The Internet Radio Forum

Hardware & Firmware => Behold - The Future ... => Topic started by: bob12564 on 08:33:39 | 28 November, 2017

Title: Google Home devices
Post by: bob12564 on 08:33:39 | 28 November, 2017
Black Friday in the U.S. saw many bargains on Google Home and Google Home minis.  Minis were down to $29.  TuneIn seems to be built in and can be operated by voice commands.  Pandora and Spotify accounts can be linked and will also respond to voice commands.  The devices also can be used as Chromecast speakers controlled by any app that's Chromecast enabled. 

So, as the thread says, "Behold the Future...".  Are these devices part of the future of internet radio? 

So far I've played with my new toy as if it was a radio and I was able to find everything I need.  Even the encrypted podcasts that we lost on the Reciva radios work fine.  I still love my radios but these new devices are hard to beat for performance and price.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: dog-man on 08:39:58 | 28 November, 2017
What's the sound quality like?

I have been considering getting one to replace my slowly dying Logik 100 when it finally goes.

I am somewhat concerned about the fact that they can be used to covertly listen to what is going on wherever they are positioned.
I really don't like the idea of that.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 09:09:32 | 28 November, 2017
I got a Google Home Mini at Best Buy on Black Friday when the price was $29 and they gave back a $10 gift card.  I linked it to play Spotify as its default music source.  The sound quality is ok for background music or for listening to podcasts or to the news, but I wouldn't want to use it for serious music listening.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 09:45:48 | 28 November, 2017
The Google Home devices are a very nice way to stream internet radio. The original Google Home  sounds on par with my recently purchased Mondo+. (I have the new Encore+ arriving in about 10 days. I bought my first Mondo is 2012.)

An economical way for good sounding internet radio is if you already have an amplifier and speakers, you could purchase a ChromeCast Audio dongle to connect to your good amplifier. Then use any GH device to stream to the dongle. You would have great sound at a pretty low price.

With that same dongle, if you have a computer with a compatible web browser (Chrome), you can cast any station on your computer to the dongle for good sound.

The Mondo+ works better in some cases, for instance, I can't get my GH to stream BR Heimat here in the US, but the Mondo+ database has it.

BTW, I now own 6 GH devices (including 2 of the new Best Buy assistant speakers) and three Amazon Echo devices. I stream music throughout my little house. If I can answer questions, I'll be happy to.

Dave

Edit: To set up the Google Home, you'll need an Android or iOS device connected to the same wifi network as the GH is on.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Natural Sound on 10:53:57 | 28 November, 2017
I got a Google Home Mini at Best Buy on Black Friday when the price was $29 and they gave back a $10 gift card.  I linked it play Spotify as its default music source.  The sound quality is ok for background music or for listening to podcasts or to the news, but I wouldn't want to use it for serious music listening.

Are you using the internal speaker or have you connected to an external one? I use an Echo Dot (also $29 on sale) connected to a Tivoli Audio Model one. It sounds much better that way.

EDIT: Upon further review I see that there is no audio out jack on the Mini but it does have a bigger speaker than whats in the Dot.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 12:44:25 | 28 November, 2017
The way to port sound out of a GH is with the Chromecast Audio dongle. There is an additional feature that you can name where you want media to go. This is set in the app. For example, I changed my Living Room GH to send media files to my Mondo+ built in Cc Audio dongle instead of the Living Room. When I ask my Living Room GH "hey Google, stream BBC Wales" and there is confirmation given on the GH, but the audio stream ends up at my Mondo+.

Hope that helps explain it.
Dave
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 14:07:38 | 28 November, 2017
I have said to the Google Home Mini, "hey Google, play XXX on the Mondo Plus," and that works fine.  But if I say, "hey Google, play XXX on Chromecast Audio 1033" (the Chromecast audio that's connected to my receiver) it doesn't work.  Maybe I'm not doing it right.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 16:08:45 | 28 November, 2017
Hi Solo2
Go to your Home app and then to Devices.
The look and see that both your GH mini and Chromecast appear on the list.
Go to your Chromecast icon and click on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner.
I would rename your Chromecast to something easy, such as "stereo" or any other unique name that would describe your Chromecast use.
It might be good to link  your Chromecast to the same account as your main account if it isn't already.

I tried mine again by saying "hey google, stream b b c radio wales to mondo".
(Mondo being the name I gave the Chromecast audio that is built in to it.)

After it started playing, I said "hey google, volume up". Then I said "hey google, stop".
Each command worked.

If you want to listen to a radio station, it is important to use the word "stream" rather than "play". When the GH hears "stream" as the  first word, it decides whether to go to TuneIn or iHeart or other streaming services. When it hears "play" it goes to the place that has recorded files, such as Google Play Music, or Spotify, or YouTube to look for the file.

