Author Topic: Google Home devices  (Read 5442 times)

bob12564

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Google Home devices
« 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.

dog-man

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #1 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.

Solo2

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #2 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.
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ShortWave Dave

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #3 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.
« Last Edit: 09:58:15 | 28 November, 2017 by ShortWave Dave »
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Natural Sound

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #4 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.
« Last Edit: 11:00:43 | 28 November, 2017 by Natural Sound »

ShortWave Dave

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #5 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
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Solo2

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #6 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.
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ShortWave Dave

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #7 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



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castalla

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #8 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.
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Solo2

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #9 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).
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Solo2

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #10 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.
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ShortWave Dave

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #11 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
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ShortWave Dave

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #12 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
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castalla

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #13 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 !
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Solo2

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Re: Google Home devices
« Reply #14 on: 03:51:58 | 29 November, 2017 »
Different strokes.
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