By Edward Lim
Perhaps it’s something like a forbidden fruit. The harder it it to get, the more we want it. Google tempted us with the Google Home smart speaker but it was not available in Singapore or anywhere in the region. It was only in July that the device was finally available in Australia.
Anyway, as with most gadget lovers, there’s always a way to get our hands on the desired device. In my case, I managed to snare one in Walmart in San Jose while attending a conference there in April. Actually, I bought two — one as a gift to a friend.
Having used Google Home for six months, there’re lots to like about this speaker. Here are five reasons:
- Great sound: Let me qualify. I’m not an audiophile so cannot distinguish between good and great. In comparison with other portable speakers that I’ve owned, Google Home sounds great. For such as small device, the sound fills all parts of my living room nicely.
- Good looker: It’s a matter of opinion, I know, but I really like the air freshener look. The speaker looks so inconspicuous and blends well with the keyboard that it was sitting on.
- Searches well: Guess this is a given since Google is the maker. Whatever can be searched via a browser or a smartphone can be done here. Just say, “OK Google” or “Hey Google”. For my family, the favourite question is “Can dogs eat…?” because we’re not quite sure what our dog Ruffles can eat. If we let him decide, everything goes (nearly).
- Scheduling delight: Ask Google Home for your next appointment, schedule for the day and even location of meetings and the answer’s there.
- Songs, songs, songs: Link it to your Spotify account and it can play from your playlist or even others’ shared playlist.
For all the good stuff, I have one major peeve about my Google Home. While the device can detect most English words, some Chinese names can be a challenge. For instance, when I asked for “Joi Chua”, it responded with “Joshua”. No matter how I pronounced is, it simply cannot understand “Chua”.
But that has not stopped me from getting a couple of other Google Home speakers as gifts for my friends. And no, I didn’t need to make another trip to the US, or even Australia, for that matter. There’s eBay and I successfully bidded for both at a cheaper price that in the US, even with shipping included.