Best wishes and success.
Dave



Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 16:25:25 | 28 November, 2017
Be careful - there are lots of bugs and deficiencies in the GHome system, especially for non-US users

Here's some:

1, No bluetooth transmit (WTF???!!!).  Dump those bt speakers and headphones
2. Reminders don't work for many users
3. No Spotify Connect
4. Outside the US, no 3rd party actions/skills
5. No way to change the activation command
6. English (UK) voice is less natural than Alexa
6. Official support is friendly but essentially useless - 'Turn it on/off, Do a Factory Reset.
7. BBC streams are flaky - BBC 2 disappeared for 2 days earlier this week

On the other hand, it's got good sound and AI is better.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 17:30:44 | 28 November, 2017
Hi Solo2
Go to your Home app and then to Devices.
The look and see that both your GH mini and Chromecast appear on the list.
Go to your Chromecast icon and click on the 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner.
I would rename your Chromecast to something easy, such as "stereo" or any other unique name that would describe your Chromecast use.
It might be good to link  your Chromecast to the same account as your main account if it isn't already.

Thanks, everything was already linked, but renaming the Chromecast Audios did the trick (not exactly sure why, but it worked).
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 17:47:16 | 28 November, 2017
Be careful - there are lots of bugs and deficiencies in the GHome system, especially for non-US users

Here's some:

1, No bluetooth transmit (WTF???!!!).  Dump those bt speakers and headphones
2. Reminders don't work for many users
3. No Spotify Connect
4. Outside the US, no 3rd party actions/skills
5. No way to change the activation command
6. English (UK) voice is less natural than Alexa
6. Official support is friendly but essentially useless - 'Turn it on/off, Do a Factory Reset.
7. BBC streams are flaky - BBC 2 disappeared for 2 days earlier this week

On the other hand, it's got good sound and AI is better.

I'm pretty sure I don't care about the lack of Bluetooth transmit and I don't see why I'd miss Spotify Connect when I can link to Spotify itself.  The activation command is either "ok Google" or "hey Google" which is good enough for me. Most British voices already sound unnatural and the fact that the BBC occasionally craps out puts it on par with the most elite radios.  For 20 bucks, I think it's a pretty good deal although I'll admit that others may find various faults with it.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 18:14:14 | 28 November, 2017

Thanks, everything was already linked, but renaming the Chromecast Audios did the trick (not exactly sure why, but it worked).

Glad it worked out for you, Solo2. Somehow I was thinking that this was the problem, due to either the long name, the GH not understanding, or perhaps "Chromecast" was a reserved word.
Enjoy!
Dave
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 18:29:05 | 28 November, 2017


Here's some:


Hi Castalla,
I can understand your feelings on the GH product elsewhere. I bought my first one just over a year ago. What it does now compared to what it did then is amazing. These devices are pretty new, and the beauty of them is they can be upgraded in several ways.

1 Firmware upgrades in the GH itself.
2 App updates
3 Services additions by Google or third party.

I switched one of my GH's to German and there are improvements needed. (Improvements in my language skills would be helpful too.) :)

Best wishes,
Dave
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 01:24:31 | 29 November, 2017
Bluetooth is important for us - we use bt headphones.

We both hate using those fiddly eye-squinting smartphone things.  So Spotify Connect is great from a PC browser

However, you can use Echo bluetooth to the GHome, so if you have Amazon Music then you can play it on the Google ...

And, using squeezebox, you can also turn the Google into a squeezebox player with full BBC iplayer Listen Again ...

20  usd ?  Not here in Europe !
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 03:51:58 | 29 November, 2017
Different strokes.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 07:31:57 | 29 November, 2017
Of the two, I think Amazon has the edge over Google over device & customer support.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 08:03:43 | 29 November, 2017
Of the two, I think Amazon has the edge over Google over device & customer support.

You're probably correct re customer support, but Forbes picked the Google for being the best informed:  https://www.forbes.com/sites/jaymcgregor/2017/11/28/google-home-mini-vs-amazons-echo-dot-45-complex-questions-1-clear-winner/#50f07c171910
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 08:43:37 | 29 November, 2017
It took Google about 6 months to enable BT in the GH. I think the BT standard is worldwide (just a guess), and all the Google Homes are the same too (another guess). My deduction is due to government regulation as BT is a radio, they have not been approved in your country. I'm sure that once the blessing is given, GH will have BT too, and it won't require a new purchase.

BTW, as disclosure, I own two Echo's and one Dot. When the price went down on them, I picked them up. As this is an internet radio forum, I would like to say how nice that volume ring is on top of the Echo. It allows for fine adjustment of the levels instead of the coarser level changes offered by voice. This makes it pleasant to have next to my bed and listen as I go to sleep. They were first with the sleep timer, but GH has it now here in the US.

The GH and Echo makes a very nice internet radio at an affordable price.

Dave
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 10:59:13 | 29 November, 2017
Bluetooth regulation required ?  That's a new excuse I've never heard before!

The fact is they are basically run on what seems to be alpha level firmware - god knows what a pile of rubbish they are collecting with the stupid voice feedback, which sends after about 10 secs without any warning.  Utter rubbish.

