It’s taken a shocking amount of time, but Google has finally launched their smart assistant range in Ireland. Earlier this year, Amazon began officially supporting their range of Echo smart assistants too. With Google’s announcement today that the Google Home and Home Mini are now on sale in Ireland, the stage is set for Google and Amazon to go toe to toe.
What do you need to know about the Google Home? How much is it? Which one should you buy and is it worth your money? I’m going to go through all of this and maybe more.
When is Google Home Coming to Ireland?
I’m delighted to say, you can now buy the Google home in Ireland from a load of places. After years and years of using services like Parcel Motel to route package through a virtual UK address, you can now buy a Google Assistant-powered device without that feeling that you’re smuggling something.
Where to Buy a Google Home in Ireland?
First up, you can buy Google Assistant powered devices straight from Google’s Irish online store. The Google Store is really improving their offering in Ireland and now officially offer Google WiFi and Chromecast in Ireland too. Will we see the Google Pixel 3 this year too? Unlikely, but lets basque in what that store offers for now regardless.
Beyond the Google Store, you can also pick up a smart speaker in electronics stores around the country. Here are some of the confirmed spots you can grab yourself a smart assistant now:
- DID Electrical
- Harvey Norman
- Power City
- PC World
How Much Does a Google Home Cost?
Ok, so there are a few different options when it comes to getting yourself a Google Assistant-powered smart speaker. Here’s the range of official speakers from Google:
- Google Home
- Google Home Mini
- Google Home Max
Two are now available for sale in Ireland; the original Google Home and the Google Home Mini. To be completely honest, the Google Home Max isn’t a massive loss. Right now, the Irish market is slowing adopting the idea of smart assistants and remain unwilling to invest a huge sum of money into getting their first device and the Max costs quite a bit. A lower price is the secret behind Amazon Echo Dot being so popular to date. Here’s how much the Google Home and Home Mini will cost:
- Google Home – €149
- Google Home Mini – €59
Google Home Mini vs Google Home
Right, this is the big one. Should you go for the €149 Google Home or the €59 Google Home Mini. There’s a significant price difference between the two, but do you lose out going cheap or will you be disappointed overspending?
Why You Should Buy the Google Home
The Google Home has a great speaker built in. Considering you can link your Google Home to music streaming services like Spotify, it’s a great speaker to have in the corner of the living room. Just holler “Hey Google, play some dinner music”, and you’ll immediately set the atmosphere up for dining.
If you’re looking for a speaker that is powerful enough to fill the room with tunes but also have Google Assistant-powered control over what’s playing, then the Google Home is worth the outlay. To be honest, a minority of people will feel compelling to spend the extra money on the bigger speaker.
Why You Should Buy the Google Home Mini
I imagine the vast majority of people will feel the Google Home Mini is more than enough to meet their needs. The Mini can do absolutely everything its bigger brother can do at a fraction of a cost. The tradeoff you make is the speaker being smaller. This is the same set up as Amazon of course with the Echo and Echo Dot. However, The Echo Dot can easily be connected to a large speaker through the AUX cable – not an option on the Home Mini. To do that, you’ll need a Chromecast Audio – smart Google, going for the upsell.
Honestly though, it’s not like the Home Mini speaker is bad. It’ll be more than enough for most people and give you a great insight into just how cool having a smart speaker is. But just what can you do with one of these speakers?
4 Things You Can Do With Google Home and Google Home Mini
The list of things your Google Home and Google Home Mini can do is pretty incredible. I’ve been playing with one for a while now and here are my five favourite things.
1. Stream to Chromecast
If you have a Chromecast and a Google Home or Home Mini, this is one of the coolest things in the world. You can holler, “Hey Google, stream Unbox Therapy to my TV” and just sit back to enjoy watching Lewis. This also works for Netflix, but you’ll need to know what you want to watch. By that I mean you can’t browse through Netflix, you have to be more decisive. For example, if you want to watch Super Hans, just ask your assistant, “Ok Google, stream Peep Show on Netflix to my TV”.
If you have opted for the Google Home Mini, this will also work for Spotify, turning your TV into a giant speaker!
Now, my eco-system at home is very Amazon led. I’ve got the Echo Dot and the Echo Spot. I also have a Chromecast and I can now introduce you to the benefits, or maybe problems, of having an eco-system. Amazon devices can’t speak to Google devices. I can ask Alexa to stream to Chromecast and she’ll have none of it.
This makes me think that Google is the much more user-friendly model versus the Echo range for the Irish market.
2. Set Timers
This is not Google-exclusive but it’s probably the voice-controlled feature that I use most regularly. If you’re cooking or doing a facemask (obviously not me that one) you just should “Hey Google, start a timer for 15 minutes” and hey presto. You’ll get a notification when it’s time to whip the food out of the oven, or take off that face mask.
There’s actually a concept which developers pay attention to when creating voice assistants. They are always looking for their ‘raw chicken moment’. Imagine you’re cutting raw chicken in the kitchen and now you need to set a timer; you can’t touch anything. It’s literally now easier to ask for a timer to be started. This is the moment every voice controlled app is now looking for.
3. Update and Check Your Calendar
I’ve had a Google Calendar for years. I have not idea why I didn’t use it and maybe it’s a coming of age thing, but I find keeping my calendar up to date very relaxing. Whether it’s a concert, a trip or a dentist appointment, having a central calendar is great. Sometimes I’ll add from my phone or my laptop and then other times I’ll use the Google Assistant.
It’s pretty user-friendly too. Just chat with Google and say “Hey Google, add a dentist appointment to my calendar for 23rd of August” and it’ll be added to your calendar. You can also ask “Ok Google, how is my diary looking for the next week” and she’ll run through your schedule. Seriously, it’s good to be organised.
4. Irish Launch Easter Eggs
To celebrate Google launching their smart speakers in Ireland, they’ve put together some Irish Easter Eggs. I love Easter Eggs and no, it’s nothing to do with chocolate. Here are some of the best ones you can try, right now in Ireland:
Hey Google, Mayo for Sam
Hey Google, what’s the craic?
Hey Google, isn’t there a grand stretch in the evening?