Google Home has been available to American consumers since November of 2016 and just recently the UK. The virtual assistant at that time had a few drawbacks like not being able to set reminders or having limitations connecting to other smart home products and partner companies. However, in the last six or so months Google Home has now started to pull ahead of the competition such as Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, Samsung’s Bixby, and Microsoft’s Cortana. This breakaway came from releasing an update that allows it to recognize the voice of different people and cater a response unique to the person asking the question. For example, I could say “Ok Google, what’s my day look like?” and I would get a response with my schedule from Google Calendar whereas if someone else in the house asked the same question, they would get their schedule.
This feature allows for up to six users on the device which should be more than enough for a typical household. Below in the image, you can see that setup is quite simple and easy to train your voice. The only requirement is to make sure you are running the latest version of the Google Home app.
Disclaimers are stating that someone with a similar voice could potentially access your information but, let’s be honest this is more of an edge case and if you are genuinely concerned with someone hearing your schedule you can be a little more cautious with what you put on your calendar. On the flip side, it would be inconvenient to have a reminder to pick up flowers or a present and having it broadcasted during breakfast where that person might be sitting with you. Either way, I think with more and more of this type of integration becoming commonplace we will have to be more conscious of how we use it.
I am hoping that this feature will also allow each user the ability to sign into their personal Spotify account so that you could say “Ok Google, play my discover weekly playlist on Spotify.” and the result would be your playlist and not that of the one person who initially linked their account. One of the big pains of Alexa is that you can only assign one Spotify account. Not only does this limit the other people from accessing their music it also limits when and where you can listen to Spotify as you can only listen on one device at a time with a premium subscription. For example, if you decide to go for a walk and are listening to Spotify on your iPhone and someone at home would like to enjoy some music on your Amazon Echo you will find that the music will seemingly at random stop playing on the iPhone. This situation was a cause of frustration, and allowing all users access to their Spotify accounts would be a welcomed solution.
There are probably many who have already purchased an Amazon Echo or Dot and are wondering if they have made the right choice. Having already invested in an Amazon Echo and additionally two more Echo Dots I am experiencing a slight amount of buyers remorse as well. Alexa at this time does not support recognizing multiple users by their voice. But at this stage in the game, we are all “early adopters, ” and each company will always be trying to bring the next big feature. What we can take from Google bringing this feature to the table is it will most certainly push the other companies to follow suit, so I would give Amazon some time before I go and switch out for the Google Home.