Google Home Launches In Australia

Nine months after it debuted with fanfare around the US, Google's smart voice-controlled home speaker is launching into Australia. It'll be able to remember all your appointments and check your commute in the morning, you'll be able to play music in one or more rooms at once, and ask it questions and get detailed answers -- or even the news headlines -- in a proper Aussie accent.

Google Home: The Gizmodo Review

It's late, I've just plugged the Google Home voice assistant in, and I've got a fridge full of pumpkin and pie crusts and Thanksgiving is three weeks away. "OK Google, how do I make a pumpkin pie?"

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Google Home is a voice-activated, always-listening powered speaker: if you start a phrase with the words "OK Google", it'll hear it and interpret the words that you speak next, whether it's a specific phrase like "what's the weather like today?" or a natural language question like "what was the name of the winner of Eurovision in 2010?". The Google Assistant can translate, calculate, convert, and control other network-connected devices in your home. Oh, and it'll actually play music as well.

Part of the delay between Home's international and Australian launches can be attributed to the fact that the speaker -- and Google Assistant, the voice-activated AI that also runs on Google's Pixel smartphones -- has been localised both to recognise and interpret Aussie accents, and to respond in kind with a bespoke voice. It has a bunch of Aussie Easter eggs, too -- you can ask it what a kookaburra sounds like, and have it respond with the familiar laughter, and you can ask it about brekky and servos.

If you've got other compatible products -- anything that uses an IFTTT recipe, or a smart home gadget like Philips Hue -- you'll be able to talk to your Google Home speaker and run natural language commands like "turn on my lights". If you've got a Chromecast, you can tell Google Home to turn on your TV and start playing Netflix. Google Home can understand up to six different voices, too, and can be tied to six separate Google accounts.

You can have multiple Google Home speakers scattered throughout your house, too, playing the same music simultaneously if you so wish. You can also communicate with each speaker independently, so it's not just one central processing brain -- if you say "OK Google", only the Google Home to your voice will respond and process your commands.

Google Home will set you back $199 per unit when it launches in Australia on July 20; you'll be able to buy it at Google Store, JB Hi-Fi, Harvey Norman, Officeworks, The Good Guys, Telstra, Optus, and the Qantas Store in black, copper or grey. [Google]


    Its a real shame Amazon have dropped the ball in Australia on this. They have a far better product, more integrated with home automation, and thousands of 3rd party integrations, with first mover advantage, but a lot of people are going to buy into Google Home in Australia, end up disappointed, and dismiss smart speakers altogether in future.

      It's got IFTTT integration so most home automation, and 3rd party integrations are covered by that.

      First mover advantage only actually works if they are the first mover...which Amazon aren't here

      Nice one Google, I'll be heading to Officeworks tomorrow....about time!....

    The only part i don't like is the always listening part. It's too incriminating for my liking. Maybe it should be done with a fob. Press the fob and then ask a question. That would be safer.

      That's no different to most smartphones these days - they're all listening constantly for their activation phrase ("Ok Google" or "Hey Siri"), just like Google Home.

      You can turn those off of course. And there's a button to disable the mic on a Google Home, though that reduces it to a simple connected speaker. Probably best to just not buy one if that bothers you.

        Fair point although with my galaxy note 5, i have to press a button before i ask it anything.

          All the crap our "government" wants to load our phones up with, I'm not sure "pushing a button" makes a difference...

          And seriously, you hang on a site like Giz and still think tech is controlled by you?

            That's my point. Tech can be hacked or misused and that makes me suss about some tech in my home that's always listening. I'm not exactly the most law abiding person in this world.

      Some clarification is needed here. It's always listening, but not recording. It buffers around 15-30 seconds at a time and constantly overwrites it if it doesn't hear its wake word. Once it hears the wake word it starts recording, and streaming the audio it hears to the voice service so it can wor out what you said and what you do. You can prove to yourself it's not sending anything other than what is said after the wake word to the server by using something like WireShark on your network.

    Strewth mate. The sheila's gonna go off like a bucket of prawns in the sun if I buy this.

    Until it can make me Tea, Earl Gray, Hot in Majel Barrett's voice I don't want a bar of it.

      When we get replicators, they'll be able to talk like Majel.

      Before she died she recorded a huge library of word and phrases, apparently covering all of the sounds in the English language and a lot of emotion.
      They can recreate her voice!

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