Friday, 19 January 2018 09:00

Google Home ogles a tripling of Aussie users over the holidays


Google's Home invasion into the domestic smart speaker market boomed over the holidays, with over a million "Actions" your Google Assistant can now help you with.

Amazon's Alexa home speaker may well be arriving in Australia from early February, as reported in iTWire, but Google has written an official blog post to remind us all that Google Home is ruling the electronic roost in homes across Australia.

The blog post is written by Julia Donnan, head of Hardware Marketing, Australia & New Zealand, and she starts by telling us that "the number of Aussies using Google Home almost tripled over the festive season".

Donnan then explains that "Google Home had a huge holiday season in 2017. Whether you were cooking, casting or carolling, it gave you a helping hand, turning on the Christmas tree lights – and filling many, many stockings".

"In fact, the number of Aussies regularly using Google Home and Google Home Mini nearly tripled in the month of December.

"And around the world," continues Donnan, "we sold more than one Google Home device per second since Google Home Mini started shipping in October."

Of course, nothing at Google ever seems to stand still, nor does much in today's modern world, so it should come as no surprise to hear Donnan proudly exclaim that "since we first introduced you to the Google Assistant on Google Home in 2017, we’ve added loads of features and apps".

So, what are some of these features, you ask?

Well, one of the most popular features Donnan delves into is broadcast; "where it hopefully helped you gather the family for holiday fun. If you haven’t used it yet, it’s simple to use. Just say 'Ok Google, broadcast sausage sangas are served!' to round up the family for a BBQ".

"Another popular one is step-by-step recipes, which give you voice-activated cooking instructions so you can free up your hands, lessen the mess and stay focused on making that perfect pavlova."

Naturally, Donnan says that "everyone was excited about the first ever true blue Aussie smart speaker, and we’ve kept that spirit alive with Google Assistant features across a range of local brands and services across news, entertainment, banking, retail, transportation and more".

"You can catch the latest headlines with leading Aussie news publications, follow the footy with AFL (by Telstra), play Triple J via TuneIn, binge watch Aussie shows on Stan, plan a night out with Concrete Playground and more."

"All in all," continues Donnan, "today there are more than a million Actions that your Assistant can help you do. Actions including everything from first party features to third party features — all the ways your Assistant can help.

"Plus, the Assistant can also help you control more than 1500 compatible smart home devices from over 225 brands. With these integrations, millions of new smart home devices are being connected to the Assistant every month, so you can stay in control, whether you want to cool down the house or make sure you locked the back door."

To conclude, Donnan states: "We’ve sold tens of millions of all our Google devices for the home over the last year around the world, and look forward to bringing hands-free help to even more Aussie households in 2018. Whether you are planning your commute, kneading dough or chilling out after a long day, Google Home is here to help you make the most of the new year."

So, there you go. If a Google Home device with Google Assistant isn't already in your present, and perhaps received as a Christmas or New Year present, then it may well be in your future – if Amazon Alexa or Apple's Siri haven't already spoken for you, as such.

Either way, the rise of the robots needs as smart an electronic brain as possible, and with today's crop of digital assistants, that's exactly what's being built - the smarts that will one day be in physical and even autonomous home helpers, rather than just today's smart speakers.

That said, your smart speaker certainly has a lot to say, and can help you manage your home in ways simply not possible with such ease, elegance and voice control, so there's no need to wait for actual and useful home robots due sometime in the next decade or two when your disembodied home assistant is already ready and willing to help you!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

Alex Zaharov-Reutt is iTWire's Technology Editor is one of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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