They look good, nice sound but otherwise they are badly thought-out - try picking the Mini up by one hand to move it.  You naturally grasp it by its sides and the volume level goes crazy!  That cloth cover is going to look pretty grubby in a few months if it's in reach of jam (jello) covered little fingers.

I hope the google-powered driverless cars are better thought-out than the GHomes!
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: ShortWave Dave on 13:34:00 | 29 November, 2017
Hi Solo2
I'm happy to report that my new sound bar with built in Chromecast arrived today (instead of Dec 4). I hooked it up. Had to use my Android phone on wifi to get it going. Once I named the sound bar, I went to the Home app and told my GH in the living room to send media to the  sound bar. Works like a charmed. I'm really chuffed.

Dave
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 14:41:55 | 29 November, 2017
Hi Solo2
I'm happy to report that my new sound bar with built in Chromecast arrived today (instead of Dec 4). I hooked it up. Had to use my Android phone on wifi to get it going. Once I named the sound bar, I went to the Home app and told my GH in the living room to send media to the  sound bar. Works like a charmed. I'm really chuffed.

Dave

I'm glad to learn that it worked for you.  We also now know to scratch the Google Home Mini off of castalla's Christmas list.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 15:46:29 | 29 November, 2017
Hi Solo2
I'm happy to report that my new sound bar with built in Chromecast arrived today (instead of Dec 4). I hooked it up. Had to use my Android phone on wifi to get it going. Once I named the sound bar, I went to the Home app and told my GH in the living room to send media to the  sound bar. Works like a charmed. I'm really chuffed.

Dave

I'm glad to learn that it worked for you.  We also now know to scratch the Google Home Mini off of castalla's Christmas list.

True 'cos I've got 2 of the blighters!

Can you test: set a reminder, and confirm you get a notification on your Home ?
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 17:13:38 | 29 November, 2017
I got it to save a reminder for a certain time, but when that time came and went, nothing in particular happened.  So I got on the chat with Google support and spent about a 1/2 hour with the plug-and-unplug lady.  She couldn't get it to do anything, either, and said she would escalate the report and they'll be in touch. We'll see.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 17:28:19 | 29 November, 2017
I fiddled around with it on my own.  Apparently it will set a reminder if you say a date, e.g. November 29th, along with a time, but if you just say "today" or "tomorrow" it won't work.  But by saying a complete date and time, I did have success getting it to remind me to do something.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 02:09:10 | 30 November, 2017
Strange ... allows me to set the reminder BUT still no announcement on the Mini at the set time.   Quite a lot of reports of this not working on the help forum, but no coherent explanation from Google ...
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 04:08:20 | 30 November, 2017
Strange ... allows me to set the reminder BUT still no announcement on the Mini at the set time.   Quite a lot of reports of this not working on the help forum, but no coherent explanation from Google ...

Although I got it to work, sort of, I wouldn't want to rely on it for anything important.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 05:44:03 | 30 November, 2017
Not Google but Alexa ....

Quote
Zipp/Zipp Mini - Amazon Alexa
Your wish is ZIPP's command!

We're happy to announce we’re joining the smart home revolution by adding Amazon Alexa skill and voice integration to our ZIPP and ZIPP MINI speakers.

We believe in setting sound free, and the Amazon Alexa makes it even easier to operate the range of features and functions of the Libratone ZIPP.

Amazon Alexa voice command control and integration will be available to all existing ZIPP and ZIPP MINI customers totally free of charge.

The roll-out will follow a 2 step model.

Beginning December Libratone will release speaker firmware allowing ZIPP and ZIPP MINI to act on received commands (start, stop, skip, back, change volume) from Amazon Echo and Echo Dot.

Later - in Q1 2018 - the next speaker firmware will follow. This time Libratone will implement full near field voice integration to the ZIPP and ZIPP MINI speaker. Tap your ZIPP or ZIPP MINI speaker and ask Alexa to play music, make calls, send and receive messages, provide information etc.

Cool, right!

Existing users will automatically be notified about both updates on the Libratone App.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: Solo2 on 07:57:39 | 30 November, 2017
Looks good, but 10 times the price I paid for the Google Home Mini.
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 08:57:01 | 30 November, 2017
Looks good, but 10 times the price I paid for the Google Home Mini.

It's a very nice speaker - wifi, airplay, bluetooth - 8 hr battery.  Got mine a year ago at a substantially reduced price.  Currently used with LMS Airplaybridge - cool.

You can also use your Mini as an LMS player via the chromecastbridge - also cool
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 16:13:24 | 30 November, 2017
Anybody with an Echo Dot and disappointed by the sound ... get a VAUX speaker!  Much improved sound and a portable battery.   
Title: Re: Google Home devices
Post by: castalla on 16:15:25 | 30 November, 2017
How about changing the thread title to Voice Assisted Devices ?