Pros and cons: Our quick verdict on Google Home

Not a must-buy yet, but it will get better with more third-party support.

Engadget, @engadget
11.28.16 in AV
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    It was only a matter of time before Google came out with something to compete with the Amazon Echo: After all, Google too has deep experience with both voice commands and search. Indeed, one of the things we like best about the new Google Home hub is how it responds to conversational inquiries -- and how Google's vast knowledge graph allow it to be genuinely helpful. What's more, the $129 device has a lower profile than the Echo, making for a more discreet design. It also has a surprisingly good speaker, and being able to just tell it what music you want to hear is a killer feature.

    We already like it, then, but we'll like it even more when the device supports more third-party services, the way the Echo does. Right now, for instance, you can't book restaurant reservations through OpenTable or buy movie tickets on Fandango. Such features are coming eventually, though, and when they do, the device will be much more useful.

    Engadget Score
    Poor
    Uninspiring
    Good
    Excellent
    Key

    Pros
    • Tasteful design
    • Access to Google's massive knowledge graph
    • Google Assistant is conversational and context aware
    • Chromecast integration has the potential to be a killer feature
    Cons
    • Speaker quality is only so-so for music
    • Limited third-party app support compared to Amazon
    • A handful of expected features aren't available at launch

    Summary

    Google Home is a great way to show off just how smart Google is, but it doesn't feel like an essential experience yet. That's mainly because it lags behind the Echo in terms of support for third-party services. That makes Echo a smarter buy if you want to control smarthome devices -- but Home is a perfectly viable option for those who use lots of Google services.

    Engadget is the definitive guide to this connected life. Technology isn't all about bits and processors. It's the car with no driver, human organs printed in a lab and leisurely flights into space. It's the future and we're here to tell you all about it. Since 2004, Engadget has exhaustively covered cutting edge devices and the technology that powers them. As we enter our second decade, we're looking beyond the gadgets themselves to explore how they impact our lives.

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