Smaller than a doughnut and lighter than a full-grown chipmunk – that's how Google are describing their new smart speaker, the Google Home Mini. Available in three tasteful shades – coral, chalk and charcoal – it's the prettiest and most price accessible 'home assistant' we've seen. Ideal Home was at last night's launch party, and here are six reasons why we think you should buy one when it comes out on 19th October.
1. It will set you up for the day
Wish your Google Home Mini a 'good morning' and it will brief you on the weather, traffic conditions, any appointments or meetings, and the latest news. It can serve as you alarm clock, too.
2. For a small speaker, it sounds surprisingly good
The Google Home Mini wasn't built to stream music loud, but for a bedside or kitchen speaker that's the size of a coaster, it's just fine for background music or listening to podcasts before bed. If you want a bigger sound, you could look to invest in the Google Home Max, which will cost around £400 when it launches in early 2018.
3. It can tell the difference between you and other family members
Google has been honing its voice recognition technology, so that when you talk to your Mini, it knows who you are. That means, if you ask it to call Jo, it will call your friend Jo rather than your partner's mate Joe. Or will give you your appointments for the day as opposed to your teenage daughter's.
4. Who's at the door? Nest and Google Home Mini can tell you
Nest's new doorbell is super smart, as it learns the faces of regular visitors. Pair it to your Google Home Mini, and Google Assistant can announce who's ringing the doorbell. So you can dash to open it... or hide behind the sofa.
Another clever doorbell: Is this little doorbell the future of home security?
5. Lost you phone? Google Home Mini will find it
We know it's round here somewhere! But rather than waste time searching, just ask Google Assistant to 'find my phone'. It will then ring your Android phone, even if it's on silent. You can also use your Google Home Mini as a speakerphone.
6. It will entertain the kids
For any parents out there, fed up with their kids being mesmerised by phone or tablet screens, Google Assistant can help. Just get them to say 'Hey Google, let's play a game' and it will suggest voice based games to play, like xxxx. Also, if they command 'Hey Google, let's learn', they can do things like talk to an astronaut or take a quiz.
One feature they might not like so much is that you can pair several Google Home Minis and get them to broadcast messages around the house. So you can announce it's time for school or time for bed without having to shout. 'Parents are gonna love this feature,' says Google's Rishi Chandra. 'And kids are gonna hate it.'
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Amy Cutmore is an experienced interiors editor and writer, who has worked on titles including Ideal Home, Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, GardeningEtc, Top Ten Reviews and Country Life. And she's a winner of the PPA's Digital Content Leader of the Year. A homes journalist for two decades, she has a strong background in technology and appliances, and has a small portfolio of rental properties, so can offer advice to renters and rentees, alike.
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