Searching, streaming, shopping: Google’s got a lot of data on all of us. And that gives big G the upper hand when it comes to artificial intelligence.
Google Assistant gets cleverer by the day – and it’s all because the virtual helper can draw upon the search giant’s massive pool of user behaviour information. That’s right: every time you look for a cat video, you’re helping Google get better.
What better way to reward your own research efforts than with some of the best Google Home compatible kit? From listening speakers to smart lights to connected cameras that cleverly capture action, Google Assistant now inhabits a whole range of excellent smart home tech – and we’ve rounded up our favourites below. OK Google, show us the list.
The best Google Assistant smart speakers
Google Nest Mini (2nd Gen) (£29)
Want all the skills of Google Assistant in a small fabric blob? Mount a Nest Mini on your wall and you’re away. With a textured cover that’s crafted from recycled plastic bottles, the smallest Nest speaker is an understated way to add intelligence to your den.
Sure, it doesn’t pack the sonic punch of its bigger siblings (see below), but the audio is perfect for podcasts, recipe instructions or weather updates. Far-field voice recognition means you shouldn’t have to shout to get Google to do your bidding, while Voice Match smarts ensure you receive results relevant to you.
Hook up your accounts via the Google Home app for Spotify streaming and Netflix TV control (if you’ve got a Chromecast in the back of your box), plus smart home integration is super straightforward. At this price, the Nest Mini makes it affordable to fork out for a houseful of smart speakers.
The best Google Assistant tech for your TV
Harman Kardon Multibeam 700 (£450)
Smart speakers might be fine for kitchen tunes, but it takes something bigger to deliver cinematic audio. Enter Harman Kardon’s connected soundbar: wrapped in Kvadrat wool, the sophisticated and surprisingly compact MultiBeam 700 is designed to transform your TV room’s acoustics.
Each end of the slab harbours a 25mm horn-loaded tweeter. These work together with five 50mm front-facing woofers to fire out audio at different angles. The idea is to bounce waves off your walls to mimic a true surround sound setup. And it works: the MultiBeam wields enough power to fill all but the most cavernous living rooms, with plenty of dynamism, good separation and bass that’s well controlled (if a little beefy).
Hook the Harman Kardon up to your Google Home setup via Wi-Fi, before asking the integrated Google Assistant for movie recommendations. Built-in Chromecast means you can stream songs straight from more than 300 services, too. Hey Google, play Guardians of the Galaxy: Awesome Mix Vol. 1.
The best indoor Google Assistant gadgets
The best Google Assistant security gadgets
Nest Doorbell (from £180)
As Douglas Reynholm once opined, “there’s somebody at the door.” And with the latest Nest Doorbell, you’ll be able to see who it is without leaving the sofa.
More than just a Wi-Fi lens, Google’s digital bouncer knows neighbours from ne’er-do-wells. Set to detect motion 24/7, it can tell the difference between people, pets and passing cars – and send the appropriate alert to your phone. A vertical field of view means it can pick up packages on the porch, too.
Check in live via the app or stump up for a Nest Aware subscription (from £5 per month) to review event-based footage for up to 60 days after the fact. And because it’s battery powered, you can mount it next to almost any portal. Pair the Doorbell with a Nest Mini for wireless chimes, with seasonal options to make your ding dong merrily on high.
Nest Cam (from £180)
From misbehaving hounds to unexpected callers, there are many reasons why you might want to keep an eye on your abode. Google’s battery-powered Nest Cam makes it easy to check in any time, anywhere.
Fit for inside and out, attach the weatherproof Wi-Fi Cam to its magnetic base for smart surveillance wherever you need it. Check in when you like via the app or a Nest Hub Max, or configure intelligent alerts for instant updates. Besides clever recognition of humans, animals and vehicles, you can also highlight specific areas for the Cam to focus on.
Night vision means you’ll always know what’s what, while two-way talk lets you tell visiting couriers to drop your boxes behind the bird bath. Pony up for Nest Aware (from £5 a month) and you can review up to 10 days of 24/7 footage – and a further 50 of event-based recordings. So you’ll finally know if it’s Fido who’s feasting on your freshly baked snacks.
Nest Protect (from £109)
Some people are worried about Google watching them at home. Which is fair enough. But if there’s one scenario where you’ll be grateful for Google’s domestic oversight, it’s a house fire.
A smarter smoke alarm, the second-gen Nest Protect knows when to panic – and when it’s just burnt breakfast. A Split-Spectrum Sensor uses two wavelengths of light to detect particles from different kinds of fire, while a humidity sensor (together with clever algorithms) can tell your rooibos infusion from a raging inferno. If it does detect something worrying, the Nest Protect will announce its concerns out loud and send an alert to your smartphone.
Bored of flat-battery beeps disturbing your sleep? Nest Protect tests itself regularly, giving you advanced notice if it's running low. And if you do happen to wake in the night, it’ll detect your motion and illuminate your way to the fridge using its brighter light ring.