About a year and a half ago, Google launched its rival to the Amazon Echo, a smart speaker called Google Home.

As usual, New Zealand has been invited late to the party, and officially Google Home hasn’t been released here – but it is available in Australia.

What is Google Home?

Google Home is a voice-activated smart assistant which uses AI and claims to have been designed to make your life easier.

It allows users to speak voice commands to a personal assistant, allowing people to play music, record TV shows, or hear the latest news headlines.

By saying “Ok Google” to activate it, users can then ask questions, or make requests, making it basically a verbal version of the Google search engine. It also doubles as a calculator, dictionary, or translator.

Testing it out at home

I recently added Google Home to our family environment and was surprised to see how far Artificial Intelligence has come in such a short time, particularly the voice-recognition technology.

First of all, the simplicity is incredible. From opening the box to Google accepting my commands and queries took less than 20 minutes.

I started using it every morning by saying “OK Google, Good Morning”. With this simple prompt, it tells me:

  • The weather for the day
  • Commute time to work
  • The news headlines from the BBC (Google tells me local headlines are coming when it fully releases in New Zealand soon)

And it didn’t take long for everyone else to start getting the hang of it.

My wife likes to listen to the radio, but our house has poor reception. In the past she has struggled with Sonos being played through her phone, but now with Google home she simply asks it to play Radio Live and it does. She’s impressed enough to call it “pure genius”.

We also use it as a family. The weekly shopping list is saved on all our phones, and any item we remember we need throughout the week, we simply tell Google to add it to the list. The communal shopping list is updated on all our devices, and we can all see it.

From asking for phone numbers of companies, through to playing music by our favourite artists, Google Home has changed the way we live.

What’s the future hold?

What stands out for me with this new technology is how quickly it has progressed.

AI is moving at a striking pace, and instead of this voice command technology being 10 years away, it’s suddenly more likely to be only 3-5 years from becoming commonplace.

Instead of searching for a plumber online, simply asking out loud will get you the nearest one. How is this going to affect the way we search for things? Will these smart speakers make everything we know about SEO obsolete?

Only time will tell what changes are in the pipeline, but you can rest assured that Ark Advance is at the forefront of the curve when it comes to this new technology.