resolve a Privacy Concern in the Home Mini

Before its launch, reviewers said Google Home Mini constantly recorded its environment and sent those recordings to Google, violating user privacy. Google blamed it on the device’s touch pad that, when touched, records a user’s voice and sends it for interpretation via Google Assistant. Google killed the feature and said the touch function will be disabled.

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Google Says Home Mini Works Is Suitable for Any Room

Google Home Mini is being pitched as a device that can work in any room. Google envisions it being a useful home assistant in the kitchen. But it also plays music and works as an alarm clock in the bedroom. It’s also small enough to fit into tight spaces without detracting from the room’s décor.

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Google Home Max Is a Smart Speaker

Google Home Max is a smart speaker in the vein of Apple’s HomePod. The device, which ships with Google Assistant to play music on command, has two 4.5-inch subwoofers and “custom” tweeters. It also has a feature called Smart Sound that optimizes audio playback for the room. Google Home Max was built for audio.

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Google Assistant Support

Google Assistant is in both the Google Home Mini and Google Home Max. The virtual assistant accepts voice commands from users and can perform tasks such as search the internet, shop online and check the weather or sports scores, in addition to controlling music selections and playback. Google Assistant is based on Google Search.

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They Control Smart Home Environmental Functions

Google Home Mini and Google Home Max provide full smart home control functions. Users can turn Philips Hue lights on and off or control thermostats made by Alphabet-owned Nest. With Google Assistant’s help, both the Mini and Max can control smart home devices that use TP-Link, Wemo and other smart home technologies.

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Who Are the App Partners?

Although Google has a good selection of app partners for its Home devices, it’s far behind Amazon. Google Home devices can access Spotify, Pandora and Netflix. The meditation app Headspace is also included, and users can order pizzas from Dominos. But Google needs to sign more third-party app developers.

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They Can Also Control Your TV Entertainment

Google Home Mini and Google Home Max come with support for the company’s Chromecast technology. Users with a Chromecast or Chromecast-compatible device in the home can ask the Mini or Max models to play a movie or television show. The feature is available through Google Assistant voice commands, making it easier to control home entertainment.

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Tether Multiple Home Units To Deliver Audio to Multiple Rooms

Google has designed both speakers to deliver multi-room audio. Users can wirelessly tether multiple Google Home devices and stream audio playing from one room to all the others. The feature also works with Chromecast Audio and wireless speakers.

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Google Home Max Includes Free Subscription to YouTube Music

To entice users to buy a Google Home Max, the company is offering a free 12-month subscription to its ad-free music-streaming service, YouTube Music. Additionally, Google is bundling a Home Mini with the purchase of a Google Pixel 2 smartphone.

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Google Home Max Carries a Premium Price

Considering Google Home Max is substantially more capable than Google Home Mini, it’s perhaps no surprise it costs much more. Google Home Max will retail for $399 when it’s released in December. Google Home Mini, meanwhile, costs $49 and will be available Oct. 19.